Melatonin in Menopause - Take Heart If You Need Sleep

As you get into the menopause years your cholesterol may start rising, and your sleep may start to decline. What if you could treat both of those problems in one little supplement? A small study of 46 Japanese women suggests that we may someday be able to do just that. The women, whose average age was 44, showed that their levels of nighttime melatonin correlated with their levels of HDL cholesterol (so-called "good" cholesterol).
Furthermore, in 10 women who took a milligram a day of melatonin supplement, their HDL cholesterol rose significantly, without raising their overall cholesterol readings. This is a promising discovery, and may imply a role for melatonin in preventing heart disease in peri- and postmenopausal woman.
Since insomnia is one of the more frustrating and distressing symptoms that women experience during menopause, melatonin has long been used as a temporary remedy to help establish a normal sleep pattern. If it turns out that melatonin also has a positive effect on cholesterol readings, it may be a 'two birds' approach that women will accept as a more natural way to manage their menopausal changes.
But before you go running out to start yourself on melatonin, check with your medical provider. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate sleep cycles, but it is also very active in immune response and blood clotting, among other important processes. If you are on steroid hormones, blood pressure medication, blood thinners, antidepressants or other medications, you will want to check to be sure melatonin won't interact in a way that could harm you.
It would be a boon to women suffering from insomnia if melatonin turns out to be not only good for regulating sleep, but helpful in regulating cholesterol levels and preventing heart disease. Tomorrow you may want to check with your doc about whether this supplement is a good one for you. Sleep on it.

By Kate Bracy

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