Updated: Feb 16
Why Can Everyone Take Melatonin but ME?
Most people have heard about melatonin for its sleep benefits. And yes, melatonin can help you fall asleep faster and have more restful sleep. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg on melatonin.
The first thing you should know is that melatonin is actually a hormone. It is made from tryptophan, an amino acid and the neurotransmitter serotonin. Most of it is made in the pineal gland but it is produced in smaller amounts in other parts of the body. Now you already know that it can help you sleep and seeing that it is made from tryptophan may help you understand why (Thanksgiving turkey....zzzzzzzz). For many it not only helps with the occasional sleepless night, but it can also help get your circadian rhythm back on track.
Another area where melatonin can benefit you is immune function. Having adequate amounts of melatonin in your system can help keep your immune system strong. It even says so on PubMed. So why wasn't that mentioned anytime over the last few years....? Hmm, well, it's true. Melatonin is an antioxidant so it helps prevent oxidative stress in the body. It also supports the mitochondria. If those aren't strong, you are not going to feel well. We produce less as we age. That is why kids often sleep hard. Not so much as we get older.
Actually, there are about a dozen other benefits to taking melatonin, but I actually wanted to talk about why some people CAN'T take it. So many people sing its praises but there are people out there and you may know one or be one that feels just awful when you take it. The big reason?? YOUR LIVER! Yep, if you don't tolerate melatonin well and your are taking a good, reputable brand, you most likely have a clogged or overburdened liver. You need to do something about that for a whole host of reasons that I can cover at another time. Just know that if your liver isn't doing too well, the rest of your body isn't either.
This isn't meant for you to run out and start taking melatonin. Sure it is safe at low doses in the short term, but it hasn't been studied in the long term and can have side effects. You should talk to a professional if you're wanting to add it to your own arsenal. Questions? Let me know!