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The mainstream aversion to natural medicine runs deep. The successes of modern medical science are certainly not to be underestimated, but there are many shortcomings and failures as well…

Our medical system is overrun with corruption, and profits are prioritized more highly than real innovation. For this reason (among many others), countless individuals bear the burden of drugs and interventions that often create more problems than they solve—all so that the status quo can be preserved for those who profit richly from it.

And there’s a deeper problem with conventional medicine too: it creates more problems than is solves. Antibiotics, the poster child of allopathic medicine, are breeding antibiotic-resistant super-bacteria, chemotherapy kills more healthy cells than cancer cells, antidepressants completely miss the point of what actually causes depression…and so on.

All of this amounts to a simple and unfortunate truth: many pharmaceuticals just aren’t particularly effective, and even when they are, their usage causes a dizzying array of side effects.

Natural substances are simply more sophisticated healing tools, and they carry out their healing without damaging side effects.

Recent research on migraine prevention highlights this concept perfectly.

Melatonin vs. migraine drugs

Despite the desperate and debilitating nature of migraine (its ranked as the eighth most disabling illness in the world), conventional medicine has yet to develop an effective solution for this neurological condition, which is the third most prevalent illness in the world.[1]

The leading migraine pharmaceutical, amitriptyline, is far from perfect—it’s notoriously inconsistent in its ability to prevent the onset of migraine headaches, and it carries a huge list of side effects.

These side effects—some of which can be as debilitating as migraines—include confusion and disorientation, hallucinations, dizziness and lightheadedness, erratic thoughts and behaviors, seizures, racing heartbeat, nausea, chest pain radiating down the arms and into the head, painful urination, severe constipation, sudden weakness or feelings of illness (complete with fever, chills, sore throat, mouth sores, swollen gums, and even trouble swallowing), blackened mouth and tongue, itchiness and rashes, changes in weight or appetite, breast swelling in both genders, decreased libido or impotence, and even more worrying symptoms.[2]

Doesn’t this sound much more like the effects of a poison than those of a medicine?

Luckily, researchers have discovered that melatonin, a natural chemical produced within the brain, is more effective than amitriptyline for preventing migraines—and it does so with zero side effects.

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study (the gold standard of rigorous medical research), researchers pitted 25 mg of amitriptyline against 3 mg of melatonin. Despite the drastically smaller dosage of melatonin, it outperformed amitriptyline, particularly “in the percentage of patients with a greater than 50% reduction in migraine frequency.”[3]

The researchers also reported that melatonin was “more tolerable” than amitriptyline—a diplomatic way of noting that patients given melatonin weren’t made to endure the litany of side effects brought on by Big Pharma’s solution to migraines.

Why you need more melatonin in your life

This study is a huge win for natural medicine.

Advocates of conventional medicine would like us to continue believing that “natural remedies just don’t work—the side effects that sometimes accompany the usage of pharmaceuticals are a small price to pay for their effectiveness.” But data like this demonstrates that all the doubting and demeaning of natural medicine just isn’t based in fact.

Sure, the natural health world is full of snake oil salesmen and products that don’t deliver what they claim—but the fact remains that Nature has provided us with an abundance of natural medicines that perform on par with pharmaceuticals without any deleterious side effects.

And melatonin in particular is good for more than just migraines (though, if you suffer from migraines, this single benefit is surely enough to make it feel like a godsend). As we discussed in another article, melatonin also balances circadian rhythms and helps you to go to sleep and stay asleep, calms chronic inflammation, boosts the immune system, and is one of the most powerful brain antioxidants known to man.

How to Optimize Your Melatonin Levels

  1. Avoid watching TV or using your computer in the evening, at least an hour or so before going to bed. These devices emit blue light, which tricks your brain into thinking it’s still daytime. Normally your brain starts secreting melatonin between 9 and 10 pm, and these devices emit light that may stifle that process.
  2. Make sure you get BRIGHT sun exposure regularly. Your pineal gland produces melatonin roughly in approximation to the contrast of bright sun exposure in the day and complete darkness at night. If you are in darkness all day long, it can’t appreciate he difference and will not optimize your melatonin production.
  3. Sleep in complete darkness, or as close to it as possible. Even the slightest bit of light in your bedroom can disrupt your biological clock and your pineal gland’s melatonin production. Even the tiniest glow from your clock radio could be interfering with your sleep, so cover your radio up at night or get rid of it altogether. Move all electrical devices at least three feet away from your bed. You may want to cover your windows with drapes or blackout shades.
  4. Install a low-wattage yellow, orange or red light bulb if you need a source of light for navigation at night. Light inthese bandwidths does not shut down melatonin production in the way that white and blue bandwidth light does. Salt lamps are handy for this purpose.
  5. Keep the temperature in your bedroom no higher than 70 degrees F. Many people keep their homes too warm (particularly their upstairs bedrooms).
  6. Take a hot bath 90 to 120 minutes before bedtime. This increases your core body temperature, and when you get out of the bath it abruptly drops, signaling your body that you are ready to sleep.
  7. Get some sun in the morning, if possible. Your circadian system needs bright light to reset itself. Ten to 15 minutes of morning sunlight will send a strong message to your internal clock that day has arrived, making it less likely to be confused by weaker light signals during the night. More sunlight exposure is required as you age.
  8. Be mindful of electromagnetic fields in your bedroom. EMFs can disrupt your pineal gland and its melatonin production, and may have other negative biological effects as well.

Should You Supplement with Melatonin?

Supplementation may be beneficial but it is BETTER to optimize your body’s own melatonin production!  This way you will get the “perfect” melatonin dosage for you, because your body will produce just the right dose!

If you do need to supplement,  keep in mind that only a very small dose is required — typically 0.25mg or 0.5mg to start with, and you can adjust it up from there. Taking higher doses, such as 3 mg, can sometimes make you more wakeful instead of sleepier, so adjust your dose carefully.

Do THIS 1-hr before bed to get PERFECT sleep & balance your hormones (Cuts your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc)


References

[1] https://migraineresearchfoundation.org/about-migraine/migraine-facts/

[2] http://www.drugs.com/amitriptyline.html

[3] http://jnnp.bmj.com/content/early/2016/05/10/jnnp-2016-313458.long

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melatonin-benefits

If you’ve ever suffered from insomnia, chances are someone recommended melatonin as a remedy. This makes good sense, as melatonin works wonders when you need a little help resetting a jet-lagged schedule or turning off your overactive brain at bedtime.

In fact, melatonin plays a central and indispensable role in your body’s entire “sleep system.” It’s produced and secreted by the pineal gland, which acts as a sort of “master control system” for the body’s regulation and detoxification processes. Melatonin, through its own action and by regulating the levels of other hormones, helps maintain the body’s circadian rhythm (your body’s internal clock that dictates when you sleep and when you wake up).

It’s a pretty ingenious setup: as the sun begins to set and your body is exposed to a lesser degree of light, your pineal gland is “turned on” by an area of the brain called the superchiasmatic nucleus (SCN) and begins to produce more and more melatonin. Increased levels of melatonin create a complex hormone cascade that tells your whole body that it’s time to start preparing for sleep. As long as everything is working properly, your melatonin levels remain elevated throughout the night until about 9am, by which time your hormonal state has shifted into “wakefulness” mode.

Much more than just a sleep aid

So, it should be apparent from this brief description that melatonin is much more than a sedative. Rather than having a simple and direct relaxation effect (like central nervous system depressants, some GABA agonists, or other substances that cause sedation), melatonin regulates a complicated system of hormonal processes throughout the body that end up promoting restfulness in a holistic, systems-oriented way.

For this reason, it should come as no surprise that melatonin has lots of other powerful health benefits besides being sleep-supporting. Because it’s been pigeon-holed as a sleep aid for so long, it remains an incredibly underrated substance.

Let’s take a look at some of melatonin’s other talents…

It’s one of the most powerful known brain antioxidants. The human body is almost incomprehensibly intelligent. Not only does melatonin coax the body into its sleep state; it also actively detoxes and rejuvenates the brain and body while you sleep.

Through its nightly antioxidant action, melatonin slows down brain aging, prevents cognitive decline, and even helps prevent Alzheimer’s and other brain disorders (cognitive degeneration has been strongly linked with chronically low levels of melatonin).

It’s strongly anti-inflammatory. Melatonin delivers a powerful 1-2 punch by quelling acute and systemic inflammation in the body while scavenging free radicals. And because inflammation is rightfully referred to as the root of all disease, melatonin protects against many of the leading causes of death, including heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.[1]

It boosts the immune system and prevents disease. All the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action generated by melatonin leads to a natural and dramatic boost in immune function. Perhaps this is why healthy levels of melatonin are correlated with decreased incidence of general infection and illness, as well as a 30-60% decreased risk of developing certain types of cancer.[2]

The takeaway (and how to optimize your melatonin levels)

Inflammation, oxidative stress, and hormonal imbalance are arguably three of the greatest contributors to disease and lack of well-being—and as discussed above, melatonin powerfully combats all three of them. So whether or not you routinely have trouble sleeping, working to keep your melatonin levels healthy and happy is always a good idea.

If you do suffer from insomnia or otherwise feel that your melatonin levels may be sub-optimal, there’s plenty of helpful measures you can take.

First off, it’s always better to support your body’s natural production of melatonin, rather than supplementing with it (taking melatonin supplements for too long can actually make your body dependent on it).

Try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule and normal circadian rhythm (sleep at night, wakefulness during the day), and avoid bright, blue light after sunset, which tricks your body into thinking that it’s still daytime (and thus suppresses melatonin production). This means that you should minimize your use of electronic devices after dark, or use applications like f.lux, which automatically adjusts the light frequencies of your devices to the red end of the spectrum as the sun goes down (I use it on every one of my devices, and it really is a game changer).

Ensuring that you’re not vitamin and mineral deficient (especially in B vitamins, magnesium, and potassium) will also help your body keep its melatonin production up to snuff—you can get these nutrients either through supplementation or by eating foods like bananas, oats, turkey, chicken, coconut oil, leafy greens, tomatoes, cherries, and walnuts.

Lastly, research has shown that daily moderate exercise helps maintain healthy melatonin production. And healthy melatonin levels improve physical performance,[3] so it’s a virtuous cycle!

If you do feel that supplementing with melatonin is necessary for you, try to use plant-based melatonin products, which are easier for your body to process and don’t cause dependency as quickly (still, you should never take melatonin for more than three consecutive nights, especially if you’re taking 3 milligrams or more per night).

By following these simple guidelines, you can reap all of melatonin’s many underrated health benefits.

Speaking of getting both MORE sleep, and better QUALITY sleep (we’re
talking blissful sleep where you wake up refreshed and feeling amazing every day), you have to read this:

Do THIS 1-hr before bed to get PERFECT sleep & balance your hormones (Cuts your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc)



[1]
http://www.thealternativedaily.com/how-to-increase-melatonin-production/References

[2] Ibid.

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12959621

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