When you pop a melatonin pill, a couple of hours before bed, melatonin crashes your dinner party – negatively impacting glycemic control, increasing your odds of diabetes.
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The risks of melatonin supplements
You know sleep is important, unfortunately it doesn’t come easy to you……………..
Your night valet is tardy.
Since you are a go getter, you don’t let the failings of your personal night valet, interfere with GETTING A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP. You outsource his services, to a stand in night valet, by popping a melatonin supplement, a few hours before bed.
It works like a charm…..
You can enjoy your evenings and WHEN YOU’RE READY, with minimum fuss and bother, hop into bed and be asleep a minute or two, after your head hits the pillow.
A melatonin supplement can help you SURVIVE.
Empowering you, to get the sleep you need, but it can be risky….
The risk comes if you’re carrying one particular variant of melatonin 2 receptor.
Yes you can – but should you ?
People who carry the super duper version of this receptor and people who have a dud version, have a much higher odds of developing type 2 diabetes.
It’s the super duper version that requires caution.
And since this is a common variant, the odds that you have it, are quite high.
So what does it do ?
The gene makes melatonin 2 receptors, which are expressed on the surface of beta cells. If you’ve got none, you’re in trouble, but if you’ve got lots, you’re also in trouble, because your beta cells are very sensitive to melatonin.
Circulating melatonin signals to beta cells, that it is time to knock off. This is something that hard working beta cells REALLY appreciate. When melatonin is around, they know, it’s okay to kick back and relax.
The human they’re serving is IN SLEEP MODE.
There is not going to be any need, to spring into action and pump out insulin, because the kitchen is closed FOR THE DAY. In fact, this is the time, when all those groceries that they have helped to squirrel away, will be unpacked and used.
Insulin levels will be kept super low, until melatonin leaves.
What the hell is this ?
Once dinner has been served, and enjoyed – melatonin will clear the plates, as your retire for the evening.
When you pop a melatonin pill, a couple of hours before bed, the night shift boss, arrives, in the midst of the dinner run.
Chaos. Confusion. Crisis.
The poor old beta cells don’t know if they are coming or going !
The night shift boss RULES
They’ve received the signal to cease insulin production for the evening, right at the moment, when insulin is NEEDED.
The ability to put away, the current batch of groceries IS COMPROMISED.
Glycemic control waivers.
Here is what happens when healthy women take 5 mg of melatonin, just before doing an oral glucose tolerance test.
The glucose levels are significantly higher, when the pill is taking at breakfast time and at dinner time. The reason the impact is bigger in the evening, is because the body’s ability to handle sugar is already lower later in the day.
Remember, this is in healthy ladies……..
If you’re metabolically challenged, the picture is going to be worse.
The melatonin risk
If glucose levels are constantly bumped out of range, the system becomes vulnerable, to a catastrophic failure and when beta cells fail, you get a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
By taking a melatonin as a sleep aide, what you gain on the swings, because you are sleeping better, is lost on the round about, because you have poorer glycemic control. Eish !
It’s not just a dinner thing
Thanks to the way exogenous melatonin behaves in the body, it’s easy to make a “mess” of things, both at dinner time AND breakfast.
Melatonin kinetics explained
Let’s say you take a dose of 5 mg of a fast release formula, around 7 pm in the evening. Based on the pharmacokinetics of insulin, the melatonin levels would peak in your system, around 30-45 minutes later. It’s at this point, the melatonin supplement, would begin the task of “getting you ready for bed”.
The peak would be around 10 times higher, than what you would reach, naturally.
Plus, if you’re having a later supper, the levels would be at their highest, just as you are sitting down to your evening meal. And, because you plopped 10 times more than “normal”, even when you wake up, after your fabulous night of sleep, there could still be melatonin in your system. Enough to cause consternation and confusion, in the beta cells, if you opt for an early breakfast, especially if they’re melatonin “sensitive”.
Sleep don’t eat
The take home message…….
Melatonin and eating should never happen SIMULTANEOUSLY.
The principle applies whether you are using melatonin as a sleep aide or not.
But when you’re relying on endogenous melatonin to send you to dreamland, your activities before bed, tend to keep melatonin hiding in the cupboard, so he is a whole lot less likely to crash your dinner party. This doesn’t happen when you’re taking melatonin supplement as a sleep aide, because you’re manipulating the system.
Should you supplement ?
There is lots of science to suggest melatonin is healthful, so it’s probably okay to do it, but you do need to be cognisant of the biology. When it comes to melatonin……
TIMING IS EVERYTHING !
Use biology to supplement wisely
Based on the biology, the optimum time take exogenous melatonin, would be at least 2 hours after the last meal, to allow partial recovery of normal plasma glucose values, before melatonin arrives.
NOTE : If you’re struggling to get glucose packed away, something that is common when you are metabolically compromised, the 2 hour window, may need to be extended.
Melatonin Effects On Glucose Metabolism: Time To Unlock The Controversy. Trends Endocrinol Metab. (2020) 31(3): 192–204. Marta Garaulet, Jingyi Qian, Jose C. Florez, Josephine Arendt, Richa Saxena, Frank A.J.L. Scheer.
“Eating” food, whether it be healthy or not so healthy, is STRESS FUL. To create BETTER BODY CHEMISTRY, you need to give, your digestive tract, time off
If you eat, when you should be asleep, the enzymes contracted to work the night shift clock in for work, but they don’t do the work, so fat burning ceases.
Stuck in the warm dark gut, your gut microflora depend on you to tell time. If you get it wrong, they get confused. And this is T-R-O-U-B-L-E.