What does melatonin do? Benefits and deficiency of sleep hormone

Melatonin is one of the main hormones that control body functions; Also known as the sleep hormone. Its release increases in the dark and allows you to fall asleep. When secreted less insomnia can lead to problems such as insomnia. Melatonin supplements are used to solve problems such as excessive insomnia, tinnitus, and Alzheimer’s. These supplements sold in pill form have no known side effects. It is also used as a supplement against aging because it has antioxidant properties.

What is Melatonin?

Melatonin is secreted by the brain and controls the body’s daily rhythm. It is also known as the sleep hormone. The production of melatonin secreted by the pineal gland in the brain increases in the dark and decreases in the light. In addition, pills that can be taken as supplements are used in Alzheimer’s disease, exposure to radiation, and medical conditions such as tinnitus. ( 1 )

What does melatonin do?

This hormone is like the body’s clock, the hormone that tells the body when to fall asleep when to wake up or eat. It also helps regulate body temperature, hormone levels, and blood pressure.

People who have insomnia ( insomnia ) or sleep imbalance due to jetlag take supplements to increase their hormone levels. These pills, which are mostly produced from the cow pineal gland, have few side effects and many benefits. It is used as an antioxidant, has anti-aging properties, helps to establish the day and night cycles of blind people. ( 2 )

Is taking melatonin good for insomnia?

Low secretion of this hormone, which regulates the body’s sleep cycle, causes sleep disorders. Studies have shown that taking melatonin supplements is beneficial for sleep disorders when the person’s sleep-wake timing cycle is delayed for 3-6 hours and the biological clock of the body is disrupted. ( 3 )

How is melatonin secreted?

Melatonin, secreted by the pineal gland, works in conjunction with the light perception of the retinal layer in the eye. The cells that perceive the light in the eye send signals about the state of the light to the hypothalamus region in the brain. These signals are then sent to the pineal gland and the hormone is secreted. The secretion of this hormone increases in the dark, and at the same time, some changes that encourage sleep occur, such as a decrease in body temperature and a decrease in respiratory rate. Melatonin levels are low during the day. ( 4 )

What does melatonin do? Benefits and deficiency of sleep hormone

Benefits of melatonin

  • Apart from sleep disorders, melatonin is a supplement that is used in different areas.
  • It is used as an antioxidant.
  • Although it is known that it has an effect that strengthens the immune system and reduces inflammation, studies continue on how the process works.
  • It regulates fat cells.
  • It has a protective role in neurological degeneration disease and acute pancreatitis.
  • With its antioxidant properties, it prevents cells from being damaged and protects eye health.

What causes melatonin deficiency?

What kind of problems does it create?

Low secretion of the melatonin hormone leads to a deficiency. The diseases associated with this condition, which is known to affect many conditions ranging from sleep disorders to psychological disorders: ( 5 )

  • Insomnia: Insomnia
  • Jet lag: insomnia due to the time difference between flights between countries
  • Delayed sleep phase syndrome: The body’s daily cycle is longer than necessary
  • Sleep disturbances in people who work day and night shifts are conditions known to be caused by melatonin deficiency.
  • In addition, it has been observed that melatonin is lower than normal in children with autism.

Melatonin deficiency symptoms

  • Sleeping disorders
  • Being constantly depressed and feeling anxious
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Palpitations in the heart
  • Sexual anorexia or sexual dysfunctions
What does melatonin do? Benefits and deficiency of sleep hormone

Melatonin deficiency treatment

When melatonin is not secreted enough, sleep disorders occur. The solution is to take supplements. These supplements are effective in improving sleep rhythms and are used as preventive and supportive in other ailments. Melatonin pills are preferred more than sleeping pills because they have fewer side effects. Nevertheless, a doctor should be consulted before using it, and it should be investigated whether there is any other underlying cause of insomnia. ( 5 )

Melatonin hormone is mostly released between 23.00 and 5.00 at night and a dark environment is required for secretion. Going to bed too late and waking up late can also cause sleep disorders. For this reason, taking care to sleep especially during these hours, and not sleeping in a light environment can prevent melatonin deficiency. Care should be taken to create a sleep pattern in order to avoid this problem in children.

Melatonin and depression

Not being able to sleep enough and quality sleep can result in fatigue, weakness, and depression. Melatonin pills are used to regulate the daily rhythm of the body in people who experience these symptoms. However, some studies in recent years have raised the question of whether these pills cause depression. A study published in 2016 showed no serious adverse effects linked to melatonin use.

Melatonin medications

It is a dietary supplement used worldwide. Although it is used to regulate sleep disorders, it has a strong effect on different health problems. Although the drugs are safe for short-term use, there has not been sufficient evidence about their long-term use.

For what purposes are melatonin medications used?

In addition to relieving sleep disorders, medications play a role in immune system functions, regulating blood pressure, and managing the body’s cortisol level. It is used as a powerful antioxidant in the treatment of different diseases.

Studies show that melatonin is effective in improving eye health, reducing symptoms of seasonal depression, and relieving stomach problems such as reflux.

What is the melatonin pill, what is it used for?

The melatonin pill is the artificially produced form of melatonin found naturally in the body under laboratory conditions. It is used as a supportive treatment for many health problems.

  • Sleep problems
    Usually used to treat sleep-related problems, the melatonin pill helps people fall asleep faster and improve sleep quality. Studies have shown that melatonin reduces the time to fall asleep, increases total sleep time and sleep quality. In addition, it has fewer side effects than other sleep medications. ( 6 )
  • In the treatment of seasonal depression
    The mood disorder, known as seasonal depression or winter depression, usually occurs in late autumn and early winter and is known to affect 10% of the population worldwide. Some studies show that it is caused by seasonal light change, that the light change affects our circadian rhythm, and depression may be linked to this.

Since it is effective in regulating the circadian rhythm, it is used in low doses to reduce the symptoms of seasonal depression. However, it has been observed that it is not effective in reducing the symptoms of disorders such as bipolar disorder and depression. More research is needed on the subject.

What is the circadian rhythm?

Circadian rhythm is physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a daily cycle. It acts primarily by reacting to light and darkness. Sleeping at night and being awake during the day is an example of a light-dependent circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is found in most creatures, including animals, plants, and many small microbes. ( 7 )

  • In cancer treatment
    Melatonin can be used both in cancer prevention and as an adjunct therapy in cancer. Many studies have shown that melatonin inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells, cervical cancer cells, and ovarian cancer cells. ( 8 )
  • Strengthens immunity
    A number of experimental studies show that there is a close link between melatonin and the immune system, with melatonin having an immune-enhancing effect. Melatonin can be used to stimulate the immune response during viral and bacterial infections and strengthen the immune reaction.
  • Promotes growth and cellular regeneration
    Vital for growth and cellular regeneration, growth hormone is linked to an increase in muscle mass and strength. Some studies show that melatonin supplementation increases this hormone level in men, but more studies are needed to see how it affects hormone levels in both men and women.
  • In the treatment of eye diseases
    It is effective in keeping the eyes healthy with its anti-cell damage and antioxidants it contains. It has been shown to be effective in treating eye diseases such as glaucoma and age-related degeneration.
  • In stomach ailments
    Melatonin, which was observed to inhibit the secretion of stomach acids, was effective in relieving stomach discomfort when taken with other stomach medications.
  • Alzheimer’s treatment
    Several studies on Alzheimer’s and similar neurological disorders show that the cell damage preventive properties of melatonin may be effective in the treatment of these diseases.
  • In heart diseases
    There is evidence that supplements can be used as a preventive and supportive tool in heart disease.
  • In the treatment of tinnitus
    It has been observed that tinnitus decreases and sleep quality increases when regular supplements are used in people with tinnitus complaints.
  • In headache
    When used for headaches, positive results have been observed especially in regional headaches such as migraines.
What does melatonin do? Benefits and deficiency of sleep hormone

Side effects of the melatonin pill

Studies on the side effects of the pills did not reveal any serious side effects, and no signs of addiction or withdrawal were observed. Supplements are considered safe in the short term, even if taken in very high doses. More research is needed on its safety in the long term.

Common side effects noted:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness

Less common side effects:

  • Short term depression
  • Mild anxiety
  • Stomach cramps,
  • Mild tremors
  • Nervousness
  • Confusion and loss of orientation
  • It can be counted as low blood pressure.

Since it will cause sleep or drowsiness, the machine should not be used for 5 hours after the supplement is taken, even the supplements should be taken at an hour close to sleep time.

Who should not use melatonin pills?

  • Those with a disease affecting the immune system
  • Those who use blood thinners
  • Diabetes patients
  • Those at risk of stroke
  • Those with bleeding disorders such as hemophilia
  • Depression patients.

Drowsiness may increase when medications with side effects are taken together with melatonin.

What is the melatonin patch, what is it used for?

This tape, which is used for melatonin deficiency, is a product that is affixed on the skin to meet the daily needs of the person and is effective for 24 hours. It is used for the same purpose as the pill.

Is it safe to use melatonin medications?

Serious side effects have not been observed with supplements. Although its use in the short term appears safe in many ways, more research is needed for its use in the long term. For this reason, children are known as the risk group, pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult their doctor before using them. ( 9 )

What is the safe melatonin dosage?

The ideal dosage for melatonin varies from person to person. Various factors such as body weight, metabolism, and general health can also affect the way the body responds to melatonin. Recommended daily dose; It is between 0.2 mg and 5 mg for adults. It is recommended that this dose be taken 1 hour before going to bed.

First of all, it should be started with a low dose, if there is no side effect, the dose should be increased gradually. Unless a higher dose has been recommended by a doctor, you should not take more than 5 mg.

Antidepressants containing melatonin

  • Melatonin tablet
  • Valdoxan

Foods that increase the melatonin hormone

  • Cranberry, cherry, banana, blackberry, strawberry, apple, orange,
  • Fennel, chamomile, thistle, anise,
  • Walnut, hazelnut, peanut, chestnut, almond, sunflower, sesame, fenugreek, flaxseed
  • Oats,
  • Cucumber, zucchini, eggplant, tomato,
  • Onion, potato, spinach, peas,
  • Cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage,
  • Kidney beans, beans, chickpeas, mushrooms. ( 10 )

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  7. Ferracioli-Oda, E., et al. (2013). Meta-analysis: Melatonin for the treatment of primary sleep disorders.
  8. Gelfand, A. A., & Goadsby, P. J. (2016). The role of melatonin in the treatment of primary headache disorders.
  9. Kühlwein, E., et al. (2003). Abnormal nocturnal melatonin secretion and disordered sleep in abstinent alcoholics [Abstract].
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  11. Matheson, E., & Hainer, B. L. (2017). Insomnia: Pharmacologic therapy.
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  14. Melatonin preparations [Fact sheet]. (2019).
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  17. Merrick, L., et al. (2014). Does melatonin have therapeutic use in tinnitus?
  18. Najafi, M., et al. (2017). The melatonin immunomodulatory actions in radiotherapy.
  19. Opie, L. H., & Lecour, S. (2016). Melatonin has multiorgan effects.
  20. Pierce, M., et al. (2019). Optimal melatonin dose in older adults: A clinical review of the literature.

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