Melatonin

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    Question Melatonin


    I've been having trouble sleeping. Someone recommended " melatonin" to me as a sleep aid. Did anyone try it?

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    it's awesome lol
    i get this great feeling like i have not a care in the world and I am tired, but not exhausted like I did a full day of cardio.

    btw i'm only on 3mg, and it's dirt cheap.
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    Sounds good, thanks for the info.
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    Yeah, 3mg a night is great for me. Make sure you take it and actually lay down to go to sleep. I've noticed I don't get tired unless I'm still.
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    According to some recent studies, an amount more in the order of 0.3 mg might be more effective for enhancing sleep than larger doses like 3 mg. But YMMV.
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    I've tried 1mg, nothing. 2mg, nothing. 3mg is all that worked. I only take it once or twice a month...so, I suppose moderation, as with anything, is the best route to take.
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    3mg works excellent for helping me get to sleep and get full quality, restful nights sleep. I have tried Valarian Root too and found it did absolutely nothing for me. Once I switched back to Melatonin I totally felt the difference. Give it a shot, it's cheap and has worked for most people I have talked to.
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    cool...i'm gonna give it a try this week. thanx
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    the hangover it too much for me, im lethargic most of the next day even slamming the caffiene back
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    Life Extension oraganizations rank it as one of the best (if not the best) supplements for extending ones days.

    Show's the power of sleep I guess.

    It has also been shown to help with chronic marijuana use; I don't rmemeber exactly what the study said, but I think it proved that marijuana depeltes the stores of melatonin in the body, thus supplementation brings it back. I could also be completely wrong and could be thinking of 5-htp in this regard.
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    Quote Originally Posted by boffo234
    Life Extension oraganizations rank it as one of the best (if not the best) supplements for extending ones days.
    Yes, but not recommended to people below ager of 35 (expecially women).
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    Quote Originally Posted by boffo234
    Life Extension oraganizations rank it as one of the best (if not the best) supplements for extending ones days.

    Show's the power of sleep I guess.

    It has also been shown to help with chronic marijuana use; I don't rmemeber exactly what the study said, but I think it proved that marijuana depeltes the stores of melatonin in the body, thus supplementation brings it back. I could also be completely wrong and could be thinking of 5-htp in this regard.
    This is one of my latest revelations when it comes to marijuana use. I am recommending melatonin and/or 5htp to most my smoking friends...
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    The following is a modified excerpt from Melatonin: Nature's Sleeping Pill, the best selling book by Ray Sahelian, M.D.

    Excerpt from:

    Melatonin: Nature's Sleeping Pill

    What is Melatonin? "I've heard of it," said a friend of mine. "That's skin pigment isn't it?"

    She was thinking of melanin, the dark color in skin and hair. Since that conversation I've encountered many people who confuse the two words. Melatonin is a natural molecule made by the pineal gland, which is located in the brain.

    Melatonin is made from the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, that is, the body cannot make it; we need to get it through the foods we eat. Tryptophan is found in a wide variety of foods. As we consume tryptophan during the day, the body converts it into serotonin, an important brain chemical involved with mood. Serotonin, in turn, is converted into melatonin. This conversion occurs most efficiently at night.

    Melatonin helps to set and control the internal clock that governs the natural rhythms of the body. Each night the pineal gland produces melatonin which helps us fall asleep. Research about this molecule has been going on since it was discovered in 1958 by Dr. Lerner at Yale University, but it has only been in the last few years that there has been such attention paid to melatonin. One reason for this growing interest is that we are realizing that deep sleep is not the only byproduct of melatonin. We are learning that it has a significant influence on our hormonal, immune, and nervous systems. Research is accumulating about melatonin's role as a powerful antioxidant and its immune-enhancing properties. It is an effective tool to prevent or cure jet lag, an ideal substance to reset the biological clock in shift workers, and a great supplement for those who have insomnia. Melatonin also may have roles to play in the treatment of heart disease, as an addition to cancer treatment, in lowering cholesterol levels, in influencing reproduction, and more. A delightful bonus is that melatonin can induce vivid dreams. But the most interesting claimabout melatonin is that it is an anti-aging hormone. Is it?

    Melatonin and Longevity A few years ago Dr. Maestroni and researchers in Switzerland gave male mice melatonin in their drinking water. Another group of mice received plain water. At the start of the study all the mice were 19 months old (equivalent to about 60 years in humans) and healthy.

    The researchers were surprised when the mice on melatonin showed such a striking improvement in their health, and most remarkably, lived so much longer! And after 5 months on melatonin, astonishing differences in the fur quality and vigor of the two groups became evident. The mean survival time of the melatonin-treated mice was 31 months (98 years in humans) versus 25 months (78 years) in the untreated group!

    A similar experiment was repeated in 1991 by Pierpaoli and colleagues. The results confirmed the earlier study. Melatonin, when given regularly to middle-aged mice, increased their life span by 20%.

    How would melatonin administration do in the young? To find out, Pierpaoli and colleagues gave melatonin every night to young, female mice (strain C3H/He) starting at age 12 months until death. (There are various strains of laboratory mice and the effect of a particular substance may be different on each strain. That's why it's important to mention which one.) These mice had not yet reached menopause. The average lifespan in this strain of mice is about 24 months. The age of 12 months (pre-menopause) would correspond roughly to age 35 in humans. To the surprise of everyone, melatonin shortened survival by 6%. A common reason was the high rate of ovarian cancer in these young mice. Apparently there are cells in the ovaries in this strain that overgrow when stimulated by melatonin, causing tumors. Another strain of young, female mice (NZB) was also given melatonin nightly starting at age 12 months. They lived longer. Another group of NZB strain female mice was given melatonin at 5 months of age. They also lived longer. Therefore, there is a difference in response to melatonin by different mouse strains.

    How did melatonin effect mice who had already reached menopause? In an additional study, when 18 month old post-menopausal female mice (strain C57BL/6) were given melatonin nightly, ovarian cancer was not detected and they lived 20% longer than mice of the same age who were not given melatonin.

    How can we interpret these studies in order to make practical recommendations for us humans? First we have to realize that rodents and humans may respond differently to the same medicine. We have seen that different strains of mice respond differently. However, we know by experience in countless other studies and with various other medicines that there is often a similarity between the effects of a substance on rodents and that on humans. It is also possible that if the younger, female mice had been given a lower dose of melatonin, they may have fared better. Based purely on a weight ratio, the amount of melatonin given the mice was many times the dose a human would normally use at night for sleep.

    In order for us to know for certain what melatonin will do in humans when given for a lifetime, we will need to follow at least a few hundred or thousand people receiving melatonin for a few decades. Multiple groups would be needed to try different dosages. The volunteers would be advised not to take any other supplements or medicines. Such a comprehensive study is not under way at this time. And the results of such a study would not be available until well into the 21st century. What are we to do in the meantime?

    We have to make an intelligent decision based on the available information. There is no right or wrong answer at this time as to whether middle-aged and older people should or should not take melatonin regularly to increase their lifespan. Chronic and high dose melatonin use in the young is strongly discouraged at this time.

    Different scientists familiar with these studies may endorse different courses of action. One scientist may caution, "Let's wait a few more years before making any recommendations." Another scientist may advocate, "If we wait, we'll have to wait a few decades. I personally do not want to risk waiting that long; I may be 6 feet under by then. I'm 65 now and I'm having trouble sleeping at night. Melatonin provides me with great sleep. In addition to the obvious advantages of restful sleep, there's the added bonus that it could extend my life span." Who will eventually be proved right? No one can predict for sure at this time.

    The pineal gland releases substances other than just melatonin. These other substances, one such example is epithalamin, have a role to play in longevity; in fact, epithalamin and other pineal gland extracts have similarly produced life extension in mice.

    How can melatonin extend life span? The pineal gland has the means of communicating with every cell of the body through its primary hormone, melatonin. Most hormones need a receptor on the cell membrane before they can enter the cell. Not so for melatonin. As the pineal gland releases melatonin, it quickly goes into the local bloodstream and then to the rest of the body's blood circulation. From there, melatonin finds its way to every body fluid and tissue. Because it is readily soluble in fat, melatonin has the unusual capacity to permeate into tissues and enter practically every cell of the body. (Most cell membranes are surrounded by a layer of fatty acids.) When melatonin enters the cells, it has the further ability to go directly to the DNA. Researchers speculate that the amount of melatonin reaching the DNA of every cell informs it as to which proteins to make. In November of 1994, the Journal of Biological Chemistry published a fascinating article where researchers Becker-Andre and colleagues found a specific receptor for melatonin right in the nucleus of cells. They conclude, "A nuclear signaling pathway for melatonin may contribute to some of the diverse and profound effects of this hormone."

    During infancy and childhood there is a high peak of melatonin reaching every cell. The high peak lets the cells know that the organism is young. The amount of melatonin released each night is less in middle age and even less still in old age. Therefore, as we advance in years, a lesser melatonin peak reaches the DNA in our cells. Some researchers think the pineal gland functions as the "aging clock." The reasons for the decline in melatonin levels was discussed in chapter two. One possibility is the failure of the pineal cells. They may get overworked through the years and not function as efficiently. Perhaps supplementation with melatonin may allow the pineal gland to work less hard and preserve its optimal functions for many more years.

    The decline of melatonin peak levels provides a signal to inform all cells in the body of their age--i.e. it's time to call it quits, call a lawyer to write a living will, and make the down payment for a plot at the cemetery. Melatonin supplementation could trick the DNA into thinking, "Maybe I miscalculated. I must be younger than I thought."

    We should not think of melatonin as the only influence on aging. In a complex organism such as the human body there are innumerable factors that are involved in the aging process. The pineal gland is only one of these factors, albeit an important one.

    Some of the ways melatonin could prolong life span include it's ability to be an antioxidant, enhance the immune system, provide deep sleep, and regulate hormonal levels. Another interesting correlation is between diet and melatonin. It is known that food restriction in rodents causes an increase in melatonin production. Food restriction also leads to life extension. It is too early to tell whether the increase in melatonin due to food restriction is one of the factors that leads to this longevity.

    A powerful antioxidant Many diseases are now suspected to be due to or aggravated by free radicals. In the past few years researchers have found that melatonin possesses unique properties as a free radical neutralizer. A free radical is any molecule with an unpaired electron restlessly going around ravaging and harming other molecules around it--like an uncontrolled hyperactive child swirling around a playpen knocking down and braking toys. Free radicals are formed as the end result of burning glucose and other energy molecules within our cells. When we drive a car, we burn gasoline as fuel. The leftovers are spewed out through the tail pipe of the exhaust system. When food is broken down and then metabolized, it similarly creates byproducts. These free radicals are some of the harmful molecules that are left over. They include molecules called hydroxyl (OH-), superoxide (O2-), and hydrogen peroxide (H202). Hydroxyl radicals are thought to be the most damaging.

    Melatonin is not only able to trap free radicals such as superoxide anions but is also very efficient at preventing damage from hydroxyl radicals. Melatonin has been found to be the most potent neutralizer of hydroxyl radicals ever detected. It stops damage immediately and is more effective as an antioxidant than even vitamins C and E. It also stimulates glutathione peroxidase activity, a natural enzyme in our cells that converts destructive hydrogen peroxide, H2O2, to safe water, H20.

    Many antioxidant vitamins and nutrients don't have the ability to enter cells and organelles inside cells as easily as does melatonin. Melatonin has the advantage of being able to freely enter and permeate all parts of a cell. In a study of DNA damage induced by safrole, a cancer promoting agent, melatonin protected the DNA almost entirely from free radical damage. This occurred even though melatonin was given at 1/1000 the dose of the carcinogen. Melatonin also has been found to bind to chromatin within the nucleus of a cell thus indicating that it may have direct on-site protection of DNA. Melatonin levels decrease as we age. Researchers speculate that lower melatonin levels may not be able to protect brain cells (neurons) from wear and tear damage. Furthermore, the activity of some brain enzymes, such as MAO-B, monoamine oxidase type B, can also increase with age leading to more free radical production. The failure of neurons and decline of neurotransmitters may then proceed at an increasing rate leading to dementia, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and other degenerative mental illnesses. As Hardeland and associates conclude in their 1993 article, "Melatonin promises to become a powerful pharmacological agent with its unique properties as a nontoxic, highly effective radical scavenger which provides protection eventually from neurodegeneration as well as from the mutagenic and carcinogenic actions of hydroxyl radicals." In other words, melatonin, if taken as a supplement, could slow down the aging process and decrease the incidence of brain damage and cancer.

    Russell J. Reiter, a highly respected pineal gland researcher from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, concluded in a 1994 article published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, "... melatonin may prove to be the most important free radical scavenger discovered to date."

    Diseases suspected to be caused by or aggravated by free radical damage include the following: Atherosclerosis (blockages in arteries), emphysema, cataracts, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's, other neurological diseases, some forms of cancer, and more.

    Enhancing Immunity A complicated interaction between our immune system, hormones, and nervous system allows our bodies to adapt to the external world and prevents us from coming down with infections. The pineal gland is intimately involved in regulating the above mentioned systems. Receptors for melatonin have been found in lymphoid organs such as thymus and spleen.

    Melatonin is believed to enhance the immune system. Mice given melatonin had an increased response of immune globulins to antigens. The researchers speculate that vaccines may be more effective when given at the same time as melatonin supplements. Even when mice were given cortisol in their drinking water, a substance which depresses the immune system, additional melatonin counteracted the detrimental effects of the cortisol.

    Melatonin is able to counteract the effects of stress. When mice are restrained, their antibody production drops, the weight of their thymus gland decreases, and their resistance to viruses decreases. Evening administration of melatonin buffered against the effects of stress. Many of the immunologic effects of stress are closely related to signs and symptoms of aging. In the elderly the thymus gland shrinks and immunity is lowered. Since aging is associated with lower melatonin levels, melatonin replacement may have a role in improving immunity. The elderly are particularly susceptible to pneumonia, flu, and other infections. Pneumonia is a common cause of death in the aged.

    Recent studies indicate that melatonin may restore the function of the thymus gland. The thymus gland is involved with the production and maturation of T lymphocytes. Melatonin stimulates the production of T lymphocytes in those who have a poorly functioning immune system. The mineral zinc is also thought to improve the functioning of the thymus gland. Melatonin is believed to facilitate the interaction of zinc with the thymus gland, allowing another pathway of immune enhancement.

    Sze and colleagues found that giving mice melatonin for two weeks induced production of powerful virus and bacteria fighting substances such as interferon and interleukin-2.

    We all know how great it feels the day after a previous night's full, eight hour, uninterrupted slumber. We actually feel younger, more energetic, almost forgetting that there is such a thing as the word "tired." For the elderly who have low melatonin levels, and consequently toss and turn all night, supplementation could provide that full, long, rest so critical to well-being. In an article published in the Nov/Dec, 1994 issue of Psychosomatic Medicine, Michael Irwin, MD and colleagues at the San Diego Veterans Affairs Medical Center, studied 23 healthy men ages 22 to 61 who spent 4 nights in a sleep laboratory. One the third night, volunteers were denied sleep between the hours of 3 am and 7 am. The majority of the subjects had substantially reduced activity of their white blood cells, specifically natural killer (NK) cells. The NK cells are actively involved in protecting us from viruses and possibly the abnormal growth of cancer cells.

    In brief, melatonin seems to improve the functioning of various components of the immune system by restoring the thymus gland, increasing interferon production, enhancing antibody production, enhancing anti-tumor factors, and more.

    To take (regularly) or not to take: that is the question I know a number of individuals who have started to take melatonin nightly at doses ranging from 1 mg to 10 mg. They do not take melatonin necessarily for sleep, but primarily for its potential health and longevity benefits. Four of these individuals have been taking it for over two years, without apparent side effects. Some organizations involved in seeking ways for life extension are recommending to their members to use melatonin regularly.

    A few pineal gland researchers have started to take melatonin for its potential health benefits. Russel Reiter, a neuroendocrinologist and foremost pineal gland researcher, is quoted in Vogue magazine, February 1995, "I've been taking it for years for jet lag. When we made the discovery about its antioxidant potential, I started taking it regularly." (He takes about 1 mg nightly.)

    We don't know for certain the long-term, positive or negative, effects of melatonin use in humans-- then again we hardly know for certain the long-term effects of many common medicines or supplements, including aspirin and vitamins.
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    Damn... that's mad info. Where'd you find all that?
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlexMasterFunk
    Damn... that's mad info. Where'd you find all that?
    eh eh eh

    "The following is a modified excerpt from Melatonin: Nature's Sleeping Pill, the best selling book by Ray Sahelian, M.D"
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    Here's some info on melatonin...a bit more condensed though.

    Melatonin Study

    Claims, Benefits: Promotes sleep, counters jet lag, improves sex life, slows aging, etc.

    Bottom Line
    : This human hormone may help promote sleep, but the evidence is still not definite. The other claims are unproven. No serious side effects have been reported, but long-term effects are unknown. Hormones are powerful substances and can produce unexpected results, so we don't recommend melatonin.

    Full Article, Wellness Letter, May 2000:

    Melatonin: Questions, Facts, Mysteries

    Look on any website selling supplements or in any health-food catalogue, and you'll find melatonin recommended for insomnia, jet lag, arthritis, stress, alcoholism, migraine, and the signs and symptoms of aging and menopause?along with assertions that it staves off heart disease and cancer. Some people recommend "melatonin replacement therapy" for all postmenopausal women. But now that scientific research is catching up with melatonin mania, you may want to proceed with caution.

    Melatonin is a human hormone produced deep in the brain by the pineal gland, dubbed "the seat of the soul" by philosophers in ages past. Discovered about 40 years ago, melatonin has been called the "darkness" hormone. Production rises at night, falls by day, and affects our internal body clock and sleep cycles. Melatonin has been assumed, logically enough, to have some use as a sleeping pill. Here are some questions, facts, and mysteries.

    Does melatonin production decline with age?

    The answer, until recently, was thought to be yes. But a new study at the Harvard Medical School of healthy people taking no medications or drugs found no differences in melatonin levels between the young and old. In earlier studies medications such as aspirin taken by older people may have suppressed melatonin levels. Melatonin levels may vary naturally in different groups; age does not seem to be the factor. Different people have different levels, and levels vary according to time of day.

    Bottom line: If your body already produces enough melatonin, taking additional doses may not be advisable. No one knows what the long-term effect might be. And it's difficult to determine what "enough" is.

    Is melatonin an effective sleeping pill?

    Most scientists agree that melatonin helps people fall asleep faster, but it may not help them stay asleep. Like benzodiazepines (such as Valium or Halcion), often prescribed as sleeping pills, melatonin can produce a "hangover" and drowsiness the next day. Long-term safety is still a question. It's true, as one researcher puts it, that "no catastrophes have been related to its use" (such as the outbreak of severe illness caused by a similar "natural" substance, tryptophan, once sold as a sleeping pill). Melatonin is being heavily marketed as a sleeping pill, particularly for older people, but nobody knows if the dosages listed on labels are accurate or if the products are pure. Good clinical trials have never been done on melatonin treatment for insomnia.

    Bottom line: If you need a sleeping pill, talk to your doctor. No known sleeping pill has proven safe and effective for more than short-term use.

    Does melatonin alleviate jet lag?

    Thousands take it for this purpose, but the benefits have never been clear. Various dosages of melatonin have been used in studies, making comparisons difficult. "Jet lag" itself is hard to measure. As reported recently in the American Journal of Psychiatry, a team of researchers devised a scale for measuring symptoms, and a group of Norwegian physicians flying between Oslo and New York were recruited as subjects. Melatonin showed no benefit against jet lag. If you're flying east, exposing yourself to sunlight the next morning is a pretty good treatment?most purveyors of melatonin suggest this, in addition to the pills. It's possible, though, that light is more effective than melatonin. You might be just as well off without the pills. Or maybe light works with the pills. Nobody knows.

    Bottom line: The jury is still out on melatonin and jet lag.

    Is melatonin replacement therapy justifiable for all postmenopausal women?


    No. Some researchers think low melatonin levels cause menopausal symptoms, but they may be wrong. HRT (hormone replacement therapy) has been studied much more extensively than melatonin, but no one recommends it for all postmenopausal women.

    Bottom line
    : Hormones are powerful substances that, even in small doses, can produce unexpected and unwanted results.

    Is melatonin an antioxidant, and thus a protector against aging and chronic diseases?

    A recent review of studies by researchers at Louisiana State University confirms that it is indeed a powerful antioxidant. But nobody knows what this means. Until we learn more, "the full potential benefits of melatonin must remain something of a mystery," these researchers concluded.

    Last words: If you are taking, or thinking of taking, melatonin, talk to a physician?and one who's not selling melatonin. Having your levels measured won't tell you anything, since levels vary from person to person and from hour to hour. Chronic use of melatonin supplements may suppress the body's own production of the hormone. Nobody knows what might happen if you have high natural levels and take a supplement on top of that. Melatonin can interact with other hormones, which is why, in part, pregnant women and children should never take it. Such drugs as aspirin, beta blockers, and tranquilizers can affect melatonin levels. Finally, nobody knows what dosages to take. Products are not standardized. Thus, you really don't know what you're swallowing.

    UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, May 2000
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    all I know is this, 3mg melatonin + ZMA = a great nights sleep.

    If I add in 1g of muira puama, great nights sleep, never wake up through the night, and when I do arise it is well-rested and ready to go - not tired at all. Did I mention the dreams?, very vivid.
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    Quote Originally Posted by joecski View Post
    all I know is this, 3mg melatonin + ZMA = a great nights sleep.

    If I add in 1g of muira puama, great nights sleep, never wake up through the night, and when I do arise it is well-rested and ready to go - not tired at all. Did I mention the dreams?, very vivid.
    agreed, melatonin, zma, pFull=amazing sleep. although, without the pfull, i need to bump to 6mg of mel.
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