We hear a lot about the importance of melatonin and of the intake of supplements based on melatonin to regulate the sleep-wake cycle. But is it really so? And what other benefits does melatonin have? In recent months, several scientific studies have been dedicated to the study of the health properties of melatonin showing its action also on blood sugar and the brain. But let's understand better.
Melatonin and sleep
Ensuring good restful sleep helps protect the heart, kidneys and brain and counteracts obesity, diabetes, depression and high blood pressure. This is why it is important to treat any sleep disturbances. It has been observed that taking melatonin supplements, already starting from 3 mg per day for ten days, significantly improved the quality of sleep and countered insomnia even in people subjected to great emotional stress such as people with a diagnosis of cancer (Jafari-Koulaee et al, Sleep Med, 2021). Not only that, melatonin has rebalanced the sleep-wake rhythm and guaranteed restful sleep even in the case of respiratory diseases, metabolic disorders and neurodegenerative diseases (Fatemeh et al, J Neurol, 2021).
Melatonin, insulin and triglycerides
Insulin resistance is a condition that often represents the antechamber of diabetes. Lifestyle and diet can help counteract this condition. From today, however, we also know that taking melatonin supplements helps improve insulin sensitivity and reduce insulin resistance (Li et al, Horm Metab Res, 2021). For example, jobs that require night shifts are associated with low melatonin values. Well, in these cases, taking melatonin supplements before the evening meal improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity and even reduced postprandial triglyceride values (Albreiki et al, J Pineal Res, 2021).
Melatonin and obesity
Leptin is a hormone used to regulate appetite. Excessive accumulation of fat stimulates excessive production of leptin. The problem is that too high values of leptin, in the long run, can cause resistance to leptin itself. As a result, appetite becomes excessive and no longer regulated, and the doors to overweight and obesity open up. Well, studies have shown that melatonin is also able to regulate the secretion of leptin, thus helping to keep obesity under control (Suriagandhi et al, Behav Brain Res, 2021).
Melatonin and neuroinflammation
Neuroinflammation seems to be, as evidenced by very recent scientific research, the fuse that causes Alzheimer's to explode. Well, there is evidence that the intake of melatonin is able to act by counteracting brain inflammation. The research is still in its early stages and has, so far, only been performed on animals, but it certainly proves very promising and noteworthy (Zhou et al, Mol Neurobiol, 2021).
Melatonin, how it is taken
You can resort to melatonin supplements, which can be purchased in pharmacies and herbalists. Not only that, some foods also contain melatonin. For example, cereals are interesting sources of melatonin, including rice, especially if in the dark variety, but also oats and barley, fruits, such as strawberries, grapes, especially in the peel, cherries and tart cherries, vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers, but also walnuts and pistachios (Meng et al, Nutrients, 2017).