Melatonin: A Trusty Companion

One Week to Better Sleep Day 6: Potions and Plants
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Melatonin is probably the best known non prescription sleep ID. So remember the pineal gland as I talked about in the mechanisms of sleep. And so Melatonin is produced in the pineal gland. So it's made from tryptophan, which is amino acid. And so it's a it's a cascade of enzymes that do live. So you start at tryptophane, that's converted into serotonin, which is kind of the wakeful elevation of the mood type neurotransmitter and then that is converted into melatonin.

So it's a balance of those two that really affect the melatonin levels. key facts to know about Melatonin is that is produced in the dark and it's suppressed by light any light so for example, if you turn on the light in the middle of the night to get up and go to the bathroom, you shut off melatonin production for the rest of that night. So that's a key fact to know about, you know, light sources at night or light sources after falling asleep. Particularly if you go to bed early and your partner comes in turns on the lights. It's going to disrupt your melatonin put Which has the potential to impact your sleep, maybe cause some sleep awakening, and again shutting off the melatonin for the rest of the night. So think of it in this term in these terms that serotonin is really the the daytime hormone neurotransmitter.

And Melatonin is at night for sleep, and it declines with age. So older people produce less melatonin. And maybe part of the factor along with other medical issues, chronic pain and normal shifting of sleep dynamics as a person ages that all working together affect the quality of sleep. So what is melatonin and why should you care? Well, it boosts your immune system works as an antioxidant. And it decreases the stress hormone cortisol helps to improve mood and it's cardioprotective.

There's some studies are really fascinating studies on breast cancer trials in the UK and also melatonin use in cardiac patients that's really fascinating in terms of the positive results. It's enhanced his protein synthesis boost growth hormone reduction and also sex hormone production. So, growth hormone production ramps up when we sleep. Melatonin helps with that process. So the uses are fairly diffuse. People use it for sleep issues and jetlag.

There's interesting data on Alzheimer's helping with some of the cognitive decline that occurs with that. It's used to treat chronic fatigue, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, and it works as an anti inflammatory and peculiar side effect of of helping with nocturia. As you remember, during sleep, interplay between hormones really affects urine output and blood pressure. And so it has some use in people who have trouble with getting up and peeing at night. key thing to know is that less is more. I always recommend to my patients and coaching clients to start very small doses like half a milligram and can be increased I typically would would not tell the majority of my my clients to go above you know, three to four milligrams, but there is data out there about people who are taking large doses.

So like anything, there are some risks with that, but on the flip side, they're using huge doses and some breast cancer trials and really showing some positive effects. The nice thing is that withdrawal symptoms are unlikely some of the prescription sleep aids have a significant withdrawal problem with rebound insomnia. Melatonin, fortunately, does not have that property. I talked about the future in terms of cancer studies, a hopefully some of this data will allow use of melatonin in the US for breast cancer advanced cases of breast cancer. It's already being used successfully in the UK and Europe. But the FDA is a little bit slow in approving it in that regard.

It's well documented in the anti aging literature in terms of melatonin use as an anti aging wonder drug, if you will, and it can be measured. What I'm going to show you next few slides is just a melatonin graph. So who should avoid melatonin Pregnant nursing people, kids don't give don't give melatonin the kids those with autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis leukemia or lymphoma. The reason is that melatonin can really stimulate the immune system, the lymph system. So if you already have person already has a limp cancer, lymphatic cancer, like lymphoma, stimulating that system is just a bad idea intuitively. So here's an example.

This is a this is a graph from a patient of mine. And so you can see melatonin production sort of changes throughout different times of the day and night. You can see from this graph, that the production really should ramp up the you're looking at the the bluish green zone there should really ramp up starting around 5pm and, you know, continuing on into the very early morning hours of sleep. And so for this example, this this person was fairly low in terms of melatonin production in the afternoon, evening And sleep hours. So we supplemented them with melatonin and started at a half milligram jumped up to a milligram with some improvement noted not not perfect but improved, definitely added in some lemon balm. And the results were good not only from a subjective patient feeling better, but also it was documented with a sleep tracking application which I'll share with you in the potions and Products section of this course.

So that wraps up melatonin and let me know if you have any questions.

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