Health care professionals are always looking for ways to advise patients on how to cut their risk of developing chronic conditions. Emerging research into how melatonin fights obesity and diabetes demonstrates that regular consumption of melatonin supplements may reduce the threat of these common health conditions. Before you understand how melatonin can help you to live a longer and healthier life, you need to learn more about why this hormone is so important to the body.
What is Melatonin?
Produced by the body’s pineal gland, melatonin is a hormone that regulates the body’s sleep and wake cycles. In a properly functioning hormonal system, melatonin production ensues at night when the sun begins to set. The increase in melatonin levels sends the signal to the body that it is time to get sleepy and go to bed. Conversely, melatonin production goes down in the morning as the sun rises. This drop in melatonin helps to naturally wake you up.
Individuals with erratic melatonin production may experience inconsistent sleep patterns. This can lead to a number of health issues. Irregular melatonin levels are particularly common with shift workers who do not enjoy consistent sleep patterns. In addition, melatonin levels generally decrease with age, leading to the potential of sleep disorders in later life.
How Melatonin Fights Obesity and Diabetes
A study out of the University of Granada, partnering with La Paz University Hospital in Madrid and the University of Texas, San Antonio, demonstrates how regular consumption of melatonin can beat back obesity and diabetes mellitus type two in lab rats. Scientists are hopeful that this research may shed light on how taking a melatonin supplement may also help humans to reduce their risk of obesity and diabetes.
The researchers assert that the administration of melatonin in obese rats helped to improve mitochondrial dysfunction by boosting oxygen consumption. In turn, this helped to lower the levels of free radicals while simultaneously keeping the mitochondrial membrane intact.
Why These Findings Are So Important
Although most people use melatonin supplements as a means of supporting healthy sleep patterns, it is now becoming more clear that this hormone may also protect against chronic health conditions. These findings highlight how the use of supplements can deliver profound positive effects on your overall health and wellness.
Obesity and diabetes are two of the most common chronic health conditions in the world. Not only do they cause complications on their own, but together, both conditions can cause a host of related issues. For example, being obese also raises your risk of developing heart disease and cancer. Stopping these issues at their root can go a long way in improving your overall health outlook and longevity of life.
According to the scientists of the melatonin study, a significant increase in both obesity rates and the prevalence of type 2 diabetes has been observed in both developed and third-world countries. Health care professionals blame this increase on how the human genome has adapted to today’s modern society. These factors include sedentary lifestyles, an increase in high-calorie foods and too much exposure to artificial lighting. These lifestyle factors naturally reduce the internal production of melatonin in the body.
How to Boost Melatonin Levels
There are a number of ways that you can boost your melatonin levels. While the body naturally produces the hormone, there are also foods that contain this hormone. Because there has been no established recommended dietary allowance (RDA) amount for melatonin, it can be more difficult to discern what types of foods contain this hormone since it is not listed on the label. For reference, foods that are high in melatonin include eggs, milk, oily fish, pistachios, almonds, tart cherries and goji berries.
You can also boost your melatonin levels by being intentional about seeking out natural light during the early morning hours. Light is the primary cue for the body’s sleep and wake cycle. By heading outdoors within the first hour of waking up, you will enjoy the benefits of direct sunlight exposure. Keep in mind that sunlight filtered through a window or sunglasses may not have the same effect as the natural light in your eyes.
Many health-conscious individuals have turned to melatonin supplements as a way to regulate the production of this hormone and their sleep patterns in the process. The use of supplements is an easy and cost-effective way to ensure that your body has the melatonin that it needs to support consistent sleep patterns. And as the recent study suggests, as a bonus, it may also help to stave off the onset of obesity and diabetes. Choosing a high quality melatonin supplement with a pulsatile-release formula will ensure that you are getting melatonin in a pattern that mimics your body’s natural production of this important substance.
Because the use of melatonin supplements has not been demonstrated to lead to any negative side effects, in light of the recent research on how melatonin fights obesity and diabetes, it makes sense to consider this type of aid for your overall health and wellness needs.