MELATONIN: MORE THAN A SLEEP AID

       Terry Naturally Melatonin Ep120 10 Mg Sustained Release 60 Vegan TabletsMelatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland located in the center of the brain in an area known as the epithalamus where the two halves of the brain are joined together. Melatonin’s primary function is to regulate the body’s circadian rhythm.  The body’s circadian rhythm is an internal process that controls the sleep–wake cycle in response to the external environment.  This process is repeated every 24 hours. 

       Melatonin begins to be produced by the pineal gland as night falls and it begins to be dark. It reduces the activity of the nervous system and decreases the level of the neurotransmitter dopamine which plays a role in our wakeful activities.  As morning arrives and we begin to experience the light of day, the production of melatonin subsides. 

       As we age, the pineal gland production of melatonin decreases. This is one reason the elderly have more difficulty falling asleep and remaining asleep. Here is where supplemental melatonin can be helpful. Supplemental melatonin can also be helpful for those who work nights and sleep days or experience “jet lag” in having to adjust to changes in time zones.      

       It’s been estimated that over 50 million US adults suffer from sleep disorders. More than 30 million US adults take sleeping pills such as Xanax, Valium and Librium.  These are all names for a class of drugs called benzodiazepines which act on the central nervous system to relax the body. Unfortunately, benzodiazepines suppress the body’s production of melatonin, can become addictive and can produce side effects such as dizziness, weakness, depression and confusion.   

       While melatonin is primarily secreted by the pineal gland, it is also produced by the gastrointestinal track, the retina of the eye and other parts of the body. In fact it has been shown to be absorbed through the digestive tract from a wide variety of foods. This being the case, melatonin has been found to be useful to the body in a variety of ways in addition to regulating our sleep cycle.  Melatonin has been shown to strengthen the immune system and thus help protect the body from viral, bacterial and parasitic infections.  Studies have shown that melatonin can help reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels and maintain proper blood pressure.

       Melatonin and immunity:

       In the June 2020 issue of Life Extension magazine, it was recorded that scientists have found that melatonin communicates with the immune system resulting in fine tuning the immune systems attack on a wide range of pathogens and even cancer cells.  Melatonin has been shown to stimulate the release of cytokines which are proteins that attack pathogens that cause infections, In so doing, inflammation is reduced in the body.

       Melatonin has been shown to stimulate the production and activity of T cells and NK (natural killer) cells which destroy virus-infected cells.  Melatonin also stimulates the production of macrophages which engulf and wipe out pathogens.  There is a significant amount of research that shows melatonin plays an important role in facilitating proper immune function.

       Melatonin and heart health:

       Two universities in Iran reviewed eight studies done between 1997 and 2014 on the effect of melatonin on triglycerides and cholesterol levels. These studies revealed there to be a significant association between melatonin supplementation and a reduction in triglyceride and cholesterol levels. 

       A 2006 study published in PubMed showed that melatonin reduces blood pressure in patients with nocturnal hypertension. Melatonin has been shown to relax the blood vessels thus facilitating better blood flow.  A study done in Poland showed that those who took 5 milligrams of melatonin before bed for a period of two months lowered their systolic (the upper number) blood pressure by an average of 12.3 points and their diastolic (the lower number) blood pressure by 6.6 points.

       Melatonin and cancer:

       On April 17, 2017, the International Journal of Molecular Sciences published an abstract online entitled, Melatonin, a Full Service Anti-Cancer Agent: Inhibition of Initiation, Progression and Metastasis. This abstract states that there “is highly credible evidence that melatonin mitigates cancer at the initiation, progression and metastasis phases. This abstract goes on to explain the mechanisms whereby melatonin does this and provides specific data on how melatonin affects a number of different cancers. This abstract can be viewed at

       In addition to its role in immunity, heart health and cancer, research has shown melatonin to promote bone density, curtail irritable bowel syndrome, maintain cognitive health and inhibit Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Melatonin is one of the most researched of all nutrients. 

       Since the body’s production of melatonin in general significantly decreases as we age, it may be wise to add melatonin to your supplement program.  At Milk ‘N Honey, we carry a variety of brands and potencies of melatonin. Since some forms of supplemental melatonin are used up by the body in a matter of hours, we recently introduced a 10 milligram sustained released form of melatonin from EuroPharma (Terry Naturally) called Melatonin EP120. A sustained released melatonin supplement allows for melatonin it to be present in the body for a much longer period of time.