Melatonin is a natural hormone and powerful antioxidant, which provides many helpful benefits. Melatonin has been known to help support eye health, treat stomach ulcers and heartburn, ease tinnitus symptoms, and even raise growth hormone levels in men. We have put together a list of the top five natural health benefits of melatonin so that you can become more familiar with this natural sleep aid.
Melatonin is a hormone that is produced by the brain every night in response to diminishing light. It is responsible for regulating our circadian rhythm and telling our body clock it is time for bed. Aside from being a powerful antioxidant, many studies have shown that it is very effective in helping those with sleep disturbances to get to sleep quicker and stay asleep for longer (1). Sufficient sleep is essential for maintaining a strong immune system and allowing the body time to rest and heal. Melatonin is a great natural alternative to conventional sleeping pills because it doesn’t have addictive qualities and there are no known risks of withdrawal issues when a dose is missed or stopped.
Reduce your risk of diabetes & weight gain
The most common risk factors for type 2 diabetes are familiar to most of us, but did you know that low levels of melatonin have also been linked to type 2 diabetes (2)? A large-scale study showed that those participants with the lowest levels of melatonin had double the risk of developing diabetes when compared with those with the highest levels. Diabetes and obesity go hand in hand, and melatonin is helping on this front too. Researchers at the University of Granada have demonstrated that melatonin “helps in controlling weight gain, even without reducing the intake of food” (3).
Alleviate symptoms of the menopause
Menopausal symptoms often include sleep difficulties, and melatonin supplements can help address this issue alongside feelings of depression. In a study of peri-menopausal and menopausal ,women aged 42-62 taking a daily dose of melatonin, most of the women reported an overall improvement of mood and a noticeable decrease in depression within the space of six months. The result of the study also showed how melatonin supplementation among these women led to a rebalancing of the pituitary and thyroid functions(4).
Melatonin can provide a simple and effective treatment option for migraine sufferers. As with the link between diabetes and low levels of melatonin, patients suffering from migraines have also been found to have depleted nighttime levels of this hormone (5). Researchers have found that melatonin can assist in decreasing the pain associated with migraines. A clinical trial found that 3 mg of melatonin taken 30 minutes before bedtime helped to reduce the frequency, intensity, and duration of headaches for the subjects in the study. Out of 32 people, 25 noted a 50 percent decrease in headaches, and 8 participants experienced total cessation of headaches. (6)
Therapy for cancer
One of the most exciting developments involving melatonin is in its potential role in various cancer therapies. It has recently been shown that melatonin is beneficial in treating two particularly common types of cancer. A study in 2001 concluded that melatonin could significantly inhibit the growth and proliferation of prostate cancer cells, and a study in 2014 showed that it could also inhibit unwanted cell production and tumor growth in breast cancer (7, 8).