(NaturalNews) Melatonin is a powerful natural hormone that is well known for its association with circadian rhythms that promote a healthful sleep cycle. Researchers from the University of Granada reporting in the Journal of Pineal Research have found that melatonin helps to control unnatural weight gain without reducing the intake of food. The hormone was shown to improve blood lipid profiles, to lower triglycerides and oxidized LDL cholesterol and to boost health-promoting HDL cholesterol. Found naturally in certain fruits and vegetables, small quantities are shown to provide a powerful array of health benefits and to promote deep sleep that is so critical to systemic repair functions throughout the body.
Melatonin is a natural hormone normally secreted by the pineal gland at night time to encourage sleep. Circulating levels trail off during the early morning hours to help us awaken. The importance of 7 to 9 hours of restful sleep is paramount to cellular repair and maintenance functions that promote vibrant health. New research demonstrates that melatonin exerts control over metabolic functions that determine fat accumulation, obesity and lipids and helps prevent cardiovascular disease.
Researchers broke test subjects into three groups where one cohort was supplemented with melatonin. They found that the melatonin supplemented group experienced a significant reduction in body weight with no difference in calories consumed as compared with the non-supplemented subjects. Additionally, they determined that melatonin helped to lower systolic blood pressure and provided a significant improvement in dyslipidemia and hypertriglyceridemia. Improvements in blood lipid ratios and in lowering of circulating triglycerides are critical to reducing the overall risk of heart disease.
Melatonin is naturally found in some fruits and vegetables including mustard, Goji berries, almonds, sunflower seeds, cardamom, fennel, coriander and cherries. The researchers publishing the result of this study believe this is the first proof that melatonin can act as a critical hormonal agent in the fight against cardiovascular disease and lipid dysfunction. They did note that the protective effect of melatonin was more pronounced in younger subjects in this study prompting dietary intervention or supplementation at an earlier age to yield maximum health benefits.
The study authors concluded "administration of melatonin and intake of food containing melatonin might be a useful tool to fight obesity and the risks associated to it." In addition to natural food sources, many health-minded individuals will want to supplement with 1 to 3 mg of melatonin each night, taken 30 minutes before retiring, to promote sound sleep, avoid unnecessary weight gain and ward off the damaging effects of oxidized blood fats that promote heart disease.