We are used to hearing about melatonin as a valid supplement to improve the quality of sleep, reduce the time to fall asleep and reduce daytime fatigue. But melatonin also has another action, that is to help control body weight, cholesterol and triglycerides, even in the case of overweight and obesity. This emerges from a scientific research published in the Journal of Pineal Research thanks to the work of a group of Spanish scientists from the University of Granada (Agil et al, JPR, 2010).
Overweight and obesity, a health problem
Overweight and obesity are conditions to pay attention to and to combat, as over the years they can lead to hypertension and hypercholesterolemia, which in turn open the door to cardiovascular disease. Science is dedicating a lot of effort to try to understand if there are supplements or, even better, foods that, due to the substances they contain, can reduce the risk of overweight and related diseases. The research we are talking about today focused on the action of melatonin, a hormone naturally present in the body but also contained in some foods.
Melatonin counteracts obesity and associated risks, here is the research
The study took place in the laboratory on a population of mice, all young, obese and with insulin resistance. Some of the mice were given melatonin for a month and a half. After this time, what emerged is that melatonin was able to reduce weight gain, despite the fact that the diet followed by the mice was not changed. Not only that, melatonin has also been able to act on those conditions related to overweight and obesity, such as hypertension and hypercholesterolemia. In fact, the intake of melatonin has made it possible to reduce, albeit slightly, blood pressure, and to improve the lipid profile, this instead in a significant way, decreasing triglycerides and bad LDL cholesterol and at the same time increasing good HDL cholesterol.
The study must also confirm these results on humans, but, as indicated by the authors of the research themselves, it is plausible to believe that what has been observed is also applicable to people. This opens the door to important scenarios, where melatonin can reduce weight gain and the damage associated with it. Melatonin can be taken as a supplement, and in this case it is advisable to ask your doctor for advice before starting any treatment, or through the diet. Melatonin is in fact contained in some foods, such as mustard, almonds, sunflower seeds, cardamom, fennel, coriander, cherries and goji berries.