For life forms to exist on this planet, a mechanism was required to deal with day and night, as well as summer and winter.
Our connection to the light/dark cycles has evolved around our ability to produce one of the oldest molecules on the planet, melatonin.
Melatonin is produced in the pineal gland of mammals, is found in all different parts of plants and dates back some 3 billion years. (5)
In humans, through our skin and receptors in our retinas, the pineal gland recognizes when the sun sets and, in response, starts producing melatonin. Melatonin, a sleep hormone, eases us into sweet slumber.
What many people don’t know, is that its role doesn’t end there…
Melatonin’s Benefits Are Nothing Short Of Impressive
Numerous studies have declared melatonin as the body’s most powerful antioxidant. It scavenges for free radicals, stimulates genes to turn on other antioxidant systems, has unprecedented access to any and every cell in the body and easily crosses the blood-brain barrier – all while you sleep! (1)
Melatonin acts somewhat like a nightly custodian, cleaning the floors, emptying the trash and washing the windows while we are closed down for the evening.
In addition to boosting the production of the body’s army of protective, antioxidant enzymes, glutathione, superoxide dismutase and others, it regulates and maintains the health and balance of the mitochondria, which are the energy generators found in every cell. (1)
Healthy melatonin levels have been linked to healthy bones, breast health, brain health, heart health, joint health, better quality sleep, blood sugar support, weight loss, balanced hormone production, cognitive health and a healthier microbiome by supporting the proliferation of immune-supporting gut microbes. (1-9,13)
Supplementing with Melatonin
There have been decades of research on supplementing with melatonin. My concern for years was whether taking any hormone supplement would cause a depletion or a lack of production of that hormone by the body.
However, the studies are unique in this area when it comes to melatonin. They have found that supplementing with melatonin does not cause the body to produce less of its own. (12,13)
Everyone responds to melatonin differently, so the correct dosage should be based on the individual. If you take too much, you may feel sleepy or drowsy in the morning or have excessive dreams during the night.
How Do I Know My Correct Dosage?
To evaluate your melatonin dosage, during each 5-day period, assess how well you slept, and your energy levels in the morning and throughout the day.
Take less if you are groggy in the morning.
You may need less during the winter months, when natural melatonin production is higher.
Once you establish the right dosage for you, stay on that dose for 3 months as a circadian rhythm reset.
If you are over the age of 50 and your melatonin and cortisol test results are showing a circadian imbalance, consider hacking the aging process with long-term supplementation – as melatonin production from the pineal gland decreases with age.
The Mayo Clinic publishes a list of melatonin dosages alongside various health concerns. You can use this to find your concern and the appropriate dosing schedule. (11)
Starting Melatonin Supplementation Early
Studies suggest that because melatonin production begins to decrease with age (around age 50), it is important to evaluate your needs for melatonin early.
I have written numerous articles about resetting circadian rhythms naturally with lifestyle and food – which I think is always the best way to start. That said, according to 40 years of science, supplementing with melatonin short-term or long-term should not be something to fear.
If your pineal production of melatonin is deficient, you live a lifestyle that requires excessive travel or work late nights, melatonin supplementation should be considered.
I also think it is important to regularly troubleshoot your health status, including quality and duration of sleep, energy during the day and any of the health concerns I listed in this article.
Get Your Melatonin Tested
Still not sure if you need a melatonin supplement? Consider getting your levels tested.
I don’t have any health concerns that I am aware of, and have always slept great… but I am 61. When I had my melatonin tested, to my surprise, I was low and have since started supplementing.
I was so grateful to find this out early, as research suggests it works best for prevention and longevity when it is started early in life.
Getting the dose right is a process, which is why I like using Liquid Melatonin drops – where you can start with the smallest dose and adjust the dose as needed, without having to buy a new product for each new dose.
Reiter, R. Melatonin, Bantam Books.1996
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Need Supplements? We can help!
Liquid Melatonin 3mg is engineered to help find the best individual dosages with simple, easy to follow instructions. One drop contains 0.1 mg of melatonin, ten drops contain 1 mg, and thirty drops contain 3 mg of melatonin.
To find the best dosage, start with 0.3 mg (3 drops) for 1-5 nights and then assess how you feel based on your quality of sleep and your energy levels in the morning. Take less if you are groggy the next day.
Once you establish the right dosage for you, stay on that dose for 3 months to complete a circadian rhythm reset. If you are over the age of 50, consider testing your melatonin and cortisol levels to determine if there is an age-related imbalance; if so talk to your health care professional about the potential benefits and risks of long-term supplementation.
Melatonin HP is a vegetarian formula with a biphasic delivery system that releases melatonin quickly and then steadily. Melatonin is naturally produced in the pineal gland in response to changes in light exposure; it helps promote healthy sleep patterns as well as antioxidant and immune activities. Melatonin HP can support these functions by helping to maintain normal levels of melatonin in the body.
The Sleep Balance Profile by ZRT Laboratory is a melatonin and cortisol Dried Urine test that circumvents the disadvantages of serum, saliva, and 24-hour urine tests commonly used for testing these hormones. Urine is collected on filter strips at 4 time points throughout the day that are representative of the peaks and troughs of melatonin and cortisol production.