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Melatonin is often referred to as the sleep hormone, but we should talk about its other attributes as well.

As far as a sleep aid, not everyone does well with taking melatonin. Some people report great results, but others, not so much. I can think of two reasons: One is that when it comes to sleep, people just don’t seem to respond the same to any remedy. The other is that some folks may be taking too much.

Most people should take 1 to 6 mg of melatonin as a sleep aid. More than this can actually interfere with natural sleep. Some references state that any more than 1 mg is too much, but more recently in 2019, the thinking is that 3 to 6 mg is closer to the upper limit. We are working on a formula we call Sleep N which contains 3 mg in two caps. I personally have been experimenting with 3 caps for 4.5 mg of melatonin (along with other sleepy herbs and amino acids) with good results. This is consistent with a possible need for increased melatonin in older adults. Some research indicates this 6 mg dose can be safe and effective for these older adults. So there you go with your variability. You will have to experiment to see what works best for you. Watch and our brand BetterGenix for the introduction of our Sleep N product. Our BetterGenix Better Sleep P is now available as one of our online health supplement products, however.

Melatonin is readily synthesized (made from) the neurotransmitter serotonin. One key way to make sure you are getting enough melatonin is to keep your serotonin levels up to snuff. This assumes that you don’t have problems converting serotonin to melatonin. We often recommend products like NeuroScience TravaCor. If you are having problems with anxiety, depression, and/or insomnia, you are probably low in serotonin and some supplementation is in order.  You will sometimes see 5-HTP as an ingredient. 5-HTP is converted into serotonin that can be used or converted to melatonin.

A few more facts about melatonin are worth mentioning: Melatonin has immune properties and can help with jet lag.

Jet lag and melatonin has been studied with results published in peer reviewed journals. The recommendation has been summarized as 5 mg seems to be a common dose and should be taken at bedtime in the new time zone. Time-released versions seem to be less effective. It seems the body wants the rapid increase that comes from a non-time release supplement. People on epilepsy and blood thinner meds need to use caution, as melatonin can interfere with some of these meds.

Some research indicates that melatonin can be an effective breast and prostate cancer prevention agent and also can help with cancer treatment. In one study, just adding melatonin increased the survival rate by a factor of 2. That is, the control group had twice as many people surviving their cancers as those who didn’t take melatonin. Melatonin also seems to calm some of the effects of chemotherapy. More study is needed, but it seems hard to lose in the cancer arena by taking modest amounts of melatonin on a daily basis. Watch for a blog discussing this important topic in more detail.

Deficient levels of melatonin have also been implicated in aging. Also linked to this is the melatonin rhythm, meaning that melatonin should be peaking in mid sleep hours. Lack of ability to control the timing of the melatonin levels seems to contribute to accelerated aging. If you have any trouble sleeping, proper synthesis of melatonin could be a contributor and this could directly affect your aging process.

Much has been written about melatonin and the immune system. This topic gets complex quickly, but to keep it as simple as possible, melatonin appears to have important regulatory effects on several aspects of the immune system. As just mentioned, melatonin can have profound effects on the prevention and treatment of some cancers.

Melatonin can be measured, but some sources say this is problematic due to the tiny concentrations in the blood and saliva. It is probably sufficient to do some self-diagnosis to determine if some melatonin supplementation is for you.

Don’t be put off by synthetic melatonin by the way. Melatonin that is readily made in the lab is chemically identical to natural forms.

Even if you don’t need melatonin to sleep, you may need some for some of these other immune, prevention, anti-aging, and jet lag reasons.

For standalone melatonin, the online health supplement that we recommend is NuMedica 3 mg Melatonin Lozenges or NuMedica 2 oz. Melatonin Liquid.