Food-Sourced Melatonin Provides Natural Way to Help Sleep.


Studies on melatonin have documented that the body’s own melatonin production helps us fall asleep, yet research on supplemental melatonin has been disappointing. What many have missed is that certain foods provide natural forms of melatonin, which have been shown to raise melatonin blood levels naturally and significantly aid sleep.

An abundance of research has linked higher melatonin levels with the ability to fall asleep. Yet this research has been done on the body’s own melatonin production. Melatonin production is stimulated by the pineal gland as the sun sets and the lights dim during the later evening. This helps us fall asleep, as melatonin helps slow down cellular metabolism.

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As most of us age, and especially with higher stress levels, our body’s ability to produce melatonin wanes. This can produce a chronic issue of sleeplessness – which has the potential for producing greater risk of various disorders as we age – as lack of sleep quality has been linked with a myriad of chronic disorders, from chronic fatigue to dementia.

Does Supplement Melatonin Work and Is It Safe?

Yet synthetic melatonin – either produced in the lab or from cow urine – does not produce the same effects as the body’s own (endogenous) melatonin. Some studies have shown that synthetic melatonin can help ones sleep-phase cycles slightly – helping during jet lag or similar situations – when our sleep cycles get messed up.

But as a sleep inducer – synthetic melatonin has been disappointing at best. Some research – such as studies by Dement and Vaughan (1999) – has even found that synthetic melatonin can stunt growth among younger people along with producing a myriad of other side effects such as dizziness and headaches.

Furthermore, supplemental melatonin’s effectiveness as a sleep aid has been shown to be questionable. In an extensive review by researchers from the University of Alberta (Buscemi et al. 2004) prepared for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 932 studies on melatonin since 1999 were analyzed—with 132 being qualified as offering clear results with good protocols. The study concluded that supplemental melatonin was:
• Not effective for treatment of most primary sleep disorders
• Not effective in treating most secondary sleep disorders
• Offered no evidence of effectiveness for jet lag and shift-worker disorders

Certain Natural Foods Provide a Safe Means of Melatonin

Yet little attention has been put on the fact that nature provides another means for increasing blood melatonin levels – by eating certain natural foods.

And recently, research from Thailand’s Khon Kaen University has found that the body’s levels of melatonin can be naturally raised through eating of some tropical fruits.

The researchers used a crossover study design with 30 healthy human subjects to see which fruits – tropical fruits selected for their melatonin content – would naturally raise the body’s melatonin levels.

The researchers tested six tropical fruits among the volunteers, giving them a diet heavy in that particular fruit for one week following a one-week washout. During these periods the researchers analyzed the subjects’ urine levels of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin – also referred to as aMT6s.

Higher levels of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin or aMT6s in the urine indicates higher levels of melatonin circulating within the bloodstream.

With each different fruit, the subjects’ aMT6s levels were tested. The 6-sulfatoxymelatonin (aMT6s) levels after eating some fruits – notably pineapples, bananas and oranges – increased significantly. Pineapples increased 6-sulfatoxymelatonin (aMT6s) levels by over two-and-a-half times (266%) while banana increased aMT6s levels by 180% – almost double. Meanwhile, oranges increased aMT6s levels by 47%.

The other fruits also moderately increased melatonin content among the patients.

Learn more about natural ways to boost melatonin levels and over 200 other natural remedies for getting to sleep.

Other Foods also Provide Melatonin Safely

Other research – as reported by Realnatural – has shown that natural melatonin from red tart Montmorency cherries (Prunus cerasus) can increase sleep efficiency and quality. A study from an international group of researchers found that drinking tart cherry juice for seven days increased sleep by an average of 34 minutes a night – by speeding up falling to sleep – and increased sleep efficiency by 5-6%.

And like the study from Thailand, the research found that drinking cherry juice increased 6-sulfatoxymelatonin levels naturally – without the need of exogenous or synthetic melatonin supplements.

Other foods that naturally increase melatonin levels include oats, sweet corn, rice, ginger, tomatoes, bananas, mangosteen and barley.

Source: Nature

Effects of Patient-Directed Music Intervention on Anxiety and Sedative Exposure in Critically Ill Patients Receiving Mechanical Ventilatory SupportA Randomized Clinical Trial.


ABSTRACT

Importance  Alternatives to sedative medications, such as music, may alleviate the anxiety associated with ventilatory support.

Objective  To test whether listening to self-initiated patient-directed music (PDM) can reduce anxiety and sedative exposure during ventilatory support in critically ill patients.

Design, Setting, and Patients  Randomized clinical trial that enrolled 373 patients from 12 intensive care units (ICUs) at 5 hospitals in the MinneapolisSt Paul, Minnesota, area receiving acute mechanical ventilatory support for respiratory failure between September 2006 and March 2011. Of the patients included in the study, 86% were white, 52% were female, and the mean (SD) age was 59 (14) years. The patients had a mean (SD) Acute Physiology, Age and Chronic Health Evaluation III score of 63 (21.6) and a mean (SD) of 5.7 (6.4) study days.

Interventions  Self-initiated PDM (n = 126) with preferred selections tailored by a music therapist whenever desired while receiving ventilatory support, self-initiated use of noise-canceling headphones (NCH; n = 122), or usual care (n = 125).

Main Outcomes and Measures  Daily assessments of anxiety (on 100-mm visual analog scale) and 2 aggregate measures of sedative exposure (intensity and frequency).

Results  Patients in the PDM group listened to music for a mean (SD) of 79.8 (126) (median [range], 12 [0-796]) minutes/day. Patients in the NCH group wore the noise-abating headphones for a mean (SD) of 34.0 (89.6) (median [range], 0 [0-916]) minutes/day. The mixed-models analysis showed that at any time point, patients in the PDM group had an anxiety score that was 19.5 points lower (95% CI, −32.2 to −6.8) than patients in the usual care group (P = .003). By the fifth study day, anxiety was reduced by 36.5% in PDM patients. The treatment × time interaction showed that PDM significantly reduced both measures of sedative exposure. Compared with usual care, the PDM group had reduced sedation intensity by −0.18 (95% CI, −0.36 to −0.004) points/day (P = .05) and had reduced frequency by −0.21 (95% CI, −0.37 to −0.05) points/day (P = .01). The PDM group had reduced sedation frequency by −0.18 (95% CI, −0.36 to −0.004) points/day vs the NCH group (P = .04). By the fifth study day, the PDM patients received 2 fewer sedative doses (reduction of 38%) and had a reduction of 36% in sedation intensity.

Conclusions and Relevance  Among ICU patients receiving acute ventilatory support for respiratory failure, PDM resulted in greater reduction in anxiety compared with usual care, but not compared with NCH. Concurrently, PDM resulted in greater reduction in sedation frequency compared with usual care or NCH, and greater reduction in sedation intensity compared with usual care, but not compared with NCH.

Source: JAMA

 

 

Intranasal Oxytocin Shows Promise for Alcohol Withdrawal.


In a small pilot trial, the agent lowered withdrawal symptoms, anxiety, and the need for benzodiazepines.

Oxytocin blocks the development of tolerance and attenuates withdrawal symptoms in rodents. This double-blind, randomized study examined effects of oxytocin on alcohol withdrawal symptoms in humans.

The 11 actively drinking, alcohol-dependent participants (9 men; average age, 41) with a history of withdrawal symptoms but not of alcohol withdrawal seizures or delirium tremens underwent inpatient alcohol detoxification. Seven participants received intranasal oxytocin 24 IU twice daily for 3 days, and four received matching intranasal placebo. Lorazepam was given as needed, based on withdrawal symptoms. Oxytocin recipients required almost five times less lorazepam than the placebo recipients and had significantly lower withdrawal ratings on days 1 and 2 and anxiety/tension symptom ratings on day 2.

Comment: This very preliminary study suggests that oxytocin may reduce alcohol withdrawal symptoms in humans. Oxytocin would have advantages over benzodiazepines because it does not itself cause sedative-hypnotic tolerance and instead reverses it. However, oxytocin would be unlikely to prevent alcohol withdrawal seizures or delirium tremens.

Oxytocin has already been shown to reduce anxiety, increase interpersonal trust, and improve social cognition in humans, with no adverse effects, in short-term studies. Oxytocin is currently far from routine clinical use, but it will be exciting to see whether it can reduce drinking in alcohol-dependent outpatients or treat anxiety symptoms and disorders.

Source: Journal Watch Psychiatry