Studies conducted by researchers of the University of Granada have shown that melatonin, a natural hormone produced in the brains’ pineal gland, could help control weight gain, possibly without reducing the amount of food a person consumes regularly. The study found that the group of subjects who were supplemented with melatonin, experienced a significant reduction in body weight with the same amount of calories consumed, compared with the non-supplemented subjects.
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 small quantities of some fruits and vegetables such as mustard, sunflower seeds and coriander, Melatonin is shown to provide a powerful variety of health benefits such as preventing heart disease (a condition which is known to be associated with obesity), lowering blood pressure and dyslipidemia. It is also known to promote deep sleep which is vital to cellular repair and maintenance of bodily functions. In the study, younger subjects responded more effectively to melatonin suggesting that dietary supplementation of the hormone should be introduced at a earlier age in order to produce maximum health benefits.
According to DC Tan et al, authors of the publication entitled, ‘Significance and application of melatonin in the regulation of brown adipose tissue metabolism: relation to human obesity,’ A worldwide increase in the incidence of obesity and the health problems which are linked to it, require urgent effective strategies to be implemented. After discovering that a substantial amount of functional brown adipose tissue (BAT) is present in adults, it provides a potential breakthrough for the treatment of obesity in humans. Melatonin, which occurs naturally in the body and is reported to have no toxicity, may serve as this new approach to tackling obesity.
Study Shows Artificial Light Before Bedtime May Reduce Melatonin Production
There have also been studies conducted by Joshua Gooley PhD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, on 116 healthy individuals between the age of 18 to 30 which examined the correlation between artificial light before going to bed and the affect it may have on the quality of sleep that a person has. The results found that, exposure to artificial light before bedtime suppresses the production of melatonin which may reduce sleep quality as well as have other negative health implications.
Melatonin is has also been shown to lower blood pressure and body temperature. “On a daily basis, millions of people choose to keep lights on prior to bedtime and during the usual hours of sleep,” Gooley says in a news release. “Our study shows that this exposure to indoor light has a strong suppressive effect on the hormone melatonin. This could, in turn, have effects on sleep quality and the body’s ability to regulate body temperature, blood pressure and glucose levels.”
Due to the availability of artificial light sources in modern times, excessive light exposure after dark could possibly be a contributory factor in obesity as the light dramatically reduces the production of melatonin.