Melatonin Benefits

Melatonin is a hormone involved in the sleep cycle, and has several potential health uses. It's primary use as a supplement is to alleviate jet lag. There is evidence it is an effective cancer fighter. And it has unclear connections with immune system. It is also relatively safe, although long term effects are unclear. This article will examine each of these factors.

How is it made and what does it do?

The pineal gland produces serotonin during the day, or more accurately in high light levels. Serotonin is involved in mood, and is the chemical related to clinical depression. At night or in low light levels, the pineal gland switches to melatonin production. Melatonin regulates the sleep cycle, and is the chemical that makes you feel sleepy. The main advantage of taking it in supplement form is to correct your sleep cycle if it's out of whack.

There are many reasons it can get out of whack, but the most common reason is jet lag. After a long plane trip, you can take a melatonin supplement to help ease you back into a normal sleep pattern. Whether it can treat insomnia or not is less certain. What is certain is that it also acts as an effective cancer fighting hormone.

Cancer killer?

Several studies have shown that melatonin is an effective "cancer cell killer." It actually destroys cancer cells, especially in combination with the usual cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy. The exact mechanism by which it does this, however is unclear. It is also a powerful antixoidant, and even more more effective in that regard than regular antioxidants as it does not promote the production of free radicals.

Relation to the immune system

As if that were not enough, there is evidence that melatonin is connected to the immune system. While the exact effects on the immune system are unknown, the evidence is clear that there is a connection. However, we can't recommend supplementation for this purpose at this time.

Safety

Melatonin appears to be completely safe and lacking in short-term side effects. This is quite extraordinary for a supplement that has so many possible uses and is in fact a hormone. However, long term effects are not known and may not be known for some time. Other hormones such as estrogen have shown side effects only over the course of regular supplementation. We recommend caution if taking it for an extended period.

Dosage

There is not an exact recommended dosage. Some studies used .5 mg and some used 3 to 5 mgs. Effectiveness has been shown in all, and we recommend starting with a small dose and only working your way up if it is not effective. It may be that everyone is different.

You can get melatonin in either pill or liquid form; both are effective.