Melatonin is a very popular supplement that is used to reduce the effects of jet lag and treat insomnia. It can help with the symptoms of jet lag like exhaustion, fatigue, headache, anxiety and even depression. Melatonin is available in liquid form and also in the form of tablets and pills. So what you need to know is whether or not it is effective in treating insomnia and jet lag. Most people don’t know that melatonin is actually a hormone, which is produced by a gland in the human brain called pineal. It is also known as the darkness hormone and is found in a few edible plants as well. Melatonin is the opposite of vitamin D which is called the sunshine hormone.
Melatonin has an effect on the internal clock of our body and so it is majorly used to induce sleep. Some sleeping pills also work on the principle of melatonin to induce artificial sleep. There has been a lot of research related to melatonin on animals and isolated cells. The results of that research indicated that melatonin also has immunological, inflammatory, antioxidant and some anti-cancer effects. The production of melatonin level decreases with the age of the person and research has shown that most of the age related issues like insomnia and cognitive loss are a result of the low production of melatonin.
While the manufacturers claim that their supplement can increase the production of melatonin and minimize the effects of aging but it is not a confirmed thing because according to research melatonin is only proven to minimize the effects of jet lag and the use of melatonin is only recommended for a short period of time especially to adults who have to travel to a different time zone. Extensive research and experiments on animals have indicated that if increased levels of melatonin are exposed to bright light then it can increase the risk of cancer. So this means that a flight attendant who works late at night and takes melatonin supplement may have a greater chance of getting cancer. But this theory still needs more research but at the same time there is also no proof that supplements of melatonin can prevent cancer as claimed by many manufacturers.
You also need to know that long term use of melatonin can stop the natural production of this hormone and that is why some countries have restricted the use of melatonin because hormonal changes even when they are very small can bring unwanted results. Many adverse effects of melatonin have also been reported such as dizziness, sleep walking and even a decreased quantity of sperms in males. This shows that melatonin can affect the hormones of the body very badly so it is recommended that children and women who are pregnant and lactating should avoid taking melatonin supplements.
It is always wise to consult a doctor before using it and take it only for a short time if you experience jet lag and not think of it as a treatment for cancer.