Q. Dear Terry, “My wife has been taking melatonin to help her sleep. I don’t have sleep issues, but she told me I should start taking melatonin for my immune system. How much melatonin should I take?” – Jimmy R., Pine Hills, FL
A. Dear Jimmy, Melatonin is frequently recommended for sleep troubles and for supporting the circadian rhythm, which is our 24-hour biological clock. Many of us are deficient in this key hormone because we need 30 minutes of complete darkness before we start producing melatonin. Staying up late watching television or using smart phones, tablets, or computers severely disrupts melatonin production.
One of my favorite uses for melatonin, aside from sleep, is supporting the immune system. There’s growing evidence that this natural hormone fights bacteria, inhibits viral infections, and even prevents the spread of cancer. Melatonin provides a baseline of protection for our immune system. It also moderates our immune response, which helps to keep the immune system balanced, rather than under- or over-active. This is why researchers are recommending its use in Europe to help treat and modulate dangerous viruses, including COVID-19. Melatonin is one of the most important and most underappreciated components of a strong immune system.
Because melatonin is interwoven in virtually every action, cell, and process in the body – it has an essential role in cancer. Melatonin prevents free radical and inflammatory damage to DNA and inhibits the abnormal cellular replication that creates cancerous tumors in the first place. Scientific research shows that the presence of melatonin inhibits cancer through multiple mechanisms, unlike traditional cancer treatments.
Melatonin is quickly metabolized by the body, so some supplemental forms can be completely cycled through in as little as two hours. If you want more sustained release benefits from melatonin, you could consider looking for a form that slowly administers itself into the bloodstream over time. I would try 10 mg of a slow-release melatonin for more systemic benefits, such as immune support.
Melatonin can also be combined with other immune supportive ingredients such as zinc, selenium, and andrographis. I would take 15 mg of zinc (as zinc bisglycinate chelate), 65 mcg of selenium, 300 mg of andrographis (providing 60 mg of andrographolides), and 5 mg of melatonin. You could take this combination 1-2 hours before bedtime.
Terry . . . Naturally
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