As with the other hormones, melatonin levels will decrease with age. Melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland and affects circadian rhythms, sleep patterns and quality of sleep. The cells of the body rejuvenate and repair during the deeper stages of sleep by producing natural killer cells or CD4 cells. Melatonin increases the deep stage of sleep (stage 4), thereby enhancing immunity and subsequently producing anti-cancer effects. Increased energy may be felt due to improved sleep patterns and improved mood. Melatonin has powerful antioxidant effects accounting for disease prevention.
Benefits of Melatonin replacement
The proper dose of melatonin may help you STAY asleep, increase stage 4 (REM) sleep, feel more energized, enhance your mood, increase immune function, protect against cancer, decrease nocturia (urinating at night), lower night-time blood pressure and decrease migraine headaches (if you awake with headaches). Gray hair may resolve a bit.
Potential side effects of Melatonin
Increased dreams (which can be quite vivid and may be interpreted as good or bad), drowsiness upon waking (with too high of a dose), hair color change (the gray may resolve a bit), headache, nightmares (avoided by starting with a small dose and gradually increasing), stimulation in 1% and no effect in 10%.
Who should NOT use Melatonin?
Melatonin is not very effective for those habitually taking sleeping pills. These people will need to taper off the medication very slowly and then start a high dose of melatonin.
Who might consider Melatonin use?
Anyone who would like any of the benefits noted above. I like to add this to help the regenerative process. The most common mistakes people make when using melatonin is 1) taking a poor quality product, and 2) not taking a high enough dose.
How is Melatonin supplied?
Melatonin is available over-the-counter (OTC). Many of these preparations are from foreign countries and may contain contaminants. The pharmaceutical grade from a compounding pharmacy is 100% pure. Melatonin is a capsule taken orally. The typical dosage for women is 1-30 mg and for men is 9-30 mg. The most beneficial effects will be obtained from the highest dose that is tolerated without side effects.