What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is your sleep hormone and it's produced via the Pineal gland in the brain and production can be affected by what we do and even what we eat and drink!
When our body doesn't produce enough of this vital sleep hormone (melatonin), our sleep naturally suffers and therefore our overall health and feeling of wellbeing suffers. Your brain needs proper sleep to effectively detoxify!
When we don't get enough good-quality sleep and downtime, we can experience lots of unpleasantness and even health issues.
- Lack of sleep is linked to a higher body weight
- When you don't sleep you tend to eat more calories or reach for stimulants like coffee that may further affect your sleep cycle
- We are more irritable and moody when we don't sleep well, we aren't as happy as we could be
- We tend to get more stressed and not handle life well when we are unrested
- Proper sleep leads to better hormonal balance > poor sleep leads to more PMS, perimeno/menopause symptoms
- We are more accident-prone when we are tired
- Lack of sleep impairs our thinking - your brain will be less sharp, your mind foggier, memory not as clear and difficulty concentrating on tasks
- We have less energy to exercise and live life when we don't sleep well and any energy we think we have is probably just the hormone cortisol and too much running around on cortisol leads to adrenal burnout!
- We set ourselves up for more illness when we are sleep-deprived
- We don't feel like having sex/intimacy with our partner because we are so tired
While it is true, you can take a melatonin supplement, I would think carefully about using longterm (not health advice just something to consider?) and the reason that I say this is because your body has t's own way to produce melatonin (through the pineal gland) and I truly believe that when we muck around with what is natural, this can have negative consequences later on. I feel like it could make the body lazy? This is only my own theory from what I have read and listened to over the years.
Who Should Avoid Melatonin Supplements?
It's my personal philosophy that our body's are very powerful (more powerful than they're often given credit for) and when given the right things and conditions, our body will do what it is meant to do. These include: natural sunlight during safe hours and uncovered for 10 minutes during the middle of the day (as this is believed to be the best time for vitamin D production), absorbing the earth's healing energy whilst barefoot on it, good thoughts, movement, high-quality water and good nutrition.
Melatonin is no different. 🌙
There are many ways to naturally boost melatonin production and they include:
- Tryptophan: tryptophan is found in whole milk, turkey, red meat, chicken, tuna, oats, brown rice, nuts and seeds, cheese, pumpkin seeds (try our Pumpkin seed protein powder here), sesame seeds and tahini.
- Calcium: calcium can be found in dairy products (choose organic and less pasteurised where possible for better health benefits), it can also be found in sesame seeds and tahini, green leafy veggies, broccoli and baobab powder/fruit.
- Magnesium: magnesium can be obtained through diet but it can also be depleted just as quickly through daily stress. Consider supplementing with a high-quality magnesium supplement such as this one.
- Vitamin B6: this important nutrient can be found in pork, chicken, turkey, some fish, peanuts (though peanuts may not be the healthiest source as they tend to contain mould), soy beans, wheatgerm, oats, bananas, , milk and liver. Try our grass-fee, Glyphosate-free liver supplement here.
What Else Can You Do for Melatonin?
- Reduce your exposure to blue light and junk lighting by wearing proper blue-light amber/red light glasses during the evening and first thing in the morning if you need to get onto technology before you get the sunlight into your eyes.
- Get your eyes into the natural sunlight (early morning and again late afternoon if possible). he sun, when done properly and with wisdom, can be an incredible tool for healing, health, vitality, longevity and happiness. Basically, the more often you can get your eyes into the natural sunlight, the more melatonin you'll produce at night. Obviously, it's not wise to look directly into the sun when it has risen but it is safe to gaze at the sun when it's rising and falling.
- Dim the lights if you have dimmers and as early as possible to help your body to wind down and prep you for good sleep (or wear blue-blocker sunglasses as an even better option when you are watching TV, on phones, computers or other blue light devices or exposed to junk lighting from modern light.
- Increase relaxation by meditating, have a warm bath with candles play soft soothing music, read a book, stretch your body or sip on a cup of calming tea.
- Reduce Caffeine as caffeine consumption can suppress melatonin. Have you ever had a coffee or something caffeinated later in the day and then struggled to fall asleep that night? Caffeine can be very disruptive to sleep so it pays ton be mindful of when you are drinking it and how often. Giving up coffee was one of the best things I did for my health but I get that it's such a personal choice and you have to do you! 😉
- Reduce time on tech. Have you ever been on a camping trip where there is little to no phone reception? It is absolute HEAVEN! This teaches us how good we can feel when we aren't on our gadgets and on screens and also how good we feel when we connect to the earth, reconnect to ourselves and how much we love simplicity. You don't have to go camping though to feel the benefits of reducing screen time, you can make a choice anytime to spend less time on tech and more time doing what matters most (being connected to those and the world around you and yourself and a higher meaning of life). I could speak forever on this topic because it's something I believe in and practice in my own life.
- Avoid or at the very least reduce toxins in your life, especially the ones I'm about to mention here...
Toxins that Affect Melatonin
The pineal gland is highly susceptible to environmental toxins such as:
We say aluminium here in Australia and in the USA they say aluminum but they are the same thing.
This heavy metal is toxic to human health with frequent exposure and it should probably be avoided where ever possible if you want vital health, vitality into your old age and potential disease-prevention.
It has been shown to damage the pineal gland (see the reference below) which will affect how someone produces melatonin. Not only that though, it is also linked to neurodegenerative diseases Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Lou Gehrig's (ALS).
Aluminium can be found in food (including conventionally-grown/sprayed produce), aluminium cookware (if that even still exists?), certain pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, personal care products (especially anti-perspirants).
To reduce your exposure to this harmful heavy metal and toxin, look carefully, mindfully and intuitively at the things you put on your skin and inside your body and also how you prepare food.
It's important to know that aluminium impairs your pineal gland's ability to detox (clean) and eliminate heavy metals, which creates a nasty cycle of toxicity - where metals become more easily absorbed into the brain.
What is good to know though, is that if you do reduce exposure to this metal, and when your melatonin levels are at the optimal, melatonin actually binds to metals and exposes them, thus reducing their toxic effect.
You will often find fluoride in your tap/drinking water (depending on what country you live in). It is most certainly in Australian tap water. It's also in many commercial toothpaste brands and some mouth wash.
Fluoride is a fat-soluble neurotoxin (it gets through the blood-brain barrier and into the brain) where it can cause damage and set you up for many problems and even disease down the track...
One major problem (besides the fact that it's known to be neurotoxic) is that it accumulates in the pineal gland and calcification of this important gland is the unfortunate result.
Glyphosate is the active ingredient found in weed killer and herbicide roundup (know that anything ending in the word "cide" usually means death of some kind).
It is believed, that glyphosate can suppress the synthesis of melatonin and it does this by damaging gut microbes thus depleting important melatonin precursors - tryptophan and serotonin.
Glyphosate can often be found in produce that is conventionally-grown and this is one reason to choose organic wherever you possibly can!
This chemical increases the toxic effect of aluminium because it acts like a little cage if you will. It puts a cage around aluminium which then allows this heavy metal to bypass the gut barrier, making it more accessible to the body.
Glyphosate also increases the uptake of calcium which then allows aluminium to get into your cells, by mimicking calcium. The next thing that happens will shock you (if you're not already there?)...
After this all occurs, aluminium then encourages calcium loss from the bones which then leads to or adds to calcification of the pineal gland! 😩 and our important sleep hormone production suffers, and then you suffer as a result!
Electromagnetic fields (also known as EMFs) are all around us and are pretty much impossible to avoid (unless you live somewhere very remote and isolated with no internet, electricity etc)...
These invisible fields can have a negative affect on how the pineal gland functions as well so it is important to reduce exposure where possible (turn off your wifi at night, switch your phone to airplane mode), use EMF-protection for your devices and Shungite for your home or office (especially near your computer and TV's).
I could (and will) write a whole blog about this soon and no doubt it will be in my book so be sure to subscribe to our email newsletter to stay in the loop of all announcements. You should see a pop-up box on the website asking for your name and email.
Being constantly expose to EMFs will suppress the body's levels of melatonin as it negatively impacts the pineal gland. What has been theorised, is that our pineal gland senses EMF as actual light so this can obviously affect the production of our sleep hormone.
What is interesting to know, is that melatonin can also be protective against electromagnetic fields so the better we can look after our pineal gland (by understanding what that entails), the better off we will be on the whole! Melatonin when produced at optimal levels can protect against EMF damage.
Supplementing with Melatonin and the Potential Side Effects
The side effects from taking a melatonin supplement can range from dizziness, headaches, nausea and irritability. Some people even find that when they take melatonin supplements they experience vivid dreams and even nightmares!
There are also contraindications and drug interactions to consider, read on...
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should not be taking melatonin supplements. Also, if you have a history of hormonal issues (hormone-related health challenges) you should ONLY be using this supplement under the care and supervision of your trusted healthcare provider.
There are many drugs that can be made less effective if you are taking melatonin supplements. Be aware of the following and always speak to your doctor if you are thinking about taking melatonin and are on any of these medications.
Blood pressure med's
Blood thinners (anticoagulants)
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)
- A healthy pineal gland equals healthy melatonin production
- Melatonin is better if your body can naturally produce it as this is the natural process of the body
- Not everyone should take melatonin supplements
- Eat foods that contain tryptophan, calcium, magnesium and vitamin B6 to naturally boost melatonin
- Reduce your exposure to blue light and junk lighting (screens, technology, lighting in the home) by dimming the lights, using red lights, blue light blocking glasses for your eyes etc.
- Get your eyes into the morning and afternoon sunlight (sunrise and sunset if the perfect time)
- Increase relaxation to reduce stress
- Reduce/give up coffee
- Reduce time on tech where possible
- Avoid or at least reduce harmful toxins mentioned in this article to help keep your pineal gland strong, healthy and functioning optimally!
One Last Thing (I promise)...You NEED sleep for the brain to detox
You NEED a healthy pineal gland to make melatonin
You NEED a good production of melatonin for healthy brain detox, circadian rhythm and sleep
These 3 things go hand-in-hand!
Pizzorno, Joseph E. The Toxin Solution: How Hidden Poisons in the Air, Water & Food, and Products We Use Are Destroying Our Health - and What We Can Do to Fix It. New York: Harper One, 2017
Disclaimer: the information in this article is intended purely as information and not health advice. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure and one should always seek expert advice from their trusted health practitioner.