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Melatonin is Not Just For Sleep

During the past two years of figuring out best strategies to keep the immune system healthy we are rediscovering all of the benefits that melatonin has to offer us. Melatonin at the 3-5 mg dose just prior to bed offers many patients good relief with sleep-onset insomnia. As a reminder melatonin is secreted from our pineal gland in response to darkness to help us with the onset of sleep. It sometimes is called a "chrono-biotic" because of those effects. While it is enhancing or improving sleep patterns it also can improve those patients affected with seasonal affective disorder.

While large-scale studies would be ideal, we do have some budding smaller studies suggesting that melatonin can help the secretion of growth hormone (HGH). The bulk of growth hormone is secreted in a pulsatile fashion at night while we sleep. Growth hormone assists in the repairs of our cells at nighttime. Growth hormone can also aid in increasing bone strength and muscle mass.

As a compound that is high in antioxidants melatonin can prevent cell damage and one beneficiary of this antioxidant capability is the retina. Prevention of macular degeneration and glaucoma may occur with as little as 3 mg of melatonin. There has also been some treatment studies in human and animal studies for retinopathy.

For those patients who suffer from excessive acid production, GERD, melatonin may be just what is needed to cut it back the acid secretion!

The Cleveland Clinic gets credit again for its observations and study looking at melatonin aiding in prevention and treatment of COVID-19 because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. A highly academic study revealed that melatonin improves oxygenation, decreasing tissue injury and cutting down Il-10 in the severe complications with lung involvement. Higher doses of melatonin has also been proposed to be used when excessive secretions in the lungs (in phase three of COVID-19) is involved.

Let us not forget the anti-cancer prevention and treatment proposed for many cancer cell-lines. The proposed mechanisms of action vary from different tumor types, but melatonin is being studied for its antiproliferative, antioxidative, and immunostimulatory mechanisms. In many cases melatonin is proposed to inhibit migration of tumor cells (known as metastasis), especially so for lung cancers.

Talk to your integrative provider to see if melatonin should be added into your regimen.