And May Lower Cancer Risk Too!
While melatonin is most commonly supplemented as a sleep-aid for those with jet-lag, insomnia, trouble sleeping, or trouble staying asleep, this naturally occurring hormone when taken at the proper dose can, in fact, aid in fat loss, and maybe even lower cancer risk!
Sound to good to be true? Let’s look into the research.
To better understand this phenomena of how a common sleep-aid supplement can aid in weight loss, we need to first learn about the functional role it plays in the body.
What is Melatonin?
In short, melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that’s released at night by the pineal gland. As mentioned, melatonin has long been associated primarily with sleep, however, new research on this dietary supplement has come to show that it may even play a role in boosting metabolism, protecting muscle tissue, aiding in weight loss and fat loss, and even reducing the development of some cancers.
When melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland to the bran, it helps regulate what’s known as our circadian rhythm. Why is this important to note? If someone has imbalances in this hormone, sleep problems may arise. When sleep problems begin to arise, issues that begin to affect their health begin to occur.
A lack of quality, restful sleep when not addressed properly can have a major impact on ones ability or desire to find energy, exercise, and eat properly, among other factors. Coming full circle, this all plays a role in weight loss and fat loss for obvious reasons.
How Does Melatonin Aid in Fat Loss?
As mentioned above, melatonin has been shown to boost metabolism in those that consistently supplement with it. So, how is this related to improving ones weight loss journey? Time to dive into the research.
With all of this talk about melatonin and its benefits, researchers decided to test its validity. The most prominent study on this subject matter was a study examining the affects of melatonin on postmenopausal women.
Now, you may ask, why postmenopausal women? Why not just examine a randomized group?
To add to the validity of this study, researchers decided to study postmenopausal women because menopause happens to be one of the most difficult times in ones life to los body fat. If melatonin worked on these individuals, it was sure to work on everybody else!
The results? Not only did sleep improve drastically with small doses of 1-3mg of melatonin nightly, but body composition improved, fat mass decreased by an average of 7%, and lean muscle tissue increased by 2.9%.
Overall, this research found that melatonin has undeniable affects on body composition and fat burning.
Melatonin and Reduced Cancer Risk?!
While the verdict is yet to be conclusive on this matter, the research is promising to say the least. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), the efficacy and safety of melatonin supplementation for the prevention and treatment of cancers is impressive.
In clinical trials, for example, melatonin was shown to enhance the effects of anticancer drugs, improve patients’ sleep, and even improve their quality of life. In another study, melatonin was shown to reduce the side effects of therapies and treatments like chemotherapy and radiation. Lastly, melatonin has also been associated with playing a role in halting the spread of various cancers, from colorectal, oral, prostate, and even breast cancer, among others.
With all of this being said, many more studies on melatonin as an anticancer agent needs to be investigated. Nonetheless, the promise of this data is encouraging to say the least.
Is Melatonin Safe?
Melatonin is widely accepted as a generally safe supplement to intake for the short-term. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in the body and because of that, supplementing in small doses of 1-5g does not seem to pose any problems.
With that being said, there seems to be a lack of evidence to account for any potential long-term effects of supplementing with melatonin. Moreover, melatonin has been shown to elicit a drowsy effect upon waking for some individuals. In addition, melatonin has also been reported to result in mild headaches.
While research has shown to be fairly conclusive of the safety and validity of melatonin, more research certainly needs to be done. Always talk to your healthcare provider before ingesting anything, including melatonin.
Nonetheless, as a general recommendation, melatonin is safe for the majority of individuals who ingest it, and taking 3-5 mg prior to bed seems to be the most effective, optimal dosage.
A Final Word
While melatonin can provide incredible benefits for some individuals, from improved sleep, muscle gain, and fat loss, the claims that have been made in this article need to be studied and researched further in order to determine its true validity.
Nonetheless, the evidence that has been released on melatonin thus far appears to show general safety for short-term use, with a lack of evidence showing any long-term benefits and safety protocols.
As a final disclaimer, always consult with a medical professional before supplementing with melatonin or any product for that matter. You shouldn’t take melatonin if pregnant or breastfeeding, are depressed, are on any other medications, or are concerned with the unknown.
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