Melatonin is a lot more than just a sleep hormone. It is one of the master hormones that every other hormone relies on. Your melatonin is a key indicator of your overall state of health.
Light is the key to your body synthesizing and using melatonin to complete a laundry list of functions during darkness and sleep. Melatonin is a special hormone because it is known to have different functions in different systems and these functions can even change daily, monthly, and seasonally. These different functions are activated by the changing frequencies of ultraviolet (UV) light. Melatonin is highly-responsive to light signals. Light is the language of human physiology.
The many functions of melatonin include:
- Creates deep restful sleep
- Healing and regeneration of cells
- Energy production
- Acts as an antioxidant to protect from internal cellular damage
- Lowers cortisol levels
- Reduces sex hormone buildup in tissues
- Reduces inflammation
- Increases immune function
- Regulates timing and energy cycles in all cells
- Improves mitochondrial function and electrical potential
- Gets rid of old non-functioning cells and helps create new healthy ones
- Stops pathological expression of DNA by reducing stress in cells
- Protects mitochondrial DNA from mutations
- Aids in fat burning
- Involved in learning, focus, mood, behavior, mental health, and stops brain and nervous system degeneration
- Regenerates light-sensing proteins and molecules.
- One of the keys to mitochondrial health
Melatonin function is an important factor in any chronic disease as you can probably tell.
Your Gut Health Is Tied To Your Ability To Create Melatonin
Did you know that if your digestive system doesn’t work like it should it will not allow your body to create melatonin and initiate sleep?
Melatonin generation is dependent on having a healthy microbiome. Your gut microbiome is the combination of all the microorganisms, bacteria, viruses, and other so-called “germs” that live in your digestive tract.
Your gut health is foundational to overall health. This is why so many diseases start with digestive issues and an imbalance in your gut microbiome. From a holistic perspective, this is addressed by identifying and dealing with the root causes that created the imbalance in the first place, not by treating the digestion-related symptoms.
Tryptophan > Serotonin > Melatonin
For your body to make melatonin, it needs serotonin. Serotonin is another important hormone that has a wide array of functions. The main function is to carry messages from your brain to the rest of your body. It has a significant role in behavior, mental health, learning, memory, happiness, libido, body temperature, sleep, wakefulness, hunger, digestive health, wound healing, and bone health. Your microbiome makes 90-95% of the serotonin in your digestive system.
Serotonin is made in your digestive tract by the amino acid tryptophan. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. When proteins enter your stomach they are broken down by your stomach acid into usable amino acids. Certain amino acids like tryptophan need to be activated by the correct frequency of light or they don’t work. The frequency for tryptophan is 280 nanometers which is in the range of UV light.
The UV light that is required to activate certain amino acids comes from a healthy gut microbiome and enterochromaffin cells. A healthy digestive tract emits a lot of light! And the healthier it is, the more light it emits. In fact, scientists use light to test the quality of probiotics. Different types of bacteria emit light differently.
If your microbiome is substandard or your gut lacks melanin, unhealthy light signals will be present in your digestive tract and your poor little tryptophans won’t be turned into serotonin, which is what makes melatonin. So no melatonin or serotonin. Double whammy!
Gut Health is a Light Story
When UV light is emitted by a healthy microbiome and gut melanin, it is received by light-sensing cells inside the walls of your digestive tract. They’re called enterochromaffin cells. They’re loaded with melanin, a light-absorbing and fluorescing pigment. Enterochromaffin cells in your intestines are where your tryptophan is converted into serotonin from receiving the correct light signals and then stored within bubble-like vesicles within the enterochromaffin cells. Is it a coincidence that these amino acids hang out in light-responding cells? Did Mother Nature make a mistake and accidentally put light sensors in your digestive tract? I think not!
After tryptophan has been activated by the light in your gut during the day and you have all your serotonin stored in the cells of your digestive system, it is ready to be turned into melatonin at night.
Are you interested in learning everything you need to know about melatonin? You’re still missing key parts of the melatonin story…
The rest of this post includes:
- The critical elements that allow your body to create its own melatonin. (You probably don’t know these.)
- How your body and hormone cycles are synced to signals in your environment. Learn which of those signals are good and which are bad.
- Why trying to fix digestive dysfunction using only diet doesn’t work.
- Why eating after sunset throws off your sleep and hormonal rhythms.
- What your eyes, digestive tract, and brain need at night (Hint: it has to do with making your brain glow…)
- Common practices that destroy your body’s ability to make melatonin. There are a few things that most people don’t realize they’re doing that are ruining their sleep.
- Why taking supplemental melatonin is actually harmful.
- Find out what the perfect melatonin resetting and creating treatment looks like… and I think you’ll like it!
If you’re ready to learn how melatonin creates sleep, creates your ability to heal and reverse disease, and what you can do to maximize its production, sign up for Meridiogram to unlock exclusive access to the subscriber-only Meridiogram Learning Library.
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