MEL abrogates hormonal, menopause-related neurovegetative disturbances and restores menstrual cyclicity and fertility in perimenopausal or menopausal women. At present we assert that the six-month treatment with MEL produced a remarkable and highly significant improvement of thyroid function, positive changes of gonadotropins towards more juvenile levels, and abrogation of menopause-related depression.
Effects of melatonin in perimenopausal and menopausal women: our personal experience.
Bellipanni G, DI Marzo F, Blasi F, Di Marzo A.
Melatonin and Menopause – Latest Research
A six-month study conducted by the Menopause Center at the Madonna Del Grazie Health Institute in Rome Italy, identified a clear relationship between nocturnal melatonin production, a hormone that makes us sleepy, and menopause.
Female subjects between the ages of 42 and 62 were given either a melatonin supplement or a placebo each night for six months. The subjects were either in the stages of perimenopause and experiencing missed menstrual cycles or post menopause and their menstrual cycles had ceased entirely.
Over the course of the six-month study an amazing thing occurred. The subjects who received the daily melatonin supplement resumed menstrual cyclicity. Yes, even the women who were post-menopausal, regained their menstrual cycles.
Symptoms typically associated with menopause such as depression, sleep disorders, hot flushes, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, appetite disorders and tremors related to anxiety and depression were remarkably reversed or significantly improved.
Natural hormone levels were restored to youthful levels and the women receiving the melatonin became fertile again.
These results are nothing short of remarkable. While this is just a single study and should be viewed with that in mind, the potential ramifications are profound. If in fact the chicken-and-egg relationship between the onset of menopause and melatonin are the opposite as previously thought - that it is the reduction in melatonin that heralds the onset of menopause and not the reverse - then by simply supplementing with melatonin may completely reverse menopause. At least that is what the results of this study are pointing to.
Remember, melatonin is an over-the-counter sleep aid and does not require a prescription. The pharmaceutical industry will not profit from this potentially wonderful discovery. That is unless they address it as they did the cholesterol-lowering effects of the common B vitamin - Niacin. They created an extended release version of an already perfect over-the-counter supplement called NiaSpan so that physicians would have something to prescribe. Most physicians are reluctant to recommend over-the-counter supplements citing purity is not guaranteed.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin (MEL) is a neurohormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain and it is well known for causing and regulating sleep. Light suppresses melatonin synthesis. The primary use of melatonin as a supplement is to normalize abnormal sleep patterns.
Your body produces melatonin, the sleep hormone, when your brain is stimulated by darkness. Melatonin is made in the following sequence:
* Tryptophan, an amino acid (one of the building blocks of protein-rich foods) undergoes a conversion to
* 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), which goes on to convert to
* Serotonin, and then into
You can see how any situation where your feel-good serotonin is low causes melatonin to be low as well. This may be one of the reasons, why some people who are depressed, sleep poorly, and why taking a natural or prescription antidepressant to raise serotonin often helps sleep problems.
However, serotonin is also linked closely to estrogen, so closely that in any situation in which your estrogen falls–such as during PMS days or perimenopause–your serotonin levels drop too. This can result in the irritability of PMS and the depression/anxiety that sometimes accompany perimenopause.
Getting back to the main problem, melatonin is treating, insomnia, irregular sleep patterns are associated with a wide variety of health problems and premature aging. Melatonin is the hormone used by your body to help you fall asleep, and thus supplementation is seen as a way to get regular sleep. This is particularly useful for people who engage in shift work or are jet lagged.
Other benefits of melatonin include general neuroprotective effects, as melatonin is a powerful antioxidant. Melatonin also has several anti-cancer properties, and is currently being investigated for its role in fighting breast cancer. It does not appear to have much of an effect on Lean Mass or body fat, but it potentially stops your body from gaining more fat. Melatonin supplementation also benefits eye health, possibly reduces tinnitus, and improve mood (by helping you get better sleep).
There are some demographics, which tend to have irregular melatonin production in their body. Smokers tend to be less responsive to supplementation, and older people tend to not produce as much during nighttime. Depression has also been associated with lower melatonin levels.
Taking melatonin is not associated with negative feedback (when taking supplementation causes your body to produce less of a hormone). It is also not addictive, and is not toxic.
More Melatonin Health Benefits
Relief to PMS
If your monthly PMS symptoms have you pulling out your hair (or send your partner running for the hills), you may want to look at your sleep habits. A new study by Douglas Mental Health University Institute researchers has shown that low melatonin levels play a role in premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), or good old-fashioned PMS. This does not, however, just affect one week in the month. Compared to their counterparts, PMDD sufferers had a further reduction in melatonin levels during their symptomatic luteal phase (the second half of their menstrual cycle when progesterone is at its highest). If this sounds familiar, try taking melatonin on days 12-28 of your cycle (with day one being the first day of bleeding) to see if takes the edge off your mood, and provides a restful slumber back into your nights.
If you did not worry about it in your first 30 years, you will in the next 30...aging. More specifically, how to look, feel and even live younger. The great news is melatonin has been shown to slow down the aging process. A research team in Paris found melatonin-based treatment can delay the first signs of aging in small mammals by at least three months (considering the animal lives just to 12 months, this is quite substantial!).
Diabetes Prevention and Weight Control
We all know that the morning after a poor night's sleep can leave you veering from your diet and craving high-sugar foods. Well, low melatonin levels are actually a risk factor for diabetes. Melatonin receptors have been found in many tissues of the body, including the pancreas, which produces insulin (the fat-storing hormone). According to the Nurses' Health Study, participants with the lowest melatonin levels faced two times the risk of developing diabetes, compared with those with the highest levels.
In a separate study, University of Granada researchers found that melatonin can even control weight gain without reducing food intake showing that sleep is indeed a required weight loss remedy.
Manage your Migraines
If you suffer from migraines, you surely would likely try anything to put an end to the discomfort and get a good night's sleep. Low levels of melatonin have been linked to a variety of headache types and have been shown to alleviate the pain. Results from one study, presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 65-th annual meeting showed that, "Three mg of melatonin was more effective than the placebo and had efficacy similar to that of 25 mg of amitriptyline, a common sleep aid and antidepressant. Furthermore, it was better tolerated than amitriptyline, with lower rates of daytime sleepiness and no weight gain."
Supporting research published in Neurology, found that two thirds of patients taking 3 mg of melatonin nightly experienced a 50 per cent reduction of headaches per month. Additionally, the intensity and duration of headaches decreased. Adding this to the arsenal of migraine prevention techniques such as magnesium supplementation or a gluten-free diet may be your ticket to living headache-free.
Is Melatonin Effective?
Based on the consumers’ reviews, 80% of all melatonin users like its sleep-promoting effects and would take it again if needed. About 10% did not feel a significant effect or felt it was too weak for them as a sleep aid, and the rest have not had a good experience with melatonin and did not wish to continue with it.
Is Melatonin Safe?
Since melatonin is produced naturally, the body has evolved mechanisms to remove excessive amounts. It is metabolized by the liver and, possibly, other organs. No reports of any serious side effects have yet been reported in the medical literature. Only rare individuals I have treated have reported any significant complaints. Almost all the side effects reported have been minor and have quickly disappeared upon discontinuation. However, melatonin is a relatively new product on the market. It will take many more years before we fully understand all potential positive and/or negative effects.
How to Take?
For regulating the sleep cycle, doses of melatonin between 500mcg (0.5mg) and 5mg seem to work. Start with 500mcg, and if it does not work, work up to 3-5mg. The benefits of melatonin are not dose-dependent - taking more will not help you fall asleep faster. To help with sleep, take roughly 30 minutes before going to bed.
The supplement may interfere with current medications, including drugs used in the treatment of high blood pressure, benzodiazepines, beta-blocker antidepressants and antipsychotics. It may also interact with steroids, blood-thinning drugs, some cancer medications and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
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