I have been getting a lot of questions about melatonin lately so I thought I would address it here. So what is melatonin anyways? Melatonin is a hormone produced by the brain, specifically the penial gland, which helps regulate sleep and wake cycles. Sounds important right?
Through the years, science has made it clear just how important sleep is to our mental and physical health, as well as our overall well-being. Between 50 to 70 million adults in the United States have problems with quality and/or quantity of sleep.
With sleep issues on the rise in both adults and children, many people are turning to melatonin supplements as way to help address those issues. Because melatonin is marketed and sold as a supplement there is a common misconception that it is natural, which is most times not true. Natural melatonin is derived from the pineal gland of a cow which can carry the risk of BSE, better known as Mad Cow Disease, and therefore is not recommended. While the synthetic form of melatonin does not carry the same risk of disease, it is still chemically derived and is in no way “natural”. It’s also important to reiterate that synthetic melatonin is a powerful hormone and should be used very cautiously if at all.
At any rate, we feel there are unresolved safety issues with melatonin supplements. Here is why, from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health:
• The long-term safety and effectiveness of melatonin supplements are unknown. Prolonged use, for instance, may undermine the body’s ability to produce the hormone naturally. Hormones are powerful substances that, even in small doses, can produce unexpected and unwanted results, as was seen with estrogen therapy. In most other countries, melatonin’s availability is restricted; at least one formulation has been approved for prescription use in Europe, Australia, and Israel for up to three months of use in people over 55.
• Various adverse effects from melatonin have been reported, including high blood sugar, breast swelling in men, decreased sperm count, gastrointestinal irritation, sleepwalking, and dizziness. Melatonin may interact with other hormones, so pregnant women, those trying to become pregnant, and children shouldn’t take it. If you have a chronic disease, such as diabetes, liver or kidney disease, clinical depression, or an immune disorder, consult your doctor before taking melatonin.
• For some people, melatonin helps them doze off faster but doesn’t help them stay asleep.
• Like other sleeping pills, melatonin can produce a “hangover effect” and drowsiness the next day. That’s risky if you are driving or operating machinery.
• There’s no consensus about which doses, schedule, or formulation of melatonin are best for various sleep disorders, according to a report in Sleep Medicine Reviews in 2009. It pointed out that some studies show that the effects of melatonin may not even be clearly related to dose. In any case, as with other dietary supplements, you can’t even be sure that the dose listed on the label is accurate.
• Though melatonin is found in some edible plants—including rice, bananas, cherries, and grapes—it’s unclear how much consuming these foods raises blood levels of melatonin. A small recent study in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that tart cherry juice, compared to a placebo drink, helped older people with insomnia sleep a little better. The subjects drank 16 ounces a day (the equivalent of 100 cherries), supplying about 250 calories. That’s a lot of juice and calories for a “modest” effect.
Regarding those with sleep issues, including in children, we feel a less aggressive and safer approach to melatonin is to use Amare’s Sleep+ product. Amare’s Sleep+ is a revolutionary new product that features a natural and unique patented ingredient derived from non-GMO corn that encourages your body’s own natural production of melatonin. This ingredient has been clinically shown to improve quality of
sleep by helping you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and spend more time in REM sleep (for brain rejuvenation) and deep sleep (for body rejuvenation). Sleep+ will leave you feeling more refreshed and revitalized, so you can go about your day happier and healthier.*
To learn more or to purchase Sleep+ click HERE.
Wishing you a restful nights sleep.
Other References: http://www.berkeleywellness.com/supplements/other-supplements/article/melatonin-beyond-jet-lag
Talbott and Talbott: Effect of Monocot Grass Extract (MGE) on mood state and sleep patterns in moderately stress subjects. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2013 10(Suppl 1):P26.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products and recommendations outlined in this program are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.