Everything you need to know about melatonin |

Can melatonin act as a hormone to help you sleep, but can it also help with exercise and body building? Here you will find how the supplement is used, the forms, the dosage and the side effects.
Melatonin is best known for its role in quality sleep, but it also helps you fall. Melatonin receptors are found in our body. For example, relatively high levels are also found in the gut, not just the pituitary gland, which regulates sleep. So it should come as no surprise that melatonin supplementation can bring more benefits than just helping with trouble sleeping.

What is melatonin?

In humans, melatonin is derived from the essential amino acid tryptophan (an amino acid associated with post-dinner drowsiness). Through a series of reactions, tryptophan is converted to serotonin, which is then used to make melatonin.
Melatonin production is not only in the pineal gland of the brain, but for example the gastrointestinal tract and the skin also form melatonin. For example, your gut has 400 times more melatonin than the pineal gland. The probable explanation is that your pineal gland causes melatonin to act in your body to regulate circadian rhythms, while melatonin production also occurs in other tissues under the conditions of their own unique environment.

What does melatonin do?

The most well-known work of melatonin is to help with sleep and adjust the circadian rhythm – which includes physiological, mental and behavioral events that follow the daily cycle (eg distinguishes between day and night regimens). This makes it a good hormone for people with sleep disorders. In addition, melatonin also works as an antioxidant, body temperature regulator, vasodilator and also contributes to the quality of our hair and skin. Melatonin has been shown to act as a hormone, a cytokine (cellular signal) and a modulator of the biological and nervous systems. It affects almost all systems of the body, including nervous, endocrine, immune, digestive, circulatory, musculoskeletal, reproductive and integral (eg hair and skin).

What are the benefits of melatonin in the world of fitness and strength training?

From an athletic point of view, the role of melatonin as a sleep aid and antioxidant can accelerate recovery from exercise and help you gain more endurance in your training for better long-term benefits. Similarly, the effects of melatonin in the gut may be a key player in fat loss. Here is a better look at the possible benefits of taking melatonin as a dietary supplement.


As anyone with insomnia can tell you, losing sleep can disrupt your life. Melatonin can help you sleep better. This sleep-promoting effect can be welcomed if you have a sleep disorder, or sometimes suffer from severe sleep, or have difficulty falling asleep. Melatonin supplements can reduce the time needed to fall asleep. This sleep-inducing effect can help night owls move their sleep so that they get to bed earlier and start the next day early. When you are an extreme night owl, it can be a symptom of a sleep disorder called delayed sleep syndrome (DSPS). Even if you don’t have insomnia, it is important for you to get enough and good sleep, especially after hard training, after any training. Sleep is important for muscle recovery, it also helps avoid overtraining and maximizes the benefits of training. Without good sleep, your performance and health will certainly decline and your physical activity will begin to decline. Sleep is important for the immune system, so if you lack it, you will also be more prone to illness and injury.


Some people have found that increasing melatonin levels can help with insomnia caused by zonal disease. But while some studies of this hormone have shown that supplementation improves jet lag, other studies have found no effect of melatonin on zonal disease.


One way melatonin can improve low-intensity exercise, such as a long run as well as faster sleep, is to lower your body temperature. This hormone stimulates vasodilation in the superficial tissue of your limbs (eg the skin of your legs and arms), which increases the amount of heat that can be removed from your body and acts as an analgesic (reduces pain). If melatonin can lower nuclear temperature and sensitivity to pain, its supplementation may help with symptoms such as fatigue during exercise in heat.


Melatonin acts as a powerful antioxidant, which means that it can clear harmful free radicals, such as those that are formed during exercise, or during a low-calorie diet or environmental stress and aging. Melatonin is, in fact, extremely active as a critical antioxidant in the mitochondria, the power plants of cells. Melatonin supplementation should help you recover faster after training and also helps to slow down the effects of aging as well as the effects of sun exposure and the effects of other stressors that are bad for your cells. For example, a recent study reported that melatonin supplementation reduces markers of muscle damage and oxidative stress in athletes training for resistance. Another study found that melatonin supplementation reduced DNA damage and increased antioxidant capacity after high-intensity interval training (HIIT). And in obese adults, melatonin has helped not only to lose weight and improve chemical signals associated with weight control, but also to reduce markers of oxidative damage.


As the above study in obese adults suggests, melatonin may help with fat and weight loss. Better sleep also means better regulation of fasting hormones (such as leptin) and metabolism, which are affected by circadian rhythms. Plus, if you’ve ever suffered from insomnia, you know how easy it is to beat something up all night. Good sleep helps avoid this trap. Another explanation may be that melatonin reduces insulin production and release, as reported in many studies. This effect of melatonin may also explain why pre-workout supplementation increased hydrocarbon fuel consumption during a 30-minute endurance load.


Melatonin can help your skin and hair because it is an antioxidant and there are melatonin receptors in the skin and hair follicles. The use of melatonin as a supplement protects these parts from damage by free radicals (eg exposure to the sun, smoking). It can help them stay healthy and moist enough.

What are the side effects of melatonin?

Melatonin is generally considered safe, but drowsiness, dizziness, headache, nausea, decreased alertness, and slowed reaction times are side effects that can occur with a typical dose (3-10 milligrams). A “hangover” or drowsy feeling in the morning after using melatonin as a sleeping aid is also a common but mild side effect. For some, improving insomnia may be worth drowsiness the next day. If you are bothered by these symptoms, stop taking melatonin. Because melatonin seems to lower insulin levels and may increase blood glucose levels, patients with type 2 diabetes should consult their doctor before trying. Also talk to your doctor if you are taking prescription vasoconstrictive medicines (eg if you have a peripheral vascular disorder or PVD), antidepressants or sleep medicines.

Are there any dietary forms of melatonin?

Traces of melatonin are found in almost all plants, vegetables, mushrooms and algae, but some foods and herbal ingredients contain more than others. Pistachios are the highest source of melatonin, providing about 0.25 milligrams per gram of dried nuts. This means that you only need to eat about 25 grams of pistachios to get a potentially effective dose of melatonin. By comparison, walnuts and fresh tomatoes, which are also considered good sources of melatonin, provide only about 0.0000015-0.00002 milligrams of melatonin per gram; dried lentils yield approximately 0.001 milligrams per gram. Stem seeds are also a good source of melatonin with mustard seeds, which have so far supplied the highest concentration – at least four times more than sunflower seeds and more than 10 times that of flaxseed, but still more than 1200 times less as the amount present in pistachios. If you love coffee, roasted and green coffee beans contain between 0.006-0.01 milligrams of melatonin per gram, but the amount present after brewing will reduce the concentration to 100 times less. Caffeine can also cause symptoms such as nervousness and anxiety, which can make your sleep better. So when you need to improve your sleep, definitely don’t drink a lot of coffee. Salmon and dried egg powder are the highest reported concentrations of melatonin in animal-derived foods, but each is only slightly richer in melatonin than walnuts. Cherries can also be a source of melatonin, providing the most melatonin of all fruits, which are still only about 2- to 4-fold the amount present in nuts. Dried cranberries provide up to 0.096 milligrams of melatonin per gram. Interestingly, black rice and other pigmented varieties contain the highest amounts of melatonin in such grains, and non-leptin black rice contains almost twice as much melatonin as those containing gluten.
Melatonin foods
dried cranberries
black rice
mustard seeds
dried egg powder
Some dried medicinal plants are relatively rich in melatonin, such as the leaves of Rimbaba common (Tanacetum parthenium), St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) and Chinese skull (Scutellaria baicalensis) providing up to 0.002-0.007 milligrams of melatonin per gram of dried herb. If you do not get enough of these foods and herbs to increase melatonin levels, consider supplementing it.

How much melatonin should you take, and when?

Although the bioavailability of free melatonin is relatively low (10-56 percent), a dose between 1-5 milligrams, consumed approximately 20 minutes before bedtime, will increase blood levels by 10-100 times the amount we should reach during sleep. The effects will last approximately 4-8 hours. Women appear to have higher bioavailability and a faster return to baseline than men. Experiment with melatonin dosing to get enough to get the sleep you want, but avoid the hangover effect that can happen if you take too much. Start with 1 milligram of melatonin and then increase the dose by 1 milligram per evening until you find the dose that is best for you.

Should you take melatonin with food?

It is not clear whether you should take melatonin on an empty stomach or with food. Because it plays a role in your digestive system, if you take it with food in the form of an intestinal bomb, it could do the work in your gastrointestinal tract instead of helping you sleep. The same thing can happen when you consume melatonin on an empty stomach or after prolonged endurance exercise. This means that it is best used with a healthy snack such as a whey protein shake, a bowl of fresh cherries or a few pistachios.

What other ingredients should you not take with melatonin?

Caffeine can reduce the effectiveness of melatonin and alcohol certainly reduces its ability to help you sleep. One study reported that while one alcoholic beverage did not change, two beverages reduced melatonin by 9 percent, three beverages by 15 percent, and four or more beverages by 17 percent. Both zinc and magnesium can increase the natural synthesis of melatonin from serotonin, but no studies have shown that consuming these supplements with melatonin is much more effective than melatonin treatment alone. However, if you do not have a varied healthy diet and train intensively, then you will probably need supplemental zinc and magnesium to keep testosterone and muscle gains on your path.

Are there any other names for melatonin?

Melatonin is scientifically identified with such catchy names as N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine or 5-methoxy-N-acetyltryptamine, or more formally using one of the systemic names such as acetamide, N- (2- (5-methoxy-) 3-yl) ethyl) – (9C1). Melatonin is abbreviated as MLT or MT.
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