Volume 3, Issue 21
June 3, 2010
Is your fatigue and weight
gain due to low levels
of this hormone?
In last week's health alert, I showed you why women who are going through menopause - or have gone through menopause must take melatonin. But this anti-aging hormone isn't just for women. Men need it too.
I told you last week about a study where researchers found just how powerful melatonin is for women. In that study, the researchers wanted to know if low melatonin levels affect your thyroid hormone levels. Lower thyroid levels lead to increased weight gain and decreased energy levels. They also result in high cholesterol and a shorter life span. All of these symptoms are very common in the over-50 crowd. That's why these researchers checked to see if supplementing with melatonin had any effect on thyroid hormone production.
They looked specifically at the thyroid hormones T3 and T4. They discovered an amazing finding. Every single one of the women who had lowered levels of melatonin at the beginning of the study showed a significant increase in levels of both thyroid hormones after taking melatonin.
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The authors concluded that the overall findings indicated that the lowered levels of melatonin that happen with age signal the breakdown of the way the brain controls the ovaries and the thyroid gland. This is also likely to be true of many if not all of the other hormones that decline with aging. And I love their parting statement, "These findings seem to show a recovery of pituitary and thyroid functions in melatonin-treated women, towards a more youthful pattern of regulation."
So here's what I do myself, and recommend all of my patients to do — even the men.
Beginning at the age of 45, start taking 3 mg of melatonin every night before you go to bed. Then, if you have to get up in the night, don't turn on the lights. Instead, set up a small red LED to light the way to the bathroom.
That's because melatonin release completely stops as soon as your eyes receive light. And one last thing.
Some people will have side effects when taking melatonin. Nothing serious, but about 1 in 20 people will have disturbed sleep and/or will feel groggy the next morning. If you have these symptoms, try cutting the dose back. If you cut the dose all the way back to 1/2 mg and still have the symptoms, I take that to mean that your body is already making all the melatonin you need. You can stop taking it.
Finding your Real Cures,
Frank Shallenberger, MD
Bellipanni G., Bianchi P., Pierpaoli W., Bulian D., Ilyia E. Effects of melatonin in perimenopausal and menopausal women: a randomized and placebo controlled study. Exp Gerontol 2001 Feb;36(2):297-310.
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