Benefits of Consuming Melatonin Through Diet
Through this blog we have tried to highlight benefits of consuming melatonin through diet, but before delving into details it’s important to know what is melatonin and how is it beneficial for us.
Melatonin, is a hormone which is synthesized by the gastrointestinal tract and pineal gland in the brain. This molecule is responsible for sustaining many life determining functions such as
- Regularizing sleep-wake cycle
- Preventing the damage of DNA inflicted by carcinogens.
- Boosting immune system
- Preventing ischemic damage
Our body produces this hormone in very trivial amounts, so it is mostly supplemented from outside. Over the years the Americans came up with some very interesting dietary melatonin supplements. There has been huge hoopla about the authenticity of these dietary melatonin supplements; some studies have strongly indicated that these artificial melatonin diets may be harmful to the body. But the scientists working on The Spanish Ageing Research Network concluded that regular consumption of diets rich in melatonin delays the process of ageing. The Scientists concluded that naturally occurring melatonin supplements were found to “delay the oxidation damage and inflammatory processes such as old age”.
Melatonin is found in trivial amounts in some vegetables and fruits such as bananas, onions, cherries and in grains like rice, corn, oats, and in herbs such as lemon verbena, thyme and sage and red wine. The Spanish Ageing Research Network is being supported and funded by Carlos III Health Institute and lead by Professor Dario Acuna Castroviejo, from the University of Granada. The scientists from Spanish Universities of Oviedo, Seville, Barcelona, Saragossa, and Reus – are also part of this study concentrating on the anti-aging properties of melatonin.
The normal and genetically modified mice with increased cell aging were analyzed. The scientists concluded that "that the first signs of ageing in animal tissues start at the age of five months [in mice] , equivalent to 30 human years of age " mainly because of oxidation, which causes inflammatory reactions. The scientist’s effects of dietary melatonin supplements on the mice. It is observed that these dietary melatonin supplements equipped the mice to counteract the oxidative stress and delay the aging process. The scientists at University of Granada worked and analyzed the mitochondrial function in mice and harnessed their mitochondrial capacity to produce ATP - Adenosine Triphosphate. Professor Acuna Castroviejo said that – when the dietary melatonin supplements were administered to mice (who have stopped producing melatonin) they could counteract aging process. Relying on these study results scientists concluded that daily intake of melatonin in humans between the ages of 30 to 40 helps in counteracting illnesses related to aging and other neurodegenerative disorders and complications related to illnesses such as diabetes, blood pressure, etc.
The researchers are hoping that Spanish government will soon legalize this hormone as the substance naturally produced by the human body, so that it cannot be patented for misuse. In the meanwhile they suggest that humans should increase their melatonin consumption through food.
Image Courtesy: melatonin-info.co.uk