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Low-Dose Melatonin & Weight Loss

Melatonin supplements are most commonly taken as a sleep aid, but according to research, it may have other positive effects on the body.  In its natural state, melatonin is secreted by a gland in our brain and regulates a cycle called the circadian rhythm.  Often called the “body clock,” this cycle tells us when to sleep, wake and eat.  This internal clock is regulated by external forces such as sunlight and temperature.  When the circadian rhythm is disrupted, sleeping patterns can be disturbed.  A disrupted circadian rhythm can lead to obesity, depression and increased chances of cardiovascular events. 

Research now shows that melatonin may increase metabolism and improve our ability to lose weight.  Melatonin fights fat in two major ways: it has the ability to assist in turning fat into energy rather than storing it and it improves thermogenic capacity of the mitochondria.  The mitochondria put the calorie burning mechanism into action.  While melatonin alone will not aid in massive weight loss, it is recommended as a complementary weight loss strategy when used with increase in physical activity and a change in poor diet. 

Weight loss aside, melatonin directly helps regulate insulin sensitivity and acts as an anti-inflammatory.  In turn, this can be quite beneficial to those who suffer from diabetes and high cholesterol.  While melatonin has been shown to have many positive outcomes on health and is safe to use in most cases, always check with your physician before starting any new supplement regimen.

Jacqui Prather, RN, BSN Practice Manager

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