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Melatonin, The Heart’s Greatest Antioxidant?

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Many studies show that there is a link between health problems and low levels of melatonin. When you understand the role melatonin plays in heart health, you will see the importance of respecting the body’s circadian rhythms to produce proper amounts of melatonin daily.

Key research on melatonin:

Research shows that low melatonin levels result in high levels of free radicals. Free radicals cause damage and play a part in every disease process.

Scroll down to find out more about melatonin and your heart.

What is melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone that is released by the pineal gland at night. Its production depends on light exposure and intensity.

How does light affect melatonin?

  1. The secretion of melatonin depends on the natural day-night light cycles.
  2. Certain types of light, like blue light, suppress the production and release of melatonin.

How does melatonin affect the heart?

Research shows that melatonin has beneficial effects on cardiovascular health, including blood pressure, heart rhythm, heart failure, and endothelial function.

  1. Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant:
    • It is such an effective antioxidant that one study suggests we should classify melatonin as a “mitochondria-targeted antioxidant” because of the effects on cells. The science shows that melatonin can protect against oxygen depletion during a heart attack.
  2. Melatonin is anti-inflammatory:
    • Melatonin is a hormone that can regulate inflammation in the body through its roles in the immune system. Research shows that melatonin plays an important role in preventing chronic inflammation and the damaging effects of it.
  3. Research has shown that melatonin improves cholesterol levels:
    • Studies reveal that melatonin can improve cholesterol by lowering LDL and total cholesterol levels while also increasing HDL levels. The study also shows that melatonin could aid in reducing hypertriglyceridemia (high triglycerides).
  4. Melatonin protects against various cardiovascular diseases:
    • Heart failure – Studies show melatonin plays many important roles in aspects of heart failure such as oxidative stress, cell death, tissue destruction and remodeling of the heart. This research also shows that melatonin has potential to reverse these same processes.
    • Hypertension – Research has shown that melatonin lowers blood pressure, specifically in patients with metabolic syndrome. In this study, the researchers gave patients with metabolic syndrome 5 mg of melatonin per day for 2 months and after that period they had significantly decreased blood pressure readings.
    • Arrhythmias & the aging heart – A very recent 2021 research article concludes that melatonin is essential to protect the aging heart because of its many roles: as an antioxidant and through its anti-aging and antiarrhythmic effects. The authors state that melatonin could be the “fountain of youth for the heart” and used for the treatment and prevention of arrhythmias like Atrial Fibrillation.

Optimize melatonin levels for heart health:

To avoid sabotaging your melatonin levels (and your heart health), it is important to change certain activities (and avoid others) to optimize and prevent disrupting your melatonin levels.

  1. Get more sun daily.
    • Daily sunshine is the key to proper production and release of melatonin. The body creates serotonin, the precursor to melatonin, from the sun. When we have optimal sun exposure, especially early in the morning, we can produce melatonin earlier in the evening, so we fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply. Go outside in the early morning, afternoon and evening sun to get the full spectrum of rays. Also, check out the app D-minder for optimal rays.
  2. Limit technology use.
    • Technology harms us in two ways- it exposes us to artificial blue light, and it gives off a plethora of EMFs. The goal is to limit technology and use it safely. Set a time each day when you no longer use technology, and all electronics go off.
  3. Reduce blue light exposure, especially before bedtime.
    • Exposure to blue lights inhibits melatonin production and release. It is especially important to limit exposure to blue lights at least an hour before bed. Artificial blue light exposure before bed leads to poor quality sleep and issues with falling asleep.
  4. Reduce exposure to EMFs.
    • EMFs take their toll on melatonin balance. One study showed that even exposure to weak level EMFs results in disruptions to melatonin. Look for ways you can reduce exposure to EMFs daily. Turn your router off at night. Move your phone out of your bedroom when you sleep. Don’t set your laptop on your lap. Use headphones to talk on your phone. Invest in EMF-protecting technology such as Blushield or SafeSleeve.
  5. Limit caffeine intake.
    • Enjoy a cup or two of quality, organic coffee daily but don’t consume in excess. Too much caffeine or too much too late in the day can affect melatonin levels.
  6. Eat a healthy diet rich in melatonin-rich foods.
    • The same foods that contain melatonin also aid our sleep. Foods that naturally contain melatonin include olives, cucumbers, asparagus, and nuts like walnuts and flax. Enjoy these foods in the evening to optimize a good night’s sleep.
  7. Support relaxation.
    • Find activities that help you relax. Stress revs up the hormone cortisol, which negatively affects your body’s ability to produce melatonin at night. When you’re able to relax, cortisol decreases, which can help with melatonin production. Try a warm Epsom bath, use essential oils or try a deep breathing exercise before bed to support full relaxation and melatonin release.

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