Can Melatonin Help with Jet Lag?

Melatonin is a well-known dietary supplement that was said to quell jet lag and treat insomnia. It has also been known to help with other things also such as anxiety, fatigue, headaches, tinnitus, dementia, depression, bowel issues and even help keep your skin healthy from the UV rays of the sun. The wonder drug even has been said to help with cancer and heart disease, many different aging signs and symptoms of menopause. Companies have picked up on the hype and have come out with Dream Water and iChill that was developed to help with relaxation. If anything is said to help with all of these ailments is probably something that is too good to be true.

Melatonin: Hormone Released in the Dark

Can Melatonin Help with Jet Lag?The Pineal gland is responsible for producing the melatonin hormone. Some plants that are edible also produce this hormone. It is discharged in the dark which is why they call it a “darkness hormone” which is contrary to vitamin D which is known as the “sunshine hormone”. Melatonin is blocked from being released during the day by light. Circadian rhythms are affected by melatonin and have always been utilized as a sleep aid. There is even a prescription drug called Rozerem that operates the same way as melatonin.
Recent studies have shown in lab animals that is hormone has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-cancer and immunological effects. Just because it works on lab animals doesn’t necessarily mean it may extend to living human beings.

Melatonin Production is Affected by Aging

As we age, melatonin production begins to decline. Some scientists have advocated that come changes in our body because of age may have some connection with a decrease in melatonin. Many money-making companies use the same pretense that melatonin is needed since it is decreasing as we age just like drug replacement estrogen therapy but this hasn’t been proven. There are many different compounds that decline as we get older but that doesn’t necessarily mean if they get replaced we will feel better.

Some of the Melatonin effects are well supported

Can Melatonin Help with Jet Lag?Cochrane Collaboration, in 2009, concluded that taking melatonin as a supplement can reduce or prevent jet lag. Some of the studies performed didn’t perform the same positive results. The supplement does seem to be safe if used for a short period of time and is recommended for use by adults that are travelling through five time zones or more and preferably towards the east. Natural Standards is a company that analyses alternative treatments also found convincing evidence of using melatonin as suggested. It has also found evidence for treatment in elderly patients for insomnia as well as helping healthy people sleep. There is inconclusive evidence that melatonin helps in any other capacity suggested.

What effects does Melatonin have on sleep?

• Melatonin may produce drowsiness or a “hangover” like effect the following day which may prove dangerous if you operate heavy machinery or are driving.

• There is no definite dosage recommendation for melatonin. It is different with every person so it has to be tried on an individual basis to see what amount works best for them.

• You can get melatonin in bananas, rice, grapes and cherries but there is no evidence as to how much has to be eaten to get any kind of beneficial effect.

Prior to Taking Melatonin

• Use only occasionally when needed for insomnia or jet lag

• Consult your physician if you experience chronic insomnia

• Do not use this supplement for any reason other than matters relating to sleep