3 Reasons to use Melatonin

Melatonin – or as we like to call it, the wonder hormone – is a hormone produced by the pineal gland; a tiny gland found in our brain.

This gland is thought of as the master controller of our body clock. It manages our day-to-day circadian rhythm, telling us when to sleep and when to wake, and our longer-term biological clock, telling us when we get to experience those wonderful major hormonal milestones, such as puberty and menopause!pineal-gland

The pineal gland controls our circadian rhythms by releasing melatonin. Melatonin synthesis and its release is stimulated by darkness and hence is primarily produced at night. Typically, melatonin is used as a sleep aid to help people overcome jetlag or to help shift workers who have difficulty sleeping.

And that’s why we started using melatonin – to help us sleep. However, melatonin can also help with regulating hormones, thyroid function, our immune system and even help with slowing down aging!

Here are 3 of the benefits to using melatonin:

  1. Melatonin improves your sleep

As we mention above, our pineal gland controls our wake-sleep cycles by releasing melatonin. Melatonin is stimulated by darkness. However, when we watch tv before going to bed or lay in bed playing with our phones, the light from these devices interrupts the release of melatonin.

This disruption throws off the entire melatonin cycle, impacting both the quality and length of your sleep. When you don’t sleep, you suppress all of the systems in your body. Supplementing with melatonin helps your body to regulate its sleep-wake cycle and helps to prevent a breakdown of the other systems in your body.

sleeping

2. Melatonin helps to regulate hormones

I started supplementing with melatonin to help with sleep. However, after a couple of weeks using it, my period returned – after missing for five years! Initially I thought that this was down to the melatonin improving my sleep and therefore reducing the amount of stress in my body. Yet after some further research, I found that melatonin can actually help with regulating hormones.

Italian physician Walter Pierpaoli, MD, in particular, has spent decades researching melatonin and its effects on hormones. Dr. Pierpaoli believes that supplementing with melatonin can not only re-synchronize our circadian rhythms and wake-sleep cycles but also our overall endocrine system.

In one of his studies, Dr. Pierpaoli looked at perimenopausal and menopausal women aged between 42 and 62. This study found that using melatonin supplements for 6 months:

  • Increased estrogen levels,
  • Improved thyroid function,
  • Reduced follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) levels in the women under 50,
  • Restored normal menstrual cycles in the younger women,
  • Restored normal menstrual cycles in a number of women who were already postmenopausal,
  • Delayed characteristic endocrine changes that occur during menopause, and
  • Helped with the conversion of T4 to T3, resulting in increased T3 levels in the study group.

3. Melatonin can help slow down aging

As we age, the pineal gland produces less and less melatonin. This natural decline means the pineal gland has to work harder to produce the melatonin we require to sleep well. Supplementing with melatonin allows the pineal gland to rest, protecting the pineal gland from aging and slowing down the aging process of our other glands and organs.

Studies of mice and the effects of melatonin have shown that, when provided with a melatonin supplement, the treated mice demonstrated regained energy, a youthful sex drive and a normal thyroid hormone cycle. As such, melatonin may slow some of the effects of aging.

 

I really believe that melatonin is one of the reasons my period returned after five years. Not only are my hormones returning to normal levels, I also feel much more relaxed and even rested when I wake up in the morning. One thing I should mention though – if you do decided to supplement with melatonin, just be aware that your dreams can become very vivid!!

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Do you have a magnesium deficiency?

Do you suffer from ‘growing pains’? Muscle cramps? Insomnia? Anxiety? PMS or even chronic fatigue? If so, you might have a magnesium deficit.

Magnesium is a powerful mineral that is important for helping our bodies to function. Anything that is cramped, tight, irritable and stiff — a body part or a mood — is an indication of magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is responsible for more than 300 enzyme reactions and is found in all our muscles, bones and brain. We need magnesium to help our cells make energy, stabilize membranes and help our muscles relax.

The list of symptoms caused by a magnesium deficiency is long – medical references show there are more than 3,500! These are the most common:

  • Muscle cramps or ‘growing pains’magnesium deficiency
  • Muscle twitches
  • Restless Legs Syndrome
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Insomnia
  • Sensitivity to loud noises
  • Anxiety
  • PMS
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Irritability
  • Palpitations
  • Asthma
  • Kidney stones
  • Irritable bladder, and
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

Magnesium deficiency has also been connected to whole body inflammation (and as you know, inflammation is a problem/cause of all autoimmune diseases).

Unfortunately, our modern world can again be blamed for why so many people suffer from these issues. Many of us live on a diet of highly-processed, refined food that is predominantly made from white flour and sugar – all of which contain no magnesium! Furthermore, magnesium is poorly absorbed, and easily lost, from our bodies – especially when we consume excess alcohol, coffee, table salt, or are involved in intense exercise with lots of sweating or prolonged stress (which also relates to adrenal fatigue!).

Toxic Food - What NOT to eat with Hashimoto's

However, a number of medical studies have found that these symptoms can be reduced or eliminated by adding a magnesium supplement to our diet.

The most absorbable forms are magnesium citrate, glycinate and taurate. It’s important to note though that the magnesium found in those cheap, supermarket shelf supplements are often magnesium carbonate, sulfate, gluconate and oxide. These are poorly absorbed by our bodies and best avoided.

In order to aid in its absorption, magnesium supplements should also be taken alongside Vitamin B6 and Vitamin D.

To really amp up the absorption, you can take a warm bath with Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate)…we like to use our Epson salt bath as time to meditate and take some time out for ourselves!

Now, you’ll know if you have taken too much magnesium as you’ll be running to the toilet all day! If this occurs, just scale back the about of magnesium you are taking.

We like to take our magnesium supplements at night. This helps our bodies to relax and sleep better. We also find that magnesium really helps with our stress levels!!

Improve your sleep with this one easy task

What does your average day look like? Is it filled with rushing around, trying to fit in everything? Do you sacrifice an hour or two of sleep just to make sure you can tick those jobs off your to-do list? We definitely do.

But have a think about this…how do you feel when you don’t exercise for a week? Sluggish? Lazy? Tired? Ok, now have a think about how you feel when you don’t sleep for a week…that’s right, you probably can’t think! Or function for that matter!

Sleep is vital to everything we do. It’s our body’s way of recovering.

sleeping

Unfortunately, in today’s fast paced world we often sacrifice sleep to get our jobs done. Or when we do sleep, it’s often broken or disturbed. Who can remember the last time they woke up feeling well rested and ready to take on the day? Hmmm, not us.

That’s where a sleep diary comes in. Keeping a sleep diary can help you to identify things that happened during the day that may be impacting your ability to have a good night’s rest. It might seem like a pain, and just another thing to tick off your to-do list, but it can really help.

Here’s how to start one:

Draw up a simple table, divided by morning, during the day and at night. In each section, record particular events, such as:

Morning

  • What time you got out of bed
  • What time you wake up properly (because how many of us really wake up as soon as we jump – or roll – out of bed?)
  • Whether or not you feel rested when you wake
  • Any aches or pains not felt the previous night, especially jaw/tooth related aches

During the Day

  • The amount of caffeine consumed (type e.g. coffee or tea, amount and what time was it)
  • The amount of alcohol consumed (again, type, amount and what time it was)
  • Any stressful events (what kind of events were they, work related, family related? Do you think they will continue tomorrow or were they a once off?)
  • Exercise (what exercise did you do, at what time and for how long)
  • Did you have any daytime naps (if so, what time of day and what was the length of nap)
  • Any medications taken, whether they worked and how they made you feel the next day

At Night

  • What time you went to bed
  • The last foods eaten before going to bed, including the amount of each food
  • The estimated time it took you to fall asleep
  • How many times your sleep was disturbed and how long it took to fall back asleep
  • The total time spent sleeping (not lying in bed)
  • Anything else about the night you feel is relevant to record.

It’s important to make sure you are consistent with this diary. Ideally you should keep one for a couple of weeks to help accurately determine the root cause of your sleep problems.

By being diligent about updating your sleep diary throughout the day, you can also start to determine what is inside and outside the realm of your control. Hopefully keeping this diary will help you realise what is impacting your sleep. If after a couple of weeks of recording your sleep you can’t pinpoint the root cause of your poor rest, take it to a doctor or sleep specialist and they may be able to help with diagnosing a particular sleep disorder.

Why I Love…Sleep

Unfortunately, the fast paced, Western world we live in is interfering with our natural sleep patterns. Not only are we sleeping less than we did in the past, our sleep quality has also decreased.

We all know that a bad night’s sleep is not beneficial. Besides the dark circles under the eyes and a foggy brain, lack of sleep can actually increase your risk of heart disease and stroke, obesity and negatively impact your immune function!

Sleep is vitally important, not only for your health, but also your wellbeing. Here are some of the reasons why we love sleep (we say ‘some’ because our list of why we love sleep would top at least 100).

Recover from Adrenal Fatigue

  1. It can help to balance your hunger hormones

You know that feeling of endless hunger, where no food will satisfy your cravings? You’ve probably experienced it after a late or restless night. Studies show that sleep deprived individuals have a bigger appetite and tend to eat more calories. A good night’s sleep helps to maintain a balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) and full (leptin). When we have a poor night’s sleep, this balance is disrupted, leading to poor appetite regulation.

     2. It can reduce inflammation

Sleep loss has been linked to long-term inflammation and cell damage. Poor sleep can adversely impact our body’s inflammatory responses and increase the risk of inflammatory disease recurrence. Studies have shown that patients with Crohn’s disease who were sleep deprived were twice as likely to relapse compared to patients who slept well. On the other hand, solid sleep helps the body in its recovery process and keep inflammation at bay.

     3. It can help to improve your workouts

Have you ever tried to workout after a night of poor sleep? Yep, not that great. That’s because sleep has been shown to improve athletic performance, including reaction time, speed and accuracy. If you really want to improve and make decent progress with your exercise plan you may want to consider getting more shut eye.

      4. It can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke

Did you know, sleeping less than 7 hours a night has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke? Both sleep quality and duration are believed to drive chronic disease. Get some rest!

       5. It can improve your immune function

A good night’s sleep can improve your immune function and ability to fight of disease – especially the common cold. Even a minor loss in sleep can impair your immune function. Studies have shown that people who sleep less than 7 hours a night are almost three times more likely to catch a cold than people who sleep 8 or more hours.

Copper Toxicity – My Story

Copper

2015 was a dreadful year. In January I had to have a vaccination deemed compulsory for my university placement. The affects of this vaccine on my body were terrible…although terrible is probably an understatement! I now know it was due to the fact that I have an impaired methylation cycle and my body cannot detoxify heavy metals – which are used as adjuvants in vaccines.

Adjuvant: An adjuvant is a substance that is added to a vaccine to increase the body’s immune response to the vaccine.

Methylation: Methylation is a vital metabolic process that occurs in every cell and organ of our body. There would be no life without it!

As a result of my body’s inability to detox itself, I went through many tests to try an understand why I couldn’t function. Finally I discovered I had a copper toxicity problem.

I seriously thought I was going crazy. Try explaining to your GP that you feel like your head is too heavy for your body! My GP thought I was insane. My copper toxicity symptoms also caused a racing mind and a terrible “tired but wired” feeling.

My body’s inability to detoxify itself meant any heavy metals that I came in contact with (and they are a lot more common than you would think) would just continue to build up in my system. This meant I could not sleep for a YEAR! It is true and I tried every sleep aid, natural and prescription on the market that you can imagine (Stilnox was the worst, I was so worried about what I might have done under it that I had to have mum sleep in the bed with me).

The more I couldn’t sleep, the more the heavy metals built up in my body and then the more I couldn’t sleep. This negative feedback loop compounded my symptoms and by the end of the year I was at the point of having to admit myself to hospital.

I felt like I was going crazy, I couldn’t function, I couldn’t sleep – all I would do is lie in my bed and cry. In my most depressed state, I couldn’t see anyway out.

But thankfully I did!! And please trust me when I say that there is always help, it might take time, but you will get back your health.

Dealing with copper toxicity is tough at the best of times and to make it worse, it often goes unrecognized by doctors. Because of this, we’ve decided to write a group of blog posts on everything we know about copper toxicity and the process we took to help detoxify heavy metals. We really hope that our experience can help you in your recovery.