I absolutely love diving into subjects which form the basic foundation for our health. This is
most certainly one of them.
Many aspects of the modern world are a constant drain on the very grounding for our health and wellbeing, an example of this is Melatonin. The production of Melatonin and its correlation with circadian rhythm, the rising and setting of the sun is a fundamental influencer of health seeing as it facilitates sleep and drives those important body repair functions whilst we sleep.
In Winter time when the days are shorter maintaining this rhythm is even more important. This is why getting out in sunlight in the day and limiting artificial light in the evening is so crucial to ensuring that the body produces melatonin when the sun sets. Electro magnetic frequencies from mobile phones, wifi devices and mobile phone masts have been shown to inhibit melatonin production. This is a reminder that we are much better to sleep without any devices in the room (or at least ensure they are all switched off). EMF protection products may also be helpful (@energydots) since we influence production of melatonin by our all day long, not just at night.
We can help prepare for sleep by keeping off devices 2 hrs before bed, low level lighting, wearing blue light blocking glasses in the evening and earlier to bed (before 10pm ideally).
Hydrotherapy, colder water body exposure ( through shower, plunge etc).
Meditation, mindfulness and gratitude journaling calms the nervous system & helps the flow of melatonin.
Daytime walks in nature, expose us to sunlight, but also to phytoncides (from trees), these plant compounds are a natural relaxant to the nervous system.
Stirring up melatonin with nutrition:
Eating tryptophan and melatonin rich foods such as seeds (how amazing that melatonin levels are shown to be highest in plants reproductive organs). Also sour cherries, apples, tomatoes , yogurt, potatoes , whole grains inc brown rice, bananas , corn, grapes, cucumbers, beans, wild fish, barley, eggs. Turkey and chicken provide good levels of tryptophan for sleep!
Foods that stimulate the pineal gland to produce melatonin are green superfoods (high in chlorophyll), foods high in boron and iodine and the nutrients in apple cider vinegar, tamarind, raw cacao and turmeric.
Teas such as lemon balm, camomile and lavender and limit caffeine intake throughout the day.
The Role and Health Implications of Melatonin
Melatonin plays a huge role in protecting your gut. That's why without adequate sleep and melatonin optimal gut and therefore immune function is impossible (70% of immune cells are in the Gut). For health concerns such as IBS: sleep and melatonin has been shown to be preventative for gut cramping, spasms and a regulator of motility. Night shift workers have been shown to have an increased incidence of bowel issues and more abdominal pain.
Melatonin and sleep is protective against many health conditions; including cancer, heart disease, stroke and fatty liver disease. It is also anti-aging, anti-neurodegenerative and anti stress since it suppresses stress hormones. Symptoms such as brain fog , exhaustion, confusion, seasonal disorders, mood swings, premature ageing, depression and anxiety can be as a result of melatonin levels being disrupted
Winter Supplements to Support Melatonin
A synergistic formula providing the essential nutrients; Vitamin D, K2 and Vit A working together to achieve balance, avoiding any excess or deficiency.
The nutrients support immunity, the bone and muscle matrix, energy metabolism, eyes, skin and teeth. Also protects from oxidative stress and supports blood clotting.
I often recommend 5-HTP to my clients to help with sleep and mood. It is a naturally occurring amino acid that supports the body's production of serotonin, a hormone that is closely connected with melatonin and that is known for its role in wellbeing and its ability to regulate the sleep-wake cycle. This synergistic formula combines magnesium & B6 which are critical nutrients for the nervous system.
Chaga mushroom is a potent source of Melanin which is not only an essential pigment for our hair, skin and eyes but it also is a powerful stimulator of the Pineal gland (where melatonin is produced)!! Chaga supports immunity, hormones and the nervous system so it is a panacea nutrient and is known in Siberia as 'a gift from god'. It supports sleep & melatonin and has many other benefits.