Popularly known as the “sleep hormone” because of its ability to help you get a good night’s sleep, melatonin does so much more than regulate your body’s clock. The health benefits of the hormone are many, ranging from keeping your diabetes in check to maintaining good cardiovascular health. It even has anti-cancer and anti-aging properties. Furthermore, it aids an array of metabolic functions like strengthening your immune system and boosting your anti-inflammatory defenses.

The production of this hormone reduces as you age and this decline is directly related to the speeding up of the aging process and overall health deterioration. Let’s take a more detailed look at the many health benefits of melatonin:

Antioxidant Properties

Melatonin was discovered about 50 years ago and since then various studies have been conducted to determine its benefits for the human body. The antioxidant property of this molecule is one of its studied attributes. Research shows that it plays a significant role in strengthening the body’s ability to fight against free radicals that damage your cells. Research shows that melatonin is more effective in dealing with oxidative stress and damage than vitamins C or E. Diseases resulting from free radicals, like Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), and Sepsis have responded positively to enhanced levels of melatonin.

Anticarcinogenic Properties

Research shows that Melatonin is also anticarcinogenic, meaning that it aids in preventing cancer. It also helps stop the growth and multiplication of cancer cells, and aids is promoting the natural cell death of cancerous cells. The process is referred to as apoptosis. The anti-cancer properties of melatonin may be attributed to its antioxidant, hormone modulating, and anti-proliferative properties. It has been used as an adjuvant therapy among cancer patients and has shown positive results.

The anti-cancer properties of melatonin can also be related to its impact on the immune system. Studies have shown its ability to activate the T-helper cells which play a vital role in the functioning of our immune system. It also aids healthy communication between cells which enhances immunity and ensures we are better protected against pathogens.

Anti-aging Properties

Melatonin is an effective anti-aging agent. Improving your sleep pattern allows your skin to heal and repair. And, the strong antioxidant properties of melatonin provide protection from various aging factors. For example, it helps the cells fight solar UV radiation damage and repair mitochondrial damage.

Protects Against Cardiovascular Diseases

Cardiovascular disease is one of the major causes of death in U.S.A. The last decade saw various research studies investigating melatonin as an effective cardioprotective nutrient. Different studies conducted on animals have provided evidence to support melatonin’s ability to prevent heart muscle injury and minimize the damage done by a stroke. Studies also show its effectiveness in strengthening the pumping action of the heart after a heart attack. There is research supporting the fact that it enhances the level of HDL cholesterol while reducing LDL levels.

Controls Obesity

There is a connection between obesity and stress, which can induce sleep deprivation and unhealthy eating patterns. Those who are prone to “night eating syndrome” suffer from circadian melatonin rhythmic disturbances. It also helps reduce the levels of ghrelin (hunger stimulating hormone) and cortisol (stress hormone) in the body. Insufficient melatonin production is also linked with various physiological as well as behavioral issues associated with neuroendocrine and appetite regulation factors.

Final Words

Melatonin is known to be a proactive participant in significant life processes, and research has demonstrated its ability to prevent cancer and boost the immune system among other important benefits. With age, its secretion begins to reduce naturally in the body. Taking natural supplements with melatonin is recommended to make up for the reduced natural production and to allow for the benefits noted above.

References

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Esposito E, Cuzzocrea S. Anti-inflammatory activity of melatonin in central nervous system. CurrNeuropharmacol. 2010 Sep; 8(3): 228-42.

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