April 21, 2016

Melatonin is a hormone that also acts as a neurotransmitter. It is the major indole compound synthesized by the pineal gland and is converted from serotonin. Melatonin is primarily secreted during the dark (night) with levels dropping dramatically after exposure to bright light. Endogenous melatonin production begins to climb approximately 2 hours before bed time, provided light is dim.

Many people are familiar with melatonin because of its influence on sleep. Healthy melatonin curves help positively influence the initiation and maintenance of quality sleep cycles and disruptions in melatonin curves may present clinically as disordered sleep patterns.

Although it’s most well-known for its association with sleep, melatonin holds many other clinically relevant roles. Melatonin is a potent antioxidant found in almost every cell in the body! It stimulates immune function and decreased levels are frequently noted in cancer patients as well as individuals with impaired CNS function. Melatonin may aide in weight loss and mood support. In addition, melatonin’s antioxidant activity may be protective to the ovum at ovulation and has even demonstrated positive effects in the success rate of in vitro fertilization.

Melatonin and cortisol share an inverse relationship – when melatonin levels are low, cortisol levels should be high and vice versa. However, just as it is possible to see disruptions in cortisol curves, disruptions in melatonin curves may be noted and are influenced by several factors. For instance, declines in melatonin levels are seen with age, blue light exposure (as commonly emitted by TV and computer screens), and some medications including benzodiazepines and antihypertensives (beta blockers). Some antidepressants and anti-psychotics may shift melatonin curves, as can strenuous exercise.

Knowing your patient’s melatonin curve may be a helpful aide in developing his or her comprehensive treatment plan for sleep support, immune support and more. This testing is now easily accessible to you through Labrix salivary testing and can be ordered with your existing hormone kits. Order the Melatonin Panel alone (an easy 3-point saliva collection) or add the Melatonin Panel to any Hormone or NeuroHormone Panel for additional savings for you and your patients. Email sales@labrix.com to find out more about pricing and ordering kits or or click here to find out more information about the Labrix Melatonin Panel.

References:
  • Melatonin: Characteristics, Concerns and Prospects Josephine Arendt. Journal of Biological Rhythms, Vol. 20 No. 4, August 2005. 291-303. Literature review
  • Taniguchi K, et al. Melatonin Protects Granulosa Cells for Progesterone Production as an Antioxidant in Human Ovarian Follicles. Biology of Reproduction. March 2009.
  • Reiter et al. Peripheral Reproductive Organ Health and Melatonin: Ready for Prime Time. Int J Mol Sci. 2013, 14(4), 7231-7272
  • Cipolla-Neto J1, Amaral FG, Afeche SC, Tan DX, Reiter RJ. Melatonin, energy metabolism, and obesity: a review. J Pineal Res. 2014 May;56(4):371-81. doi: 10.1111/jpi.12137.

Labrix Clinical Spotlight Series:
Menopause: Fatigue, Insomnia, & Weight Gain

Labrix Director of Clinical Services Robyn Kutka ND discusses common symptoms associated with menopause, and outlines an effective and straightforward testing and treatment approach for female patients.




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