Life Strength Fitness
Stronger for Life
Life Strength Fitness_Final.jpg

Health Articles

Learn how to apply current physiology and nutrition research to improve your health and performance.

Melatonin Might be the Key to Lowering Obesity and Metabolic Disease

The steady rise in obesity and metabolic diseases in the United States is a well known problem. The odds are that you or someone you know is working on losing body fat for health or aesthetic reasons, along with has one or multiple metabolic diseases and may not even know it yet. This information was written to guide you in a conversation with your general doctor, neurologist, or endocrinologist about some new research findings that could be truly life changing for you and millions of other people.

Did you know that the human body has 3 different kinds of fat?

White Fat: This is the kind of fat that you see that you see on your body when you look in the mirror and the most of the fat that you don’t see which starts to build up around your organs. This kind of fat is important to store energy for later use but too much of it only leads to inflammation, obesity, and metabolic disease such as hypertension, type II diabetes, and dyslipidemia.

Beige and Brown Fat: Contains mitochondria which are the aerobic engines that burn white fat, reverse obesity, and lower your body fat %.

What is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a neurohormone that helps regulate inflammation, blood pressure, insulin actions, and energy metabolism. It can be consumed in small quantities in foods such as mustard, goji berries, almonds, sunflower seeds, cardamon, fennel, coriander, and cherries. You’ve probably heard about it as the hormone that helps you fall asleep at night when the lights are turned off. It also is the hormone that helps you stay asleep for longer periods of time and when it has been used up you wake up and your brain thinks it is time to start a new day. Unfortunately as we age, get sleep deprived by having newborns, or deal with funky sleep schedules from working overnight our levels of melatonin are reduced.

New Benefits of Taking Melatonin Long Term

Consuming small doses of melatonin in the 1.5-3mg ranges on a daily basis for up to 3 months at a time have shown to have some really amazing benefits.

  • Converts white fat into beige fat

  • Increases the fat burning capacity of the mitochondria in our brown fat cells you already have

In May of 2019 the very first long term human study got published in the Journal of Diabetes showing that all of the discoveries we found using rats were true for us humans as well. Everyone in this study was obese and had diabetes. The subjects consumed 3mg of melatonin 30 minutes before bed for 3 months. Here are the results:

  • 2.39-2.7 times more beige fat and brown fat activity

  • HDL Cholesterol increased 6mg/DL

  • LDL Cholesterol decreased 14.5mg/DL

  • Triglycerides decreased 66mg/DL

  • Total Cholesterol decreased 20 mg/DL

  • Fasting Blood Glucose decreased 66mg/DL

  • Fasting Insulin decreased 8.25 mmol/mL

Take Home Points

For years we thought melatonin only benefited the sleep deprived. Between aging, having kids, working 3rd shift, using electronics late at night, and watching TV before bed has caused sleep issues for people of all ages. I think we can all say that there are times we feel sleep deprived. Now there are more benefits to taking melatonin.

  • Better Quality Sleep

  • Longer Sleep

  • More Energy

  • Convert the unwanted white fat into beige fat

  • Boost the fat burning engines in our brown fat

  • Improve our blood lipid profiles

  • Improve our blood sugar and insulin levels and reverse metabolic disease

Too much melatonin will make you wake up in the middle of the night ready to start your day. The smallest dose that will be effective is what you want to discover. Consult with your doctor if this is worth trying for you and what dosage they would recommend.

References

Halpern, B., Mancini, M., Bueno, C., Barcelos, I., de Melo, M., & Lima, M. et al. (2019). Melatonin Increases Brown Adipose Tissue Volume and Activity in Patients With Melatonin Deficiency: A Proof-of-Concept Study. Diabetes, 68(5), 947-952. doi: 10.2337/db18-0956

Jiménez-Aranda, A., Fernández-Vázquez, G., Campos, D., Tassi, M., Velasco-Perez, L., & Tan, D. et al. (2013). Melatonin induces browning of inguinal white adipose tissue in Zucker diabetic fatty rats. Journal Of Pineal Research, n/a-n/a. doi: 10.1111/jpi.12089

Xu, Z., You, W., Liu, J., Wang, Y., & Shan, T. (2019). Elucidating the Regulatory Role of Melatonin in Brown, White, and Beige Adipocytes. Advances In Nutrition. doi: 10.1093/advances/nmz070