sleepwoman 265x165 Sleep Hormone Melatonin Linked to Weight Loss, Heart Disease PreventionAccording to a study conducted at the University of Granada, melatonin can be quite helpful in controlling weight and increasing “good” cholesterol while decreasing “bad” cholesterol.

Obese Rats and Melatonin

After analyzing the effects melatonin had on obese, diabetic rats, the researchers found that melatonin was able to help prevent “heart diseases associated to obesity and dyslipidemia”. Without a change in diet, rats who were given melatonin had a reduction in body weight, decreased blood pressure and an improved lipid profile.

With these findings, they are confident that melatonin may help control obesity and improve blood lipid rations in humans while reducing the overall risk of heart disease.

Melatonin Production

Produced in the pineal gland within the brain and responsible for the sleep and wake cycles in the body, melatonin is known as the sleep hormone. This hormone is necessary to promote deep sleep, which our body needs for repair and maintenance. The production of melatonin is controlled is controlled by our bodies, naturally rising in the  evening, remaining high most of the night, and then dropping by morning.

Many factors come into play for the rate and amount of melatonin production; the amount of light, age, and even seasons can make a difference in how much melatonin is produced. During winter, for example, your body may produce melatonin later or earlier during the day. In addition to the lack of vitamin D, this alteration in melatonin production is thought to bring about the “winter blues.” In addition, melatonin production decreases with age.

While the body produces melatonin on its own, there are a few foods that contain melatonin as well. Goji berries, almonds, sunflower seeds, cardamom, and cherries all contain some melatonin, while small amount can be found in grains, meats, fruit, and vegetables. The most reliable source of melatonin, however, is from a high-quality supplement. When taken 30 minutes before bedtime, melatonin can help promote deep sleep, and, according to the above research, help to prevent obesity and heart disease.

What Else Can Melatonin Do?

Melatonin has the ability to boost our immune system, thereby helping us fight off a number of diseases that could potentially wreak havoc on our bodies. Melatonin is also known to have anti-aging properties so we age at a slower rate. There is also a possibility that melatonin enhances the effects of drugs used to fight cancer. Patients who have trouble responding to cancer drugs have shown better progress when taking melatonin supplements.

Additional Sources:

MIT

Pubmed/8719600

WebMD