Melatonin is essential to your body. The lack of melatonin leads to sleep disturbance, provokes insomnia, reduces the body’s adaptation to changing time zones. Deficiency of this hormone of the pineal gland can be compensated by taking special drugs. They not only normalize sleep, but also have additional positive effects. In order for the drug to bring maximum benefits, you must first familiarize yourself with the rules of admission, indications for use and possible side effects.
- What is melatonin?
- Characteristic features
- When and why take melatonin?
- Effects and benefits
- Importance of melatonin during workout
- Effects on libido
- Effect on testosterone concentration
- Relation with prolactin
- Effect on growth hormone
- Helps you lose weight
- Indications and contraindications
- How to use
- Recommended dosage
- Course duration
- The form of production
- Melatonin in food
- Melatonin during pregnancy
- Interaction with other drugs
- Side effects, risks and possible harm
- Terms of sale and storage conditions
- Alternatives to melatonin
What is melatonin?
Melatonin is the hormone responsible for regulating the circadian rhythm of living organisms, for wakefulness and sleep. The compound helps to get rid of insomnia that occurs against the background of overfatigue, irritability from a swift change of time zone. Due to such features, it is often called “sleep hormone”. Melatonin is a derivative of serotonin produced by tryptophan.
The latter is one of the essential amino acids – L-tryptophan. The highest concentration of the hormone in the blood occurs at night, namely from midnight to five in the morning. The highest peak is reached at 2 in the morning. During the day, melatonin levels decrease. In other words, when a person is awake, melatonin lowers, and during sleep – it rises.
Melatonin production is directly related to circadian rhythm. In the light, during the day, the production of the hormone decreases significantly. In the dark, its concentration begins to increase. In summer, when daylight hours rise, the synthesis of melatonin is significantly reduced, and in winter, on the contrary, increases. Age also plays an important part.
The older a person becomes, the less melatonin is produced. This causes worsening of falling asleep. A person is often tormented by insomnia, which negatively affects the phase of deep sleep. He becomes more irritable. His systems and organs cease to be properly restored. Melatonin leads to a decrease in systolic pressure.
When and why take melatonin?
Melatonin is administered in the following situations:
- The hormone is necessary for those who suffer from insomnia, have difficulty falling asleep due to severe overfatigue and prolonged wakefulness. If you increase the concentration of melatonin, sleep problems will be significantly reduced. This substance has a sedative and a calming effect on the nervous system.
- Connection is required for every person who experiences increased irritability, either due to a change in time zone or work schedule. The hormone is also useful for those involved in physical activity, leading to muscle fatigue. The substance helps to relax and recover better while asleep.
The substance helps to cope with fatigue after workout and general overwork.
Effects and benefits
The main function of the hormone is to improve the quality of sleep. The compound is actively involved in the normalization of the processes of the endocrine system. Melatonin reduces emotional and physical activity, but only during the period when wakefulness becomes an obstacle to normal biorhythms.
The hormone also has positive side effects. It has anti-stress, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, antitumor effects. Moveover, it reduces the rate of aging processes. Along with general properties, the compound also has a specific effect, depending on the specific physical activity.
Importance of melatonin during workout
Athletes take melatonin mostly to improve sleep. Such an effect directly depends on the speed of the body’s regenerative processes after workout. The higher the intensity of the training, the more irritated the nervous system becomes. This affects the state of the body not in a very pleasant way.
The quality of sleep after severe physical activity becomes much worse, and recovery takes much more time. If an athlete experiences insomnia, then he will not have enough strength to perform specific tasks. Sleep allows the muscles to relax, and the internal organs and nervous system recover. The better the athlete sleeps, the faster he recovers, and athletic performance is improved immensely.
Effects on libido
A large amount of research has been conducted on this topic. They showed that there is no direct correlation between the concentration of melatonin and libido. Taking drugs that increase the level of this substance does not directly affect the anabolic hormones that are responsible for male libido.
Effect on testosterone concentration
The level of testosterone has a positive effect on anabolic processes, libido and sexual function. Melatonin, as research shows, directly affects the production and does not inhibit the synthesis of testosterone. A hormone called prolactin has a negative effect on testosterone. Such an indirect effect is possible only at certain dosages.
Relation with prolactin
There are no specific definite results regarding the relation between melatonin and prolactin. Some studies have shown the absence of any effect on the prolactine, but no clarification regarding the duration and period of exposure has been specified.
Young people who took five milligrams per day for thirty days showed an increase in prolactin levels. An increase was recorded daily, and it has been discovered that the increase of prolactin level was observed not at daytime, but at night, when the level of melatonin reached the highest concentration.
Effect on growth hormone
Somatotropin (or growth hormone, GH) is dependent on melatonin. It has a positive effect on GH, the peak concentration of which occurs at night. Both compounds are produced during the rest period. Their concentration decreases if there are problems with sleep and insomnia, which leads to a decrease in the production of both melatonin and somatotropin.
GH positively affects cell growth not only in children but also in adults. It has both catabolic and anabolic effects, is involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates and increases the absorption of calcium in bone tissue. Growth hormone is required not only in adolescence, but also for those who are actively involved in sports. The main property of melatonin is that it has a positive effect on sleep quality and recovery. This hormone has a good effect on the production of somatotropin.
Helps you lose weight
A lot of research is devoted to how melatonin affects a person’s weight. The hormone stimulates the absorption of glucose and the accumulation of glycogen in muscle tissue. The substance stimulates an increase in the production of creatine phosphate and energy – adenosine triphosphate or ATP. This effect allows you to increase your energy during workout. This helps to increase its duration, which contributes to a greater burning of subcutaneous fat.
Indications and contraindications
Melatonin is recommended for addressing problems regarding quality of sleep. If a person suffers from insomnia, he becomes irritable and begins to experience stress, which again provokes insomnia.
Melatonin is contraindicated for those who suffer from diabetes, autoimmune diseases, myeloma, lymphoma, leukemia, epileptic seizures. The hormone is also contraindicated for children below the age of 12. For adolescents, the compound should be prescribed only by a specialist.
How to use
The hormone should be taken in the evening. It is best to take the drug thirty minutes before sleep. The active substance begins to act after 45-60 minutes. When taking the hormone, direct contact with bright light should be avoided. It suppresses the effect after taking the drug. The pills are washed down with water.
The instruction and the optimal daily dosage of the drug completely depend on which dietary supplement or pharmaceutical drug is taken. It is necessary to carefully study how much melatonin one pill contains. The daily optimal and safe dose of the active substance is up to three milligrams. At the beginning of the course, it is recommended to take one to two milligrams, and then increase the dosage. The maximum dosage is 6 milligrams. Deterioration of well-being is a signal that administration of the drug should be stopped.
Melatonin is recommended to be taken for one month. A longer course (up to two months) is possible only by a prescription from a doctor. Then it is necessary to take a break of about two weeks. After that, the course may be continued. The drug can be prescribed to older people who are undergoing treatment to normalize blood pressure, for a period of three months to six months.
The form of production
The supplement is sold in the form of white pills, which are supposed to be washed down with water. Some manufacturers produce the drug in the form of chewable pills.
Drugs that contain melatonin
The hormone is contained in the following supplements:
- Vita-melatonin, each pill contains up to three milligrams of the active substance. Available in the USA. One package contains 30 pills.
- Melaritm containing a similar amount of melatonin as the previous drug. It is a Russian additive produced in packs of 24 pills.
- Circadian, a Swiss drug. One pill contains two milligrams of the hormone
- Melaxen. Another American supplement. Each pill contains three milligrams of the substance.
These drugs have established themselves as the most effective and time-tested.
People who are actively involved in sports are advised to take dietary supplements instead of pharmaceutical drugs. Manufacturers of sports nutrition develop and produce their own supplements that positively affect recovery processes after training during the sleep phase. They have a positive anti-catabolic effect when a person experiences emotional and physical stress. This effect has made these supplements popular among those leading active lifestyles.
It is recommended to take dietary supplements with melatonin at night (half an hour before sleep). In addition, they are recommended for use when flying, if the time zone changes. You should drink the supplement an hour prior to flight. You should not drink the drug before training. Inhibition of physical activity with disorientation leads to a decrease in the effectiveness of the workout. It is not recommended to drink the drug in the morning and during the day.
Top melatonin sports supplements
- Optimum Nutrition with 100 pills of 3 mg each
- NOW Foods with 60 capsules of 3 mg each
- Ultimate Nutrition with 60 pills of 3 mg each
- Scitec Nutrition with 90 pills of 1 mg each
- Universal Nutrition with 60 pills of 5 mg each
If we compare pharmaceutical drugs and sports supplements with the active substance, the latter are much more profitable. The content of melatonin in each individual pill is the same, but there are more pills in dietary supplements, but at the same they are cheaper.
Melatonin in food
Rice contains the largest amount of the substance. Only a small amount of the hormone enters the body with food. This does not allow to receive a sufficient dosage, which would help to obtain positive effects in terms of improving sleep quality. Much more beneficial is the use of foods with L-tryptophan, which promotes the production of melatonin. To better the result, it is necessary to take the hormone additionally in the amount of 1-6 milligrams per day. It’s impossible to receive such dosages from food alone.
Melatonin during pregnancy
The supplement is contraindicated for women during pregnancy and lactation. Moreover, it’s not recommended to use the drug for those women who plan to become pregnant, since the hormone has a contraceptive property.
Interaction with other drugs
Taking the drug with drugs that block beta-adrenergic receptors leads to a decrease in hormone production. Supplements with melatonin go well with sleeping pills, which have a synergistic effect. The hormone increases the effectiveness of tamoxifen, which has an antitumor effect. It also enhances the antibacterial effect of isoniazid.
Side effects, risks and possible harm
Melatonin is considered safe for use. Some people may have an individual intolerance, expressed in loss of coordination, severe dryness, vomiting and nausea. In the morning hours, some people may feel increased tiredness and general upset. Some pharmaceutical drugs cause irritability, tachycardia, headache, dizziness, night sweats, loss of concentration, blurred vision and migraine.
After taking melatonin it’s, driving a vehicle is a bad idea due to the fact that melatonin decreases attention and concentration. The drug is contraindicated for children, for the effects of it on them is yet unknown. It can slow down sexual development. An overdose also affects the body with dosages above 30 milligrams. It provokes disorientation, memory loss and shortening of sleep duration.
Terms of sale and storage conditions
Drugs are dispensed without a prescription, even in pharmacies. Sports supplements are available for sale with no restrictions. The drug must be stored in the purchase packaging, in a place where the temperature is no more than 25 degrees Celsius and protected from direct sunlight. Usually, the shelf life of the drug is up to three years, but only under the correct storage conditions.
Alternatives to melatonin
Tryptophan is a dietary supplement, the intake of which in a daily dosage of 500 mg promotes the synthesis of serotonin, which further at night is converted to melatonin. In addition, this drug contains vitamins B5 and B6.