Found within the human body, melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone produced by the pineal gland, a small gland in the brain. In the human body, it’s mostly known for helping us manage the sleep and wake cycles and the internal body clock we all rely upon.
But more and more, it’s being used as a supplement. In particular, it has benefits for people over 50 years old that shouldn’t be ignored.
Here’s why it’s seriously worth considering whether or not you could see real change thanks to melatonin supplements.
As We Age, We are More Susceptible to Sleep Disorders
Melatonin is primarily used to help us regain a healthy night’s sleep.
As we get older, sleep patterns and habits tend to shift, which can lead to lower quality sleep, shorter sleep, frequently waking up, and trouble falling asleep, to begin with.
This is due not only to an increased risk of things like insomnia and sleep apnea but the sleepless side effects of conditions like arthritis and cardiovascular disease which people over 50 are more prone to.
Melatonin has proven to be an effective treatment in helping us regain that natural sleeping pattern.
The Risk of Hyperthyroidism
Women over 60 are the largest at-risk group when it comes to hyperthyroidism, a hormonal condition that can lead to a lot of nasty symptoms.
These include a higher risk of obesity due to weight gain alongside the joint pain and heart disease that come with weight gain.
Recent research has shown that as little as 3mg of melatonin for six months, when given to premenopausal and menopausal women, can drastically improve thyroid function.
Mind Your Head
The same study, done by researchers at the Menopausal Center in Italy, also showed a significant improvement in mood and the reduction of symptoms related to depression.
There is a growing trend of depression and other mood disorders in people over fifty that the medical community is just starting to become more aware of.
Another aspect of mental health we should all be aware of is the risk of conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. These are conditions that primarily affect those in later life, but melatonin may show some promise in helping fight against them as well.
Many of these neurodegenerative diseases have been linked to oxidative damage to the brain, which melatonin can help prevent by protecting the blood-brain barrier.
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The Heart of the Matter
As mentioned, people over 50 are at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, which remains our society’s largest silent killer.
Melatonin has significant antioxidant properties which, amongst other effects, has been shown to protect against heart muscle injury, which can limit the damage caused by heart attacks and improving recovery after them as well.
What’s more, this antioxidant effect has been shown to help balance the levels of cholesterol, reducing your risk of suffering a heart attack in the first place.
Fight Against Cancer
Cancer remains one of the most significant health issues in our time, with as many as 1 in 2 likely to be affected by it at some point in their life.
Thanks to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and hormone balancing properties, melatonin is even being considered as a potential treatment and preventative measure against cancer.
It has been observed in several tests as interfering with cancer cell multiplication and growth, as well as speeding up cancer cell death.
For instance, in some studies, it has been shown to increase partial or full remission by 50%, increased one-year survival rate by 45% and reduced the usual side effects of conventional therapies such as low platelet count in the blood by 89%.
The Risk of Diabetes
Diabetes is a growing concern, especially amongst older people, with over 100 million people in the US alone being diabetic or pre-diabetic.
Adults between 45 and 64 are at the highest risk of developing diabetes, too.
Low melatonin levels are considered a risk factor for diabetes, due to how melatonin interacts with different tissues, such as the pancreas which plays a vital role in insulin production.
The Signs of Aging
Though it has not explicitly been proven as far as humans are concerned, melatonin supplements have been shown to delay the signs of aging in smaller mammals in lab tests.
There is a high chance that melatonin could also help us feel and look younger for longer.
Melatonin has a huge variety of positive effects for peoples of all ages.
However, the points above show that those over 50 could benefit from it a lot more than most. Make sure to check with your doctor before taking any supplement, as melatonin is not suitable for all patients.