If you've ever struggled with tossing and turning at night, you’re probably familiar with the commonly used supplement melatonin.
Most of us know melatonin and the sleep hormone.
It's what our bodies make when it's time to go to bed, right?
But did you know that the amount of melatonin that your brain produces at night is only about 5% of what your body makes?
So where does the other 95% come from, and what does your body use it for?
In today's Tuesday Terrain Talk, you'll learn about the other 95% of melatonin production and its mind-blowing range of benefits for your health, from anti-inflammatory to anti-cancer.
Even better, I'll tell you an easy and enjoyable way to support your body in making more melatonin on its own.
Listen now and you may be doing a lot more for yourself than just sleeping more soundly.
Referred to in this Episode:
Read the full transcript below:
You're listening to the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I'm a Certified Life health and nutrition coach, and I'm also a breast cancer thriver. If you're trying to figure out how to move past the trauma and the emotional toll of breast cancer, you've come to the right place. In this podcast, I will give you the tools and the insights to create a life that's even better than before breast cancer. Well, let's get started.
Hello, friends, you're listening to Episode 261 of the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. And I'm here today with our Tuesday terrain talk, where we talk about all things you can do everything in your power, easy, simple, that you can do to support the optimal health of your body, everything from what you eat, to supplements and lifestyle behaviors. And today, we are going to be speaking about a supplement. This is a supplement that is also naturally made in your body. So I want to point out something very important. Anytime that you consider starting a supplement, you absolutely should check with your doctor to make sure it's safe for you, even if it is something your body naturally produces. Because it's different when we take things in a supplement in an oral form in a subcutaneous injection, anything like that is going to behave differently than our body making it okay. We're going to be talking today about melatonin. And I'm going to jump a little more deeply a lot more deeply into that coming up. But it's important to realize that melatonin does have reactions, interactions with other drugs, it does have contra indications. And I posted a list to a website where you can read about some of those contra indications in the show notes for this episode, the breast cancer recovery coach.com forward slash 261 is where you'll find that. And I've also posted links to studies that I've information that I'll be referring to in this episode, because I think it's so important for you to read in more detail and understand what I'm offering you because these podcasts aren't telling you to get treatment somehow or start taking something, I just want to present information to you that may be helpful for you. But you're gonna have to be the one to advocate for yourself. You're the expert on you. You know what's right for you, you know how you feel you know what you're taking, you know what you're being treated with. So you have to take that information, discuss it with your physician and be sure that it is safe for you. But I am giving you links to those studies so that you have more information to be able to present to your doctor and ask and make sure that your doctor is well informed because all doctors can't know everything about everything. So I want you to be armed with that information and have that knowledge so that you can get the best support possible for yourself. Okay, safety first. Always, I'm not a doctor, I'm not recommending that you take anything. So you check with your doctor. Okay.
So melatonin what comes to your mind as soon as I say melatonin, probably the same thing that came to my mind? Well, melatonin, it's what people take to go to sleep? Well, you're going to be a little surprised, I think as I was when we dig in to all of the powerful benefits of melatonin, and especially some of the studies that are showing the benefits of melatonin with respect to breast cancer and other cancers too. But obviously, we're talking about breast cancer here. So when we hear melatonin, we think sleep, right? It's the sleep hormone. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in response to darkness. So we start to make melatonin, our brain starts to produce a little bit of melatonin. And it starts to circulate in our body about two hours before our bedtime. And here's an interesting thing. Melatonin actually has some genetic components to it that can regulate it, and I have a genetic variant. When it comes to the way my body produces melatonin. I'm sharing this with you because obviously, I'm not alone in having genetic variants. So it'd be interesting, as you hear some people say, Oh, I'm a night owl, or oh, I wake up early. And some people like to wake up slow, like me when I like to wake up early and slow. So I'll set the alarm to get up at five. But I don't want to be doing anything until six. And it was really interesting because I started to learn more about my genetics and found that one of those genetic variants indicates that I'm kind of a slow burner of melatonin. So in the morning, it takes me a little bit longer to get this melatonin out of my system which makes complete sense
So when I think about my sleep habits and my wake up habits, so I just thought that was an interesting side note. So we produce melatonin, the pineal gland. And that's pretty much all I had ever heard about. When I had talked to other trainers or people, you know, over the years about sleep or sleep disturbances, and people are one of the first things they want to throw out there is melatonin, oh, try taking melatonin. And if you go, or if you take melatonin, you probably are familiar with going to the store ordering on Amazon, wherever you get it. And seeing the dosage is like three milligrams, five milligrams, two milligrams really low doses of melatonin. And most of the time, the advice that I hear about it is start really, really low, and then increase a little bit over time until you find the most effective minimal dose that you can take to help you get restful sleep. And I think that that causes us to think that melatonin is like a sleep aid like a UNISOM, or an Ambien or something like that, that it puts you to sleep when that's not really the fact. Melatonin is part of supporting that sleep cycle. But it isn't like a drug where it's like, oh, I produce melatonin and it puts me to sleep. That's not exactly how it works. But something important to realize is that as the pineal gland, that little tiny gland in the center of your brain starts to make melatonin. If you open your computer, you turn on your phone, you open up your iPad, when you go to bed, you stopped that production of melatonin, and you can undermine that sleep cycle. So it's an important thing to remember, our brain starts to produce it in response to darkness and it stops in response to light. I've even read studies that say if you have to get up and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, to try not to turn on the light. Now I'm not advising that because I don't want anybody tripping and falling breaking a hip or something. But it's that sensitive. When it comes to the production of melatonin or so I have read so I thought that was really interesting. They here's the kicker, the pineal gland only produces about 5% of the melatonin that is produced inside of our body. So what the heck, where's the rest of it coming from and how do we use it? And what is making it? Well, there's another way that melatonin is produced, and it's called sub cellular. And it is made in our mitochondria. So the mitochondria in response to sunlight, produce melatonin. Okay, so how crazy is this? Right? Wait, I thought we make melatonin response to darkness. Now you're telling me we make it in response to the sunlight and our mitochondria are little energy powerhouses in our cells are the ones making melatonin. This doesn't even make sense. And it's very interesting because melatonin has so many functions, and we only hear about it, or I will say only I have only ever heard about it and response to sleep. But Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant. And it's actually part of this chain, where we start to make another powerful antioxidant called glutathione. So and melatonin when is produced at that sub cellular level in response to infrared light, sunlight, infrared light, campfire, light, candle light, fireplace light, those are all sources of infrared light. And if you think about it, they're all very calming. Right? Interesting, isn't it? So we produce melatonin. And in response to that infrared light when we're producing it at that sub cellular level in the mitochondria is actually a very powerful antioxidant. And so it helps to reduce inflammation in the body. It also helps to stimulate our immune system, and some specifically T helper lymphocytes, and natural killer cells. And natural killer cells are really important for us to keep in mind that it stimulates natural killer cells, because those are the cells that tend to be the guys that get in there and take out cancer cells, right. So important. We want to stimulate those, we want as many of those as possible. Now, other studies have showed that melatonin even actually lowers the toxicity of different chemotherapy agents. And it reduces the side effects of chemotherapy, the toxic side effects of chemotherapy and that, again, is part of it's really powerful antioxidant benefits. Something that I and I think all of us as breast cancer survivors are going to be very happy to hear is that another benefit of melatonin is that has anti metastatic properties that studies show that melatonin plays a role in slowing the spread of cancer. And I also want to share with you some of the anti cancer benefits that melatonin has shown in studies that I think are super important for us as breast cancer survivors. So one study published in cancer chemotherapy pharmacology in 2000
And 12 looked at several studies that used melatonin as an adjunct as an additional therapy when people were going through chemotherapy or radiotherapy for cancer treatment. And they were looking at how adding melatonin would affect the tumor remission in these cancer patients. And this study looked at other randomized control trials because they wanted really high quality trials. And they found eight trials, eight studies that were eligible that met the criteria, and that involved a total of 761 cancer patients. And all of these cancer patients had solid tumor cancers. Okay, so it wasn't a blood cancer. It wasn't liquid cancer was a solid tumor cancers. And the dosage of melatonin that was used in these eight eligible trials was 20 milligrams orally. Now you may be thinking, oh my god, I take three milligrams a night 20 milligram sounds like a lot. Well, I was really surprised to hear dosages that are far far beyond that as well that are being used and tested and experimented when it comes to solid tumors, and especially those in the bones very important, because a lot of breast cancer metastasizes to the bones like mine. All right. So what they found out of examining these eight studies was that melatonin significantly improved the remission of these tumors, as well as improving the one year survival rate. And in addition to that, it dramatically reduced the side effects from the radiation and chemotherapy treatments. So that's something that's really important to consider. And the link to that study, again, is going to be in the show notes for this episode. Now, there was another study that I found that I think as breast cancer survivors, you're going to love to hear. This is a study that was published in the Israel Medical Association Journal, and what they were looking at, is using a melatonin cream to put on the skin while going through radiation treatment for breast cancer. So in this study, they had 26 women that use this melatonin cream and 21, who did not end they were being treated from a range of zero to stage two breast cancer and radiation therapy. And what they found was that the women who used the melatonin cream had a significantly lower radiation dermatitis in fact, 59% lower compared to 90% for the women who are doing the placebo, that is really impactful. And then the women who are older than 50 had even less dermatitis than women who were younger than 50. So 56% of women over 50 Using this cream, versus 100% of the women who are younger than 50. Now, why age would play a role in that, I don't know. But that's what the study says. And again, you can find the link to that study in the show notes for this episode. And I also want to share with you an excerpt from the book outside the box cancer therapies by Dr. Paul Anderson, because this is so good, I want to quote it for you. This says that patients with advanced cancers who are supplemented with 20 milligrams per evening of melatonin had a significantly lower frequency of Muxia, which is where cancer starts to eat of the muscles. And that's a very dangerous place to get to when you have cancer because it's kind of like the cancer taking over. So Kocak Sia, cardiac toxicity, neuro toxicity, and additionally, the percentage of patients with disease stabilization. And the percentage one year survival were both significantly higher, with a significantly better tumor response rate when supplemented with 20 milligrams per evening of melatonin. So you might be thinking, Okay, this sounds too good to be true. Sounds pretty amazing. And it does sound pretty amazing. And I have to tell you, that there is even way more information than what I have just shared with you out there in clinical studies, in really reputable clinical studies that support the benefits of the use of melatonin for overall healthy body. Because remember, this is not about fighting cancer. This is about healing a body. What can we do to support the health of our body? And it seems like supplementing with melatonin is showing some really encouraging benefits to being able to support our body's ability to heal itself. And to strengthen the immune system, which is something of course we want all the time. So you are maybe thinking, Well, how am I going to stay awake and I'll share a story with you my own personal story. So I did a lot of research into this and I encourage you to keep doing your research into melatonin and dosages of melatonin and again discuss it with your physician but
I did a lot of research into this, I listened to some different presentations from different physicians who are on colleges to talk about the use of melatonin in their practices. And so I decided to try using high dose melatonin because at that time the melatonin we had in the house is the typical dosage you would go out and find in the store. So it was like five milligram tablets. I think my husband's been taking melatonin forever when he goes to bed at night. So for the dose that I was taking, I had like this handful of melatonin, and I thought, oh my gosh, this is crazy. Like, how groggy am I going to be tomorrow? In fact, I actually made sure that I had a really light schedule the next day because I was so used to thinking about melatonin with respect to sleep, that I really thought this was going to make me groggy and sleepy. And in fact, I said to my husband, okay, this is how much melatonin I'm taking. If I don't wake up in the morning, you know what to do, right? Watch out for me. Well, I had no side effects at all, I had no grogginess. And I do take high dose melatonin on a daily basis on have been know for well over a year. A beautiful thing about that, as you will read and hearing many of the studies and people who speak of it, is there's virtually no toxicity. I mean, the studies with melatonin show that people are taking these higher oral doses. And they're administering it and finding really great benefits with respect to antioxidant therapies, anti cancer, anti tumorigenic, anti angiogenic, so suppressing blood supply to tumors, and that we're not only not seeing side effects from the melatonin, but it seems to also help to reduce side effects from other toxic therapies. So that's really exciting stuff. So I wanted to share that insight with you today about melatonin. And I want to, again, encourage you to think about what we talked about on the train Tuesday Talks, from the perspective of just this lovely bounty of options that you have, I never want you to think about it from overwhelm, I don't want you to think about it from I should be eating this. And I should be drinking that. And I should be taking these and how do I do all the things, because I don't ever think it's a good idea to do all the things. I highly suggest that you try one thing at a time, if that one thing speaks to you, and you're sure that it's safe for you, that we do small things, most importantly, to notice how our body is responding to them, that we do something little, not all the things at the same time. So we can say this works for me or this didn't work for me or it took me this long to get used to this or understand how making small changes small save changes, understand how they affect your individual, amazing, miraculous body. So check out the links that are in the show notes. Again, you'll find those where you're listening to this podcast, just scroll down you'll see the links and you'll also find them in the show notes on my website, the breast cancer recovery coach.com forward slash 261 and do your research and let me know what you think. Do you already use high dose melatonin? Have you ever heard of melatonin being produced at a sub cellular level? Have you heard about its antioxidant and anti cancer benefits? I would love to hear from you. You can find me on Instagram and Facebook as Laura Lummer The Breast Cancer recovery coach, you can work with me in my life coaching membership, the better than before breast cancer life coaching membership. And we can all talk and my free Facebook group, the breast cancer recovery group so so many ways to contact me and I love to hear from you and I love to hear what you try what you think of it, what your physicians have to say about I think these are such important discussions to have. So that all of us looking for ways to support our health, get the exposure to what is available to us and the benefits that small simple changes can make in our lives. All right, I will talk to you soon my friends and until then take good care of yourself