While melatonin supplements are available over the counter at almost any health food store or pharmacy, there are questions about long-term supplementation. Some experts report that if one uses melatonin supplements for a long period of time, the body will stop producing and responding to its own melatonin. Although there is little science to support it, just in case, it is best that you incorporate more foods rich in melatonin and help your body with the amount of melatonin in a natural way.
While there have been studies on long-term melatonin supplementation, there is no strong evidence to suggest that the melatonin production of healthy people decreases after long-term use. In fact, the reason melatonin is an over-the-counter supplement is because there have been many studies that have touted its safety.
However, there is science to suggest that long-term side effects of melatonin do not exist. In a meta-analysis of more than 16,000 subjects from 19 studies, melatonin was shown not to lose its effectiveness with continued use.
While supplementation is very safe for restoring short-term circadian sleep and jet lag, setting your needs and the correct dosage is very important. Melatonin supplements sometimes come in very large doses, as high as 10 mg per pill, which should be avoided until you know what your personal needs are.
Studies by Dr. Richard Wurtman suggest that an effective dose of melatonin could be as low as 0.3 mg to 1 mg, suggesting that only a small amount of melatonin may be necessary to reset our circadian clocks.
That being said, there are many studies linking numerous health benefits to melatonin supplementation at higher doses.
Before considering melatonin supplementation, it is suggested that you have your melatonin levels tested. Then, if your levels are low, try to maintain your melatonin levels with foods rich in melatonin; check out the list below.
Tart cherry excellent source of melatonin
Since melatonin is one of the oldest molecules on the planet and every form of life relies on light / dark cycles, it is not surprising that melatonin is found in almost all plants. The foods rich in melatonin are readily accessible and can be used very successfully (rather than resorting to a supplement).
In a study conducted at MIT, researchers found tart cherry juice to be an effective sleep tonic. In a previous study, while measuring the effects of tart cherry juice for its anti-inflammatory benefits as a sports recovery drink, some of the subjects reported that they slept better. Additional studies revealed that tart cherries were very high in botanical melatonin.
One study measured two groups of older men. One group received tart cherries and the other group received a placebo. The cherry juice group fell asleep faster and woke up less during the night compared to the placebo group.
To continue the study, the researchers measured melatonin levels after drinking Montmorency tart cherry juice, and once again observed improvements in sleep time, quality, and efficiency that were likely due to an increase in melatonin levels.
Since this study was published, tart cherries have become very famous for increasing melatonin and quality of sleep, but there are many other foods to consider to increase your melatonin levels naturally.
According to Dr. Michael Greger, walnuts, flax seeds, and tomatoes are high in melatonin. Fenugreek and mustard seeds, as well as raspberries and almonds are very tall, but the highest of all are goji berries or lycium berries.
Melatonin rich foods
Melatonin foods (ng / 100g):
· Concentrated sour cherry juice 17,535 ng / 100g
· Tart cherries 1,350
· Walnuts 270
· Mustard Seed 191.33
· Corn 187.80
· Rice 149.80
· Ginger root 142.30
· Peanuts 116.70
· Barley grains 87.30
· Rolled oats 79.13
· Asparagus 76.62
· Tomatoes 53.95
· Fresh mint 49.66
· Black tea 40.50
· Unripe banana (pulp) 31.40
· Broccoli 26.67
· Angelica 25.12
· Granada 21
· Strawberries 21
· St. John's Wort 19.61
· Ripe banana (pulp) 18.50
· Brussels sprouts 16.88
· Green tea 9.20
· Black olives 8.94
· Green olives 8.36
· Cucumber 5.93
· Sunflower seeds 4.26
· Concord grapes (skin) 3.24
· Red grapes (pulp) 2.27
· Red grapes (whole) 1.94
· Concord Grapes (Pulp) 1.92
· Concord Grapes (Whole) 1.71
· Red grapes (skin) 1.42
· Red wine
In general, diets rich in vegetables, fruits, and grain products are considerable dietary sources of melatonin. The vitamins and minerals in these foods contribute to the synthesis of endogenous melatonin.
Coffee and melatonin
Studies on coffee are mixed. Coffee is a stimulant to the effects of caffeine and melatonin is the body's sleep hormone. Logic will tell you that caffeine will inhibit melatonin production, and it does.
Many of the components in coffee actually help increase melatonin levels by as much as 32 percent, but other studies suggest that overnight caffeine will block melatonin production, neutralizing the naturally occurring melatonin in coffee.
Decaffeinated coffee has been shown to increase melatonin levels, so it can be a good option if you like coffee.
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