MONROE, La (KNOE) - Melatonin is a natural hormone that plays a role in sleep. Melatonin production and release in the brain is related to time of day, rising in the evening and falling in the morning. Light at night blocks its production. Melatonin dietary supplements have been studied for sleep disorders, such as jet lag, disruptions of the body's internal "clock," insomnia, and problems with sleep among people who work night shifts. It has also been studied for dementia symptoms.
Courtesy: MGN Online
Taking melatonin may provide you with other health benefits as well.
Healthy melatonin levels may support eye health.
It has powerful antioxidant benefits that could help lower the risk of eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) (23).
In one study, scientists asked 100 people with AMD to take 3 mg of melatonin over 6 to 24 months. Taking melatonin daily helped protect the retinas and delay damage from AMD, without any significant side effects (24).
May Help Treat Stomach Ulcers and Heartburn
The antioxidant properties of melatonin may help treat stomach ulcers and alleviate heartburn (25, 26, 27).
A study with 21 participants found that taking melatonin and tryptophan along with omeprazole — a common medication for acid reflux — helped heal stomach ulcers caused by the bacteria H. pylori faster (28).
In another study, 36 people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) were given either melatonin, omeprazole (a medicine that helps treat GERD) or a combination of both to treat GERD and its symptoms.
Melatonin helped reduce heartburn and was even more effective when combined with omeprazole (29).
However, this area of research is fairly new. Future studies will help clarify how effective melatonin is in treating stomach ulcers and heartburn.
May Reduce Symptoms of Tinnitus
Tinnitus is a condition characterized by a constant ringing in the ears. It is often worse when there is less background noise, such as when you're trying to fall asleep.
Interestingly, taking melatonin may help reduce symptoms of tinnitus and help you get to sleep (30, 31, 32).
In one study, 61 adults with tinnitus took 3 mg of melatonin before bed for 30 days. It helped reduce the effects of tinnitus and significantly improved sleep quality (32).
May Help Increase Growth Hormone Levels in Men
Human growth hormone is naturally released during sleep. In healthy young men, taking melatonin may help increase growth hormone levels.
Studies have shown that melatonin can make the pituitary gland, the organ that releases growth hormone, more sensitive to the hormone that releases growth hormone (33, 34).
In addition, studies have shown that both lower (0.5 mg) and higher (5.0 mg) melatonin doses are effective at stimulating growth hormone release (34).
May Help With Seasonal Depression
Seasonal depression is commonly known as the "winter blues" or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It may affect up to 20% of adults in the US (35).
Some evidence shows that seasonal depression is affected by changes in light and sleep cycles (36).
In turn, melatonin could possibly help reduce symptoms of seasonal depression by helping with the sleep cycle (37, 38).
However, the evidence is not entirely clear. Future studies will help clarify if melatonin could be useful for treating seasonal depression.