Melatonin – What Does It Do?
Melatonin – What Does It Do?
Happy New Year everyone, I hope 2014 has treated you well and that 2015 has greater things in store for you. Today, I will look at the hormone melatonin and the role and function it has in the body.
What Is It?
As mentioned above, melatonin is a hormone that is most known for its role in helping people sleep at night. The hormone is produced at night, with one of the keys being the lack of artificial lighting. This explains how healthy sleeping patterns help increase the level of melatonin which in turn helps you sleep better. However, it actually has several functions in the body and has been thought to offer protection against migraines, diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
|This hormone helps you sleep well in addition to a host of other benefits (pic from cenblog.org)
It is a very strong antioxidant which tackles the problem of free radicals in the body, helping to “cool down” inflammation. The presence of melatonin is so essential to the body and the immune system, and studies have indicated that a high level of the hormone can help to delay brain aging and thus reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
In addition, studies have also shown that an insufficient level of melatonin produced by the body may possibly lead to the following:
- Unstable blood pressure
- Lower levels of free radical elimination
- Higher risk of osteoporosis
- Increased spreading of cancer cells and tumour growths (including leukemia)
- Weaker immune system
- Higher number of brain plaques (similar to those with Alzheimer’s)
- Capillary damage as a result of diabetic microangiopathy
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or depression
The Role of Melatonin Against Cancer
All the cells in your body (including cancer cells) have melatonin receptors. As it makes its way around your body at night, this delays cell division. For example, if it were to latch onto a cancerous cell, it has been shown to reverse the tendency of cell growth induced by the hormone.
Melatonin appears to have a calming effect on various reproductive hormones; this may offer up a potential explanation as to why it offers protection against cancers instigated by sex hormones such as ovarian, prostate, testicular, breast and more.
|Melatonin supplements may help alleviate several health issues (pic from onlynaturalinc.com)
In addition, the anti-cancer properties extend further beyond simply causing cancer cells to stop growing. It also increases the body’s production of substances that boost the immune system – these substances help to target and attack mutating cells that may cause malignant cancers.
What Else Can It Do?
New studies have indicated a possible correlation to controlled weight gain if melatonin is consumed. This stimulates the production of beige fat – it is a type of fat that induces the burning of calories in your body rather than its storage. This may offer a solution to controlling the weight of your body, as well as additional benefits to your metabolism.
Some research has also offered insights into a possible link between melatonin and heart and bone health. It may reduce high blood pressure which will help to reduce the risk of heart failure as well as guarding against damage to the heart that are caused by drugs.
|Melatonin is thought to reduce the risk of heart disease (pic from askmen.com)
In my next post, I will outline several tips and ways in order to improve the level of melatonin production in your body. As an invaluable hormone, we should aim to cultivate its presence rather than hinder its growth through bad habits that are preventable or unnecessary.