Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that your body produces when you sleep at night, most often in a dark room between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. Melatonin production drops off as you age, so older adults and those with irregular sleep schedules may find it beneficial to supplement their melatonin intake.
In addition to being a highly effective, natural sleeping aid, melatonin is involved in multiple systems throughout the body. As an antioxidant, melatonin helps to give your immune system a boost. It also fights inflammation and decreases aging markers. One recent study also showed that melatonin protects against the hearing damaged caused by some antibiotics.
Further, melatonin has protective effects from indigestion, gastrointestinal reflux (GERD), and other digestive issues.
Today, let’s give melatonin an extra dose of respect. This body-clock-regulating hormone calms us for sleep as darkness falls, and rouses us to greet the day. It also plays a role when heartburn and acid reflux strike. So, if you’re a sufferer, read on for natural heartburn relief. The burning question—what is (and isn’t) acid […]
How awake are you? Odds are, you feel sleepy. At least some of the time. Maybe even now. According to one study, 48% of the population suffers from occasional insomnia, while 22% have problems (nearly) every night. But that’s only among those who actually take the time to report their sleep woes to a doctor. […]
Last week, when I wrote about the dangers of sleeping pills, I touched very briefly on some of the major health problems caused by sleep deprivation. Research has not only linked it with greater risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and obesity but also with blood sugar issues ranging from insulin resistance to diabetes. Why does […]
I see it in my practice all the time—patients who are just plain tired. They come to me complaining that they lack energy and are constantly getting sick and gaining weight. During the course of our discussion, I usually learn they only get four or five hours of sleep a night. Well, it’s no wonder […]
When you think of hormones, the first ones that likely come to mind are estrogen, testosterone, and perhaps progesterone—the so-called sex hormones. That’s pretty natural considering you hear about the effects of sex hormone deficiencies all the time. But your body produces another very important hormone that doesn’t get nearly enough attention, even though a […]
“Antidepressants are making Mom worse.” That’s why Tracy brought her mother, Elinor, in to see me. “She doesn’t want to read or play board games with her friends in the assisted living center or go for rides, and she says she feels like she can’t think straight anymore. I’m really worried about her and thought […]
Good health begins with a good night’s sleep. Damaging toxins are disposed of while you sleep, and broken cells are repaired, processes that require at least eight solid hours of high-quality sleep in a dark room. If that’s not happening, if you’re tossing and turning every night instead, your immune system suffers. And that leaves […]
I have a confession to make. Years ago, when I was first starting my practice, I used to cheat when it came to sleep. It was a bad habit left over from medical school. Overworked students and interns regularly cut corners, staying up a little later each night, getting up earlier, and pulling all-nighters before […]
As a practicing physician, I’m on the front lines when it comes to spotting trends in health and illness. And one thing I’m seeing on the rise is the number of people with autoimmune disorders, something that scientists say has been occurring for the past half century. In part, I suspect the increase could be […]
Many of my patients have been to multiple doctors without getting good results. So, it’s not at all unusual for me to see a patient who has been diagnosed and treated for several different illnesses and still is miserable. That was the case with Elinor, a delightful, 80-something lady whose daughter Tracy brought her to […]