Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in the body and well-known supplement to help improve sleep patterns. Inadequate sleep can interfere with optimal body composition and overall fitness.
The Role of Melatonin
Melatonin is secreted from the pineal gland in the brain and regulates circadian rhythm, the internal body clock running over a 24hr period.
Our circadian rhythms work best when we have regular sleep habits and is sensitive to external cues such as light and darkness. They send a signal to the brain when it gets dark to release melatonin hormone which reaches peak levels during sleep. Melatonin levels drop as it gets lighter, signalling the body to wake up.
As melatonin is the hormone that regulates these circadian rhythms, its important to look at levels when addressing sleep disturbances. Without quality sleep, body composition, energy levels, nutrition and ability to exercise can be adversely affected.
How can it help reduce body fat?
Supplementing with melatonin can have a beneficial effect on body composition and fat oxidation, reducing body fat and increasing lean muscle mass. It can also help to preserve the lean muscle mass in menopausal women.
Melatonin assists in reducing exercise-induced oxidative stress and provide a better environment for muscle protection and growth.
It contains antioxidants and helps maintain body function as we age. Adequate levels of melatonin assist metabolic adaptions from aerobic exercise. It helps increase metabolism, reduce bodyweight and increase insulin sensitivity.
Should you take a melatonin supplement?
Your body may already be producing adequate levels of melatonin to support optimal fitness. Those who suffer from insomnia, jet lag or who do shift work may benefit from using a melatonin supplement.
Its important to talk to you doctor before taking a melatonin supplement to see what will work best for you.