Melatonin is wonderful for helping to promote a restful night's sleep, but can it also help you lose weight? The results of a new study say that just may be the case.
Melatonin is a natural hormone segregated by the body and melatonin levels generally increase in the dark at night. For those of us who have sleep issues like myself, melatonin is taken in a supplement form. Several years ago I began taking melatonin due to what I call "stress insomnia." Typically I fall asleep without much issue, but am a light sleeper and once something wakes me I may not be able to fall back to sleep for several hours, if at all. The one I prefer now is a sublingual supplement that dissolves under the tongue.
In addition to supplements, melatonin can be found in small amounts in several fruits and vegetables, such as: almonds, cardamom, cherries, coriander, fennel, Goji berries, mustard, and sunflower seeds.
Now, scientists out of Spain have released results of a study which show melatonin has metabolic benefits that can counter obesity and be beneficial in the treatment of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases that occur as a result of metabolic issues.
Score one for science.
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Here is how it works. There are different types of fat in the body. White adipose tissue is the one that stores calories that lead to weight gain, while beige fat helps regulate body weight control by burning calories instead of storing them. The researchers found that melatonin consumption stimulates the appearance of this beige fat. They also found that melatonin heightens the effects of exercise, since beige fat contains the protein responsible for generating heat and burning calories.
It has long been suspected that melatonin has metabolic benefits, but until now it had not been proven, nor did researchers understand why this might occur. As a result of these findings we may see a future where in addition to a healthy diet and regular exercise, doctors might recommend sleeping in very dark rooms, consuming a diet rich in melatonin, and perhaps taking melatonin supplements as a potential step in treating obesity or for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
Other studies have shown that melatonin is beneficial for delaying the onset of ALS symptoms and may help combat Alzheimer's. Research has also proven that decreased serotonin levels could lead to a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
In the meantime, once word gets out about this, all those stores that carry vitamins and supplements had better stock up in preparation for the people who hope to lose a few extra pounds by taking melatonin supplements. If you are one of those people, just be sure to follow the proper dosage recommendations, okay?
Please note that this post is intended to share information and ideas, as well as to create conversation. Please consult a medical professional before making changes to your lifestyle.
-By Jessica Cohen
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