Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Use of melatonin

The Use of Melatonin

We live in a world where 10% of the adult population suffers from chronic insomnia which affects people’s psychomotor performance, causes sleepiness, accidents, and memory impairment. Shift workers are also in this situation where they cannot sleep during normal hours and these are usually hospital and airport workers to name a few. So what else happens when you have continuously loss of sleep? Well in 2001, a study has found that increased exposure to light has an increased risk of breast cancer (1). This is due to the fact that with light exposure there is a decreased melatonin production in the pineal gland. Melatonin is our natural sleep hormone but it also is an antioxidant (2). So how do you minimize disruptions to our natural circadian rhythms (sleep patterns)?

 A study in 1993 showed that melatonin supplementation helped improved sleep and alertness (5). In addition, another study conducted in 1997, also showed benefits for jet lag and shift work (6). another easy way to increase melatonin is making sure your room is pitch black.

Although the safety of melatonin has been researched, it would be in your best interest to consult your physician or doctor before attempting any drugs or supplements as reactions can occur with any medication.

By Dr. Kin Leung, B.Sc., N.D., CCT, CPCC
your Airdrie naturopath

Dr. Kin Leung, B.Sc., N.D., CCT, CPCC
Naturopathic Fundamentals Wellness Clinic
191 Edwards Way SW, Unit 103
Airdrie, AB
T4E 3E2
(587) 360-1100

1) Scott Davis, et al. Night Shift Work, Light at Night, and Risk of Breast Cancer. JNCI J Natl Cancer Inst (2001) 93 (20): 1557-1562.
2) Dun-Xian Tan, et al. Melatonin: a hormone, a tissue factor, an autocoid, a paracoid, and an antioxidant vitamin. Journal of Pineal research, Volume 34, Issue 1, pages 75–78, January 2003.
3)T.Roth. Insomnia: Epidemiology, characteristics, and consequences. Clinical Cornerstone, Volume 5, Issue 3, Pages 5-15.
4)Josephine Arendt, et al. Safety of Melatonin in Long-Term Use(?). J Biol Rhythms December 1997 vol. 12 no. 6 673-681.
5) Simon Folkard. Can Melatonin Improve Shift Workers' Tolerance of the Night Shift? Some Preliminary Findings. Chronobiology International 1993, Vol. 10, No. 5 , Pages 315-320
6) Josephine