Not just great for sleep...
Melatonin is the naturally occurring hormone that is responsible for regulating our sleep patterns. It controls our sleeping and waking hours, regulating the circadian rhythm (our body’s clock). There are many reasons why someone might find themselves unable to sleep when they should, or having to sleep at an unusual time - such as jet lag, night shifts, pulling an all-nighter etc. Some people just naturally have lower levels of the hormone. When you’re finding your sleep schedule all out of sorts, or are struggling with insomnia from stress and anxiety, melatonin could be a huge help to get your body back on track.
Aside from the many positive effects of better sleep, most people don’t know that this bedtime supplement also plays an important role in other body functions. It has been used to boost the immune system, to treat inflammation, support the cardiovascular system, and more appealing benefits we will look at here to help you look and feel your best.
Metabolism and Weight Loss
Melatonin may increase our metabolism, thus improving our ability to lose weight. Research has shown how melatonin has a beneficial effect on body composition and fat burning by supplementing melatonin for a year resulting in reduced body fat, increased lean mass, and increased levels of a protein hormone that improves fat burning.
Melatonin helps rid the body of fat because researchers believe it increases the presence of a particular kind of fat that actually helps the body’s cells burn energy and fat rather than store it. It also helps with weight loss because it can act as an appetite suppressant - a study showed melatonin reduced overall food intake by stimulating the molecules found in the liver that are involved in appetite inhibition.
Immunity and Lean Mass -
Melatonin is also a powerful antioxidant, and like other antioxidants, has been shown to improve immune function alongside many other benefits. Research indicates that the antioxidant properties in melatonin can help to protect the body from free radicals and the cellular damage they cause.
This means that while melatonin can help burn fat, it can also help build muscle. An internal environment under oxidative stress will have a harder time building muscle, and melatonin can reduce this stress to protect the muscles and support their growth.
Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance or compromise of normal body function due to exercise. Without antioxidant support this leads to muscle fatigue and damage along with overall decreased energy.
Preventing Hair Loss
As a hormone, melatonin also relates to our hair because the hair growth cycle is regulated by hormones. Disruption can alter the cycle, messing with the hair follicles to cause hair loss. A study showed, however, that melatonin can combat the negative effects of hormonal disruption that leads to hair loss.
Aside from genetic factors, hair loss is also caused by oxidative stress from common toxins. Melatonin, as previously discussed to be an antioxidant, can fight this and protect and stimulate the hair follicles. Hair follicles have melatonin receptors, showing how this hormone is involved in hair growth.
There have been many studies on how melatonin can promote hair growth, with both men and women, and animals, showing promising results. In one study, data showed that the topical application of melatonin extended the growth stage and resulted in faster growth. Over half of the participants reported a decrease in hair loss and enhanced density, and almost a fourth reported hair re-growth.