Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland that also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The release of melatonin follows a circadian pattern, meaning there is an increased rate of release at night compared to day time release. Melatonin helps initiating and maintaining sleep. For this reason, melatonin supplements are used widely in the United States primarily as an aid for falling asleep and not waking up during the night. In addition to being a sleep helper, melatonin supplements seem to improve metabolic syndrome, according to research.
Metabolic syndrome is a definite risk factor for cancer, type II diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Losing weight through dieting and exercise have tremendous benefits for patients with metabolic syndrome. Supplemental melatonin can also help improving blood sugar, blood pressure, and even obesity. Not surprisingly, people with metabolic syndrome tend to have decreased melatonin levels.
Research has clearly shown that taking melatonin supplements may protect against many of the components of metabolic syndrome including insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and abdominal obesity. In essence, in people with metabolic syndrome, melatonin not only helps improving sleep, which in turn promotes a healthy metabolism, but it can also improve metabolic syndrome.