Melatonin will help you fall asleep, but will it help you train more effectively and improve body composition? All about the use and properties of the additive, dosage and side effects.
Melatonin is known mainly as a biological rhythm regulator that helps you sleep and sleep without hind legs. However, melatonin receptors are scattered throughout the body.
For example, a high level of this hormone is found in the intestine, and not only in the pineal gland, which is responsible for the regulation of circadian rhythms. Therefore, one should not be surprised that taking melatonin can bring a lot of benefits, and not only solve problems with sleep.
What is melatonin?
In humans, melatonin is synthesized from the essential amino acid tryptophan. Through a chain of biochemical reactions, tryptophan is converted to serotonin, which is then used to form melatonin.
It used to be thought that melatonin synthesis occurs exclusively in the pineal gland of the brain, but later it became known that other tissues, for example, the digestive system and skin, also produce melatonin.
Your intestines, for example, contain 400 times more melatonin than the pineal gland. This is explained by the fact that the pineal gland synthesizes melatonin to control functions associated with circadian rhythms, and the formation of melatonin in other tissues is due to current needs and the state of their immediate environment.
How Long Does Melatonin Stay in Your System?
The largest factor will always be the amount of Melatonin you took if it had been rapid release or time postponed, The more milligrams that the longer it will be in your system.
Melatonin has a short life of about 5 hours, so it does not remain on your system long but be careful, a little dose goes a long way! Some studies have revealed adults need as low as 150 micrograms to fall asleep quicker. Many men and women think that more is better and wind up overdosing themselves.
Read More About: How Long Does Birth Control Pill Stay in Your System
What are the functions of melatonin?
The most well-known function of melatonin is to manage your sleep and biological circadian rhythms — physiological, psychological, and behavioral responses that follow the daily cycle (for example, the time when you feel the need for food or sleep). This property makes melatonin a very useful hormone for people with sleep disorders.
But melatonin also has other functions. It can act as an antioxidant, a body temperature regulator, a dilator of peripheral vessels, a protector of skin and hair, and even these are not all points of application of the hormone.
Melatonin acts as a modulator of the activity of the nervous system, biological processes, hormones and cytokines (cellular signaling systems). In short, it affects almost all body systems, including the nervous, endocrine, immune, digestive, cardiovascular, muscular, reproductive and integumentary (hair and skin).
How is melatonin useful for bodybuilding and fitness?
From an athlete’s point of view, melatonin alone in the induction of sleep and neutralizing free radicals can accelerate recovery, contribute to an increase in training volume, and create conditions for improving results in the long term.
Along with the above, the action of melatonin in the intestine can play a key role in weight loss. Consider the possible beneficial effects of taking melatonin as a dietary supplement in more detail.
Anyone suffering from insomnia will tell you that a lack of sleep can turn your life into chaos. Melatonin helps you sleep longer, stronger and better. Sleeping pills are useful for those who suffer from sleep disorders, as well as for those who only occasionally encounter problems with a full night’s rest.
Taking melatonin reduces sleep time. The effect of sleep induction can help night owls shift their sleep and wakefulness schedule towards earlier falling asleep and early start of the next day. Being an extreme night owl is bad; this is a sleep disorder, which is called the syndrome of delayed onset of sleep phases (ONFS, or sleep phase delay).
Even if you do not have insomnia, a sufficient amount of full sleep after a hard workout (and indeed, after any workout) is very important for every athlete. It is critical for recovery, prevention of overtraining and improving the effectiveness of the training process.
Without a full sleep, you are likely to rest on an invisible wall and stop progressing. It may well be that performance, health and physical form will begin to deteriorate. And since sleep is essential for the immune system, you risk becoming more susceptible to injury and illness.
Adaptation to changing time zones
Some people say that increasing melatonin helps with insomnia caused by jet lag. However, although some studies have shown that taking melatonin accelerates adaptation to the change of time zones, not all experiments have confirmed its effectiveness in this matter.
Decreased body temperature and pain sensitivity
Melatonin can increase the effectiveness of low-intensity training, for example, long-distance running, and at the same time accelerate sleep, by reducing body temperature. The hormone promotes the expansion of the vessels of the integumentary tissues of the limbs (for example, the skin of the feet and palms), increases heat transfer and has an analgesic effect (reduces pain).
If melatonin can reduce body temperature and reduce susceptibility to pain, then taking the supplement can alleviate the symptoms of fatigue during workouts in hot conditions.
However, to date, no information taking melatonin before training can somehow improve performance. Also, due to hypothermic effects, you may not want to take a supplement if you live in a very cold climate.
Decreased oxidative cell damage
Melatonin acts as a powerful antioxidant. It can neutralize harmful free radicals, including those formed during workouts and low-calorie diets, under the influence of poor ecology or as a result of the aging of the body.
Melatonin is particularly active in showing its antioxidant properties inside the mitochondria, cellular power plants that produce ATP energy. Taking melatonin can increase the pace and quality of recovery after exercise, slow down the aging process, reduce the effects of solar radiation and other stressful environmental factors that are harmful to your cells.
For example, a recent study showed that taking melatonin reduces markers of muscle damage and oxidative stress in the blood of representatives of power sports disciplines.
Another experiment showed that taking melatonin reduced DNA damage and increased the antioxidant capacity of muscles after high-intensity interval training (HIIT) .
Finally, for obese adults, melatonin not only helped reduce body weight and improved the chemical signals associated with weight control but also reduced oxidative damage markers.
The results of a recent experiment on obese patients suggest that melatonin can help with fat burning and weight loss. Improving sleep is equivalent to improving the regulation of hunger hormones (for example, leptin) and metabolic processes that depend on your biological rhythms.
Plus, if you ever suffered from insomnia, you know that for one sleepless night, you can easily empty a couple of shelves of the refrigerator. The sooner you fall asleep, the higher the chance to avoid this trap.
The second explanation may be due to the fact that melatonin reduces insulin synthesis and secretion, and this is confirmed by numerous experiments. This effect of melatonin can also explain why taking a supplement before a workout increases the use of carbohydrate fuel by the muscles during a 30-minute endurance session.
Skin and hair
Melatonin can help your skin and hair, because it is an antioxidant, and hormone receptors are present in the skin and hair follicles. Using melatonin as a food additive or as part of external products will protect the skin and hair from damage by free radicals (for example, under the action of solar UV, smoking). It can help them stay strong, healthy and hydrated.
What are the side effects of melatonin?
In general, melatonin is considered safe, but drowsiness, dizziness, headache, nausea, loss of concentration and delayed reaction time are side effects that can occur even at standard dosages (3 to 10 milligrams).
The feeling of “hangover” or drowsiness in the morning after using melatonin as a sleeping pill is another frequent, but not very pronounced side effect.
In some cases, in order to solve the problem of insomnia, it is worthwhile to put up with a little sleepiness the next day. But if these symptoms bother you, stop taking the supplement. Since melatonin reduces insulin secretion and can increase blood glucose levels, people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes should consult a doctor before starting a supplement. Also, consult with your doctor if you are taking prescription vasoconstrictors (for example, if you have a peripheral vascular disease), antidepressants, or sleeping pills.
Is melatonin present in food?
There are trace amounts of melatonin in almost all plants, vegetables, mushrooms, and seaweed, but only a few products and plant components are really rich in them. Pistachios are the best-known sources; 1 gram of dry nuts will give you about 0.25 milligrams of melatonin. This means that you need to eat only 25 grams of pistachios to get a potentially effective dose of melatonin.
For comparison, walnuts and fresh tomatoes, which are also considered a good source of melatonin, contain only about 0.0000015-0.00002 milligrams of melatonin per gram; dry lentils contain about 0.001 milligrams per gram.
Germinated seeds are also considered a good source of melatonin. The highest concentration in mustard seeds is at least four times higher than in sunflower seeds, and more than 10 times higher than the melatonin concentration in flax seeds. And yet, melatonin mustard is 1200 times less than pistachios.
If you like coffee, roasted and green coffee beans contain from 0.006 to 0.01 milligrams of melatonin per gram, but after brewing, the concentration drops at least 100 times. Also, caffeine can provoke symptoms such as irritability and anxiety, making it difficult to fall asleep. Do not drink a lot of coffee if you hope to cure your insomnia or other sleep disorders.
Salmon and dried egg powder contain the maximum concentration of melatonin among animal products, but in each of these products, melatonin is only slightly higher than in walnuts.
Cherry can also be a source of melatonin, but its variety is important. Yellow cherries Rainer and cherry are the best sources among all fruits, but melatonin in them is only 2-4 times more than in walnuts. Dried cranberries contain up to 0.096 milligrams of melatonin per gram.
Interestingly, black rice and other pigmented grains contain the highest amount of melatonin among cereals. Black rice with a low gluten content of melatonin is twice as much as in cereals containing gluten. Similarly, polished grains contain only a third of the total melatonin present in unprocessed cereals.
Food sources of melatonin:
- Dried cranberries
- Cherries and Cherries Rainer
- Black rice
- Mustard seeds
- Dry egg powder
Some medicinal herbs are rich in melatonin. Maiden tansy leaves (Tanacetum parthenium), St. John’s wort flowers (Hypericum perforatum) and Baikal skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) contain 0.002-0.007 milligrams of melatonin per 1 gram of dried grass.
If these foods and herbs are not enough for you to increase the level of melatonin, think about taking nutritional supplements.
How much melatonin should I take, and when?
Despite the relatively low bioavailability of melatonin from dietary supplements (10–56 percent), a dose of 1–5 milligrams, taken about 20 minutes before going to bed, will allow a 10–100 times higher physiological level of melatonin, which is characteristic of. Duration of effect – from 4 to 8 hours.
In the female body, the bioavailability of melatonin is higher, but the concentration returns to a baseline faster than that of men. Experiment with a dose; it should be sufficient for proper sleep and not too high to avoid the hangover syndrome the next morning, which is possible if you exceed the dosage. Start with 1 milligram of melatonin, then increase the dose by 1 milligram every evening until you find your middle ground.
Should I take melatonin with food?
There is no evidence of how best to take melatonin – on an empty stomach or while eating. Since it participates in the work of the digestive system, taking a supplement along with a rich dinner can end up with the fact that all melatonin will go to the needs of the digestive tract and will not help you with sleep.
The same thing can happen if you take melatonin on an empty stomach or after a long endurance workout. Therefore, it is better to take the supplement along with a useful snack, for example, with a protein shake, a bowl of fresh cherries or a handful of pistachios.
How does melatonin interact with other substances?
Caffeine can reduce the effectiveness of melatonin, and alcohol precisely reduces its ability to induce sleep. One study reported that one serving of alcohol does not have any significant effect, two servings reduce the effectiveness of melatonin by 9%, three servings by 15%, and four or more servings by 17%.
Zinc and magnesium can enhance endogenous melatonin synthesis from serotonin, but no experimental evidence taking magnesium and zinc with melatonin is more effective than taking melatonin alone.
However, if your diet is not balanced, and you exercise with high intensity, then you most likely need to take zinc and magnesium to maintain your testosterone synthesis and muscle growth.
Does melatonin have other names?
In the scientific literature, melatonin can be found under such complex names as N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine or 5-methoxy-N-acetyltryptamine. Such systematic names as Acetamide, N- (2- (5-methoxy-1H-indole-3-yr) ethyl) – (9Cl) are often used. The abbreviation for melatonin is MLT or MT.