Endocrinology experts explain that sleep plays an important role in weight loss. However, it is not possible to state that the use of melatonin itself helps to lose weight. What happens is that during quality sleep, the body regulates the hormones related to satiety (ghrelin and leptin). When one sleeps little or has poor quality sleep, these hormones also act in a worse way, causing the person to eat more until they are satisfied. That is, those who sleep better can control their weight more efficiently, and melatonin can be combined in this process. However, factors such as a balanced diet and physical activity are also determinants in weight loss, as much or more than a good night's sleep.
Benefits of melatonin in study
In addition to its sleep benefits, researchers have looked at other health uses of melatonin. Here are some lines of research: Migraine treatment Recent studies, some done here in Brazil, show the uses of melatonin in the treatment of some specific types of migraine. It has been studied for cases in which patients do not respond to common treatments, which include the use of painkillers, among other therapies. But it is not yet known what effect it can have in these cases, nor has a protocol for its use been established. Improved response to chemotherapy Some studies in mice have shown that melatonin can help increase the effectiveness of cancer treatments using chemotherapy. Studies are still being done in humans, but it is not yet known whether this hormone will act in the same way. Cancer prevention Some scholars go further and believe that melatonin can influence the prevention of some types of cancer. There are biological arguments for this since one of the body's processes during sleep is precisely to regulate the mechanism that controls whether the new cells created by the body are functioning as they should, preventing the appearance of tumors. But tests on humans are still being done and it takes a few years to reach a more concrete conclusion. Treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome Melatonin influences the action of several hormones in the body, including some related to polycystic ovary syndromes, such as insulin and estradiol. Therefore, this interconnection can bring benefits to the treatment and current research is more focused for now on understanding how melatonin can impact these hormones, and then understanding how to use it in these cases. Alleviating colic in babies Some studies have shown that serotonin and melatonin have important roles in the intestine: while the first causes a contraction in the walls of this organ, the second helps in relaxation. As babies have an immature pineal gland, which still does not produce melatonin, experts are studying whether supplementation with a drop of melatonin would help in these cases, but there are still no conclusions, let alone protocols for treating colic in this way.
Recent studies have shown that melatonin in topical use can help to combat early androgenetic alopecia. Apparently, this substance seems to improve the multiplication of germ cells in the hair bulb, stimulating hair growth. In addition, it seems to improve oxidative stress, which could favor the performance of DHT (dihydrotestosterone), one of the causes of this type of alopecia. Today, these manipulated products are already released and are sold in Brazil. A 2012 Italian study of 35 men demonstrated this effect. Published in the International Journal of Trichology, the research asked volunteers, aged between 18 and 40 years and with androgenetic alopecia to use the capillary solution with melatonin once a day for 6 months. After the period, it was found that there was an increase in the capillary count (29.2% after three months and 42.7% after six months) and capillary density (an increase of 29.1% in three months and 40.9% in six months).
How to consume
Melatonin is sold abroad in doses of up to 10 milligrams. Usually, when it is indicated for sleep problems, doctors advise to consume up to 3 mg a day, between one and two hours before bed. When we talk about children, there is no dosage currently considered safe, and the ideal is not to offer this hormonal supplement to them.
Care when consuming melatonin
There are no risks in the consumption of melatonin, just the normal danger to anyone who is allergic to any compound in the capsule or allergy to the substance itself. Other than that, the substance is safe. Excessive consumption can cause problems, but consuming up to 10 mg a day does not cause complications. Among the side effects already observed in the consumption of high doses are headache and changes in the production of some hormones, such as prolactin. In addition, some patients report a greater production of dreams when they take the supplement. Children may experience an increase in nightmares at night.
Contraindications for melatonin
Synthetic melatonin is contraindicated for people with a history of angina and heart attack. Endocrinologist Andressa Heimbecher (CRM-SP 123579), a doctoral student in endocrinology at the University of São Paulo Dermatopathologist Patrícia Cruz, Master from the University of Porto (Portugal) and Master in Trichology from the University of Catania (Italy) Pharmacist Luisa Saldanha, director of the Pharmapele handling pharmacy chain A study published in "Genes and Cancer" by researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) also indicates that melatonin, a sleep-regulating hormone produced by the brain, can suppress the growth of cancerous tumors in the breast. According to David Arnosti, co-author of the study, what makes this work so special is the understanding of the behavior of genes in their natural environment and how they interact through disease.