MELATONIN - W O W !
As Cortisol goes up Melatonin goes down. As we age we PRODUCE LESS of this hormone which can impact more than just our ability to get a good night sleep. Melatonin plays a role in so many crucial systems in our body we really need to sit up/lay down (LOL) and figure this out!
SKIP THIS PART (YUCK):
THE AGING BODY
'The concept of “aging” is defined as the set of gradual and progressive changes in an organism that leads to an increased risk of weakness, disease, and death. This process may occur at the cellular and organ level, as well as in the entire organism of any living being. During aging, there is a decrease in biological functions and in the ability to adapt to metabolic stress. General effects of aging include mitochondrial, cellular, and organic dysfunction, immune impairment or inflammaging, oxidative stress, cognitive and cardiovascular alterations, among others. Therefore, one of the main harmful consequences of aging is the development and progression of multiple diseases related to these processes, especially at the cardiovascular and central nervous system levels. Both cardiovascular and neurodegenerative pathologies are highly disabling and, in many cases, lethal.
HERE'S THE GOOD NEWS
THERE IS A BRIGHT STAR EMERGING
M E L A T O N I N, a hormone with versatile functions, plays a significant role in the fight against aging. Through its ability to penetrate cell membranes, organelles, and even the nucleus, melatonin exerts non-receptor-mediated effects that combat aging processes.
1. SURPRISE ! IT'S A BIG TIME ANTIOXIDANT
Its prowess as an antioxidant is pivotal in neutralizing harmful free radicals and bolstering cellular defence mechanisms. By directly scavenging free radicals and augmenting the activity of antioxidant enzymes, melatonin shields vital cellular components, such as lipids, proteins, and DNA, from oxidative damage - a hallmark of aging. This antioxidant capability is especially impactful in preserving mitochondrial function, the energy-producing centres in cells, where free radicals are naturally generated as a consequence of cellular respiration. it's not just a hormone; it's an antioxidant dynamo. It's like the bouncer at the club, shooing away those rowdy free radicals, and even rallying the antioxidant troops to keep the cell party in check. Talk about VIP treatment for lipids, proteins, and DNA, shielding them from the chaos of oxidative damage – the ultimate cell spa day!
2. IT'S THE BEST BABYSITTER FOR YOUR MITOCHONDRIA
Beyond its antioxidant prowess, melatonin's superhero influence extends to critical mitochondrial functions that relate to aging. It not only safeguards mitochondrial DNA from mutations and damage but also regulates the activities of key components within the mitochondria. Importantly, melatonin acts as a gatekeeper, preventing the leakage of specific molecules like cytochrome c, which can trigger cell death. These actions collectively bolster the resilience and efficiency of mitochondria, thereby contributing to the overall slowdown of aging. Bravo, melatonin, for keeping the energy show running smoothly!
3. IT'S ALWAYS ON THE A-LIST FOR THE CELLULAR PARTY
In the realm of cellular processes (PARTIES), melatonin's schmoozing interactions with proteins and genes further underscore its anti-aging effects. By directly engaging with proteins and slowing down protein breakdown and helping with cellular maintenance, melatonin aids in sustaining the cellular environment, promoting longevity (keeping the party going !). Additionally, its influence on gene expression, particularly those related to the body's internal clock, contributes to the harmonious orchestration of physiological functions, mitigating age-related imbalances (everyone is having a blast). This ensures that the genetic information within cells remains accurate and functional. It's all about keeping the body's rhythm in tune and showing those age-related imbalances who's boss.
4. IT KEEPS YOUR BRAIN AT ITS BEST
Neuroprotection refers to strategies or mechanisms that help safeguard neurons (nerve cells) from damage or degeneration, ultimately promoting brain health. Melatonin has gained attention for its potential neuroprotective effects, and researchers have been exploring how melatonin influences gene expression to support neuronal well-being.
Melatonin's Effects on Gene Expression in Neuroprotection:
BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) Expression: Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) is a protein that plays a crucial role in promoting the growth, survival, and maintenance of neurons. Studies have shown that melatonin can up regulate BDNF gene expression acting like the brain's motivational speaker. Melatonin cranks up its volume, giving neurons a pep talk for growth, survival, and overall superstar status. It's like brain cells hitting the gym and acing their mental push-ups.Increased BDNF levels are associated with enhanced neuronal plasticity, improved cognitive function, and a reduced risk of neurodegenerative disorders.YAY!
Anti-Apoptotic Genes: Apoptosis is a natural process of programmed cell death that occurs in cells as part of normal development or in response to damage. However, excessive apoptosis can contribute to neurodegenerative diseases. Melatonin has been found to influence the expression of genes that inhibit apoptosis, promoting cell survival and preventing excessive neuronal death. It's like melatonin taking centre stage to calm the cell's dramatic exit strategy. It whispers to those drama-prone genes, "We want survival, not theatrics!"
Glutamate Regulation: Glutamate is a neurotransmitter involved in various brain functions, but excessive levels can lead to excitotoxicity. Glutamate plays the role of being the brain's DJ, but too much hype can be a headache. Melatonin steps in, adjusting the tunes with its gene-editing skills, ensuring a harmonious party without any ear-splitting surprises, which is harmful to neurons. Melatonin can modulate the expression of genes related to glutamate metabolism and receptors, helping to maintain a balanced and healthy glutamate environment in the brain.
Mitochondrial Health: Melatonin's effects on gene expression extend to the mitochondria, the energy-producing structures within cells. It has been shown to influence genes related to mitochondrial function and biogenesis, enhancing the efficiency of energy production and reducing oxidative stress within neurons. Here melatonin becomes a mitochondria guru, giving those energy factories a makeover. It tweaks genes, making sure they're efficient and free of oxidative stress. It's like melatonin's hosting a mitochondria spa day.
Inflammation and Immune Response: Chronic inflammation can contribute to neurodegeneration. Melatonin's anti-inflammatory effects, mediated by gene expression changes, help mitigate inflammation in the brain and create a more favourable environment for neuronal survival. Inflammation's a party crasher, but melatonin's the chill host. It's like melatonin's handing out zen vibes, keeping brain cells happy and cool.
Autophagy Regulation: Autophagy is a process by which cells remove damaged components and recycle them. Dysregulation of autophagy is implicated in neurodegenerative diseases. Melatonin has been found to modulate genes involved in autophagy, promoting a healthy turnover of cellular components and supporting neuronal longevity.Melatonin takes on a Marie Kondo role, decluttering cell spaces. It choreographs genes to clean house and recycle junk, leaving cells tidy and rejuvenated. Imagine it as a cellular tidying expert. We could all use a little "marie kondo" in our life LOL!
By influencing the expression of these and other genes, melatonin contributes to a cellular environment that is conducive to neuronal health, plasticity, and longevity. This creates a neuron-friendly environment, where brain cells groove and thrive. Melatonin can be viewed as a potential therapeutic agent in neurodegenerative conditions and highlights its broader role in promoting healthy aging and cognitive function. It's the brain's secret agent, fighting off neurodegenerative villains and promoting a smarter, wiser, and healthier mind. So, here's to melatonin – the brain's fearless protector with a gene-expression twist, making sure our grey matter stays vibrant and full of life!
5. ITS DNA'S BODYGUARD
Now, for the grand finale: DNA protection. Melatonin swoops in like a genetic bodyguard, telling those pesky factors causing DNA stress to take a hike. It's like a DNA spa retreat, pampering our genetic code and ensuring it stays fresher than a mountain breeze. Melatonin's role in guarding against DNA damage adds another layer of anti-aging capability. By reducing the expression of factors that contribute to DNA damage and stress response, melatonin contributes to the preservation of genetic integrity. Its multifaceted actions, ranging from antioxidant protection to genetic regulation, collectively position melatonin as a potent ally in the battle against aging, offering a comprehensive approach to promoting and prolonging a healthier, more youthful cellular state.
WE NEED A PLAN TO KEEP OUR MELATONIN WORKING PROPERLY
1. Rise and Shine - Get some sun in your eyes
Bask in the morning sun for at least 15 minutes to kickstart your melatonin production. It's like your body's way of saying, "Good morning, world! Let's regulate this sleep thing."
Getting some sunshine each day helps regulates your internal clock and aids the production of melatonin. Sunlight makes serotonin which precursor of melatonin. It is reported that serotonin converts into melatonin when it becomes dark.
2. Embrace the Dark Side
No, we're not talking about donning a Sith Lord costume. Sleeping in complete darkness can work wonders for your melatonin levels. Think of it as your body's backstage pass to a melatonin party – the darker the room, the better the production. Cue the curtains, please!
3. Brew Less, Sleep More
Coffee lovers, we feel your dilemma – that aromatic cup of magic is hard to resist. But here's the deal: coffee and melatonin don't exactly tango well. Cut back on the caffeine circus at least six hours before bedtime or avoid after lunch. Don't worry, there are countless caffeine alternatives that won't crash your sleep party. Investigate the world of dreamy teas waiting to serenade you into sleep – it's like a bedtime story for your taste buds.
4. Light Dimming Drama
In today’s day and age, it is not uncommon to be surrounded by bright lights right up until bedtime. Bright lights at night can confuse and disrupt our internal body clock. Melatonin uses darkness as the trigger to increase so light inhibits its production. Dim those lights at least an hour before bedtime – it's your cue to the melatonin actors to shine. As darkness falls, melatonin takes centre stage, making your sleep a blockbuster hit.
5. Screen Time Shenanigans
Ah, screens – the modern-day fairy lights that dance in our hands. But beware, the blue light jig they do can mess with melatonin's groove. Your melatonin's not a fan. It's like throwing a rave when your sleep hormone wants a serene spa day. These devices include: TV, smartphones, tablets, computer monitors, and LED and fluorescent lightbulbs. Consider it a digital curfew – time to tuck those screens away or invite blue light-blocking glasses to the party. Or hey, let your devices slip into their cozy "night mode" pyjamas after sunset.
6. Stressed? Let's Unwind
Stress is like the pesky neighbour who won't stop knocking. The stress hormone cortisol can inhibit the release of norepinephrine and therefore the release of melatonin. Show it the door with soothing techniques – meditation, deep breaths, and a sprinkle of mindfulness. Your melatonin deserves a stress-free environment for its nightly performance.
7. Bath Bliss
Picture this: you, soaking in a hot bath, stress melting away like ice cream on a summer day.
There are many sleep benefits to taking a hot bath. The first is that our body temperature needs to cool down in order to feel sleepy. It is the drop in temperature after getting out of a hot bath that helps us to feel sleepy. The next is that research shows that a hot bath can actually increase the production of melatonin. Scientists aren’t sure yet but believe that relaxing in the bath reduces the stress hormone cortisol that wakes us up and brings on the production of melatonin.So, go ahead, dive into that dreamy oasis.
8. Food: Your Ticket to the Dreamiest Buffet in Town
Picture this: a buffet spread filled with sleep-inducing goodies that have high levels of melatonin naturally. Cherries, goji berries, eggs, fish, milk
and walnuts/almonds – they're like the A-listers of melatonin-rich foods. Whip up a sleep-inducing smoothie or dive into a salmon omelette for a dreamy feast. It's like a culinary lullaby for your taste buds and your sleep hormones.
9. Magnesium: The Snooze-Inducing Potion from Nature's Lab
This nutrient plays a role in slowing brain activity at night. By decreasing cortisol in allows melatonin to rise.Avocados, almonds, and leafy greens – they're like the knights in shining armour for slowing down your brain's midnight sprint. Magnesium's the wizard behind the curtain, preparing a dreamy potion for sleep. It's like a quiet lullaby for your racing thoughts.
Conclusion: Embrace the Melatonin Magic
Melatonin's influence extends far beyond a peaceful night's sleep. From its antioxidant prowess to its impact on neuronal health, plasticity, and longevity, melatonin is an invaluable player in our overall well-being. By nurturing its natural production through lifestyle choices, we can unlock its full potential and revel in the benefits it offers to our health and vitality. So, embrace the melatonin magic, and let it guide you toward a healthier and more restful life.