While most people rightfully look at melatonin as a hormone that is instrumental in regulating sleep cycles, its benefits stretch well beyond getting a good night of rest. Recent research into melatonin and heart disease has provided more clues as to how melatonin can help to negate some of the risks of heart disease. This hormone could be the key for some people in managing a host of risks and illnesses associated with cardiovascular issues.
Understanding Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular disease (CVD), otherwise known as heart disease, is the most common cause of death worldwide. It is now estimated that over 17 million deaths occur yearly as a result of cardiovascular disease. This term covers a wide spectrum of health issues, including general heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, stroke, arrhythmia of the heart and heart valve issues.
Risk Factors and Symptoms of Cardiovascular Disease
There are several risk factors that may increase the odds that you develop CVD. The older that you are, the more likely that you are to start exhibiting signs of heart disease. Genetics can also play a role in contributing to the incidence of high blood pressure and the corresponding onset of heart disease.
While you cannot control your age and genetic risk factors, you can control the lifestyle choices that raise the odds that you develop CVD. This includes the use of tobacco, drinking too much alcohol, eating a diet too high in saturated fat and cholesterol and not getting enough physical exercise.
Now that you know the risk factors associated with CVD, let’s take a look at the symptoms of this often deadly disease. The most commonly reported symptoms of heart disease include chest pain and pressure, shortness of breath, numbness and weakness in the arms and legs, dizziness, lightheadedness and swelling in the lower extremities. You should always seek medical help immediately if you notice any of these acute symptoms of heart disease as it can be the sign of an impending heart attack.
Link Between Melatonin and Heart Disease
Because of its far-reaching effects, everyone would be wise to consider what they can do to help to prevent the onset of CVD. The promising news is that because of its prevalence, there has been an astounding amount of research that has gone into understanding CVD and how to mitigate its effects.
One of the most encouraging pieces of research surrounds the link between melatonin and heart disease. Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by the body. However, it is also possible to introduce melatonin into the body in supplement form. Recent studies continue to support the idea that melatonin can be used both as a preventative measure and as an adjunct treatment for CVD.
The heart is vulnerable to damage from chemicals in the environment or other diseases, such as diabetes. However, melatonin has been shown to be able to protect the heart against some of these strikes, particularly when it comes to damage that occurs at the mitochondrial level throughout the body.
In addition, melatonin has been shown to be helpful in regulating blood pressure. It is normal for an individual’s blood pressure to fluctuate throughout a 24-hour day-night cycle. Scientists have discovered that people who see a greater dip in blood pressure overnight tend to have a lower death rate attributed to cardiovascular issues. The use of melatonin supplements can encourage the nocturnal dip in blood pressure. In turn, this regulation of blood pressure promotes good heart health.
By offering protection against oxidative stress, melatonin can also guard the heart against further injury during a heart attack event. Furthermore, the anti-inflammatory properties of melatonin may deliver protection from extensive cell damage that typically occurs after a heart attack or a stroke.
Conflicting Data Relating to Antioxidant Abilities of Melatonin
It is important to note that there is conflicting data relating to the ability of melatonin to offer cardiovascular protection because of its antioxidant properties. While scientists are certain that melatonin can improve the outcome in heart attacks and other cardiovascular events, it seems that this is not necessarily because of its antioxidant abilities.
A 2019 study in rats demonstrated that the protective abilities that melatonin provides the heart are a result of its antiarrhythmic action and not the antioxidant properties. Understanding both the benefits and the limitations to the role that melatonin may play in the prevention and treatment of CVD is crucial in knowing how to best use it for health gains.
The Bottom Line on Melatonin and Heart Disease
The bottom line is that melatonin may play an instrumental role in helping to ward off cardiovascular disease. Because melatonin has been proven to be extremely safe, it is worth exploring how this supplement may be able to boost your overall health while also regulating your sleep cycle. With so many health benefits credited to melatonin, it is worth your time to do more research to understand the various ways that you can improve your health and well-being by supporting healthy melatonin levels in your body.