In our hyperaware and uber-connected world, the thing that seems to be valued the most in business is speed. One of the consequences of this is that we get less sleep. Melatonin is the hormone secreted by both our pineal gland, as well as our gastrointestinal tract, and is largely responsible for the regulation of our day-night cycle, also known as the circadian rhythm.
However, that is not all it does. Melatonin is also a potent anti-oxidant and stimulates better immune system function, which accounts for its protective affect against many different cancers. Many migraine sufferers also find relief from headaches due to melatonin’s temperature lowering effect. It is also used in addictions treatment for insomnia related to benzodiazepine withdrawal. Sadly, there are a number of things that reduce our supply of this hormone. Medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen and beta blockers tend to suppress it’s secretion. Fluoride exposure causes calcification of the pineal gland, which eventually leads to less melatonin production. Finally, variations in light exposure due to electronics, international travel and shift work also take their toll as well, since melatonin production only occurs when it is dark.
That brings us to the interventions. For mild insomnia & jet-lag, 1-15mg taken in the evening works best. Start with the lowest dose in the beginning and work your way up until the effect is achieved. With physician assisted benzodiazepine withdrawal, 2mg of melatonin in the evening as drug dosages are gradually tapered over 6 weeks, is used. For some forms of cancer, 10-20mg every evening along with conventional therapies improves quality and length of life. In migraine sufferers, 3mg in the evening, for up to 3 months, has been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of headaches.
Join us next week when we’ll talk about the why choosing organic veggies is so important.
Be Well and Be Zen
R. Gaby., Melatonin., Nutritional Medicine (2011)., ps.225-6, 1224-25, 1258-59, 996., ISBN13: 978-0-9828850-0-0. Fritz Perlberg Publishing, Concord, NH.
P. Connett, J. Beck, H.S. Micklem., (2010)., ps.165-166., The Case Against Fluoride: How Hazardous Waste Ended Up in Our Drinking Water and the Bad Science and Powerful Politics That Keep it There., ISBN:9781603582872., Chelsea Green Publishing.