Melatonin is a natural hormone that is associated with sleep, but did you know that current research also shows that it can help with hair growth?
In this post, I will introduce melatonin and its uses.
First, I will share the two main ways in which melatonin helps in hair growth.
Secondly, I will discuss the symptoms of a melatonin deficiency and the side effects of melatonin supplementation.
Lastly, I will share three Natural ways you can increase your body's melatonin levels.
What is melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone produced in animals that regulates sleep and wakefulness. The hormone is produced by the pineal gland.
While our bodies naturally produce this hormone, there are supplements available for individuals with insomnia. A low dose of the supplement, when taken orally, can promote healthy sleep patterns.
Interestingly, melatonin has also been shown to positively benefit hair growth in individuals with hair loss.
How Melatonin Promotes Hair Growth
Although the exact mechanism for the effects of melatonin on hair growth is not known, we know a few things about the hormone based on recent scientific findings.
Induces anagen phase
There are three main stages within the hair growth cycle. They are:
- Anagen (active growth)
- Catagen (transition)
- Telogen (rest)
In individuals with androgenetic alopecia (AAG), sensitivity to DHT may lead to hair follicle miniaturization. This is due to inflammation, and the hair is no longer able to protrude from the follicle.
This shortens the anagen phase and leads to hair follicle miniaturization associated with the condition.
There are many treatments - internal and topical - that have been shown to effectively induce anagen phase hair growth in patients with AGA. In 2004, melatonin was added to the list of topical hair loss treatments thanks to a study from Germany.
Forty women with AGA or diffuse alopecia were included in the study. The women were divided into two groups (randomized). Group 1 received a daily application of 0.1% melatonin and group 2 received a daily application of a placebo. This lasted 6 months.
Throughout the study, blood samples were collected and trichograms were performed to assess progress.
The most promising results were observed in occipital hair growth for females with AGA, and in frontline hair growth for females with diffuse alopecia:
The percentage of anagen phase hair after 6 months of treatment was significantly increased before treatment, and was also improved compared to patients receiving placebo.
Although the mechanism is unclear, the researchers believe this study proves that there is a component with melatonin that induces the anagen phase in the hair follicles.
It is a potent antioxidant.
Antioxidants are essential for body health as they help fight free radicals.
Free radicals are dishonest molecules. These molecules are incomplete, so they steal electrons from other molecules. The molecules they steal from are those that support neighboring structures such as skin, hair and organs.
When the electrons are stolen, the surrounding structures begin to break down. This occurs as a natural part of the aging process (which is why thinning hair and wrinkles are prevalent as you get older).
While the aging process cannot be stopped, antioxidants can help to slow up the process (including baldness).
Melatonin is a known antioxidant and one that can effectively combat free radicals (and aging) in the body.
Signs of Melatonin Deficiency / Dysfunction
With more and more people interacting with their electronics and spending most of their day indoors, melatonin deficiency has become a common problem. This can result in some less pleasant symptoms.
- Lack of dreams
These signs, however, can lead to more serious health conditions if left untreated. For example, untreated insomnia can lead to:
- High pressure
- High cholesterol
- Irregular menstruation
- Blood clots
- Cardiac arrhythmia.
If you suspect you have melatonin deficiency or dysfunction, you should consult your doctor. There may be an underlying cause of your disability that your doctor may be able to help you most effectively address.
Side Effects of Melatonin Supplementation
Although supplementation with melatonin may be beneficial, of course it has some accompanying side effects.
The use of melatonin supplements should be avoided (or closely supervised by a physician) if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression or seizure disorder. Similarly, those with a bleeding disorder or those who received a transplant should avoid supplementation.
If you are pregnant or nursing, consult your obstetrician before supplementing.
How to naturally increase melatonin levels.
To increase melatonin levels and promote hair growth, you have some natural methods at your disposal.
Take a melatonin supplement
Melatonin supplements are commonly taken by people with insomnia to induce sleep. However, even if you do not think you have sleep problems, melatonin can still be a beneficial supplement.
However, I recommend that you start with a low dose.
As melatonin supplements are considered a nutritional supplement and not For a drug, the dosages contained in these supplements can be quite high. This can interfere with your body's natural circadian rhythm and cause problems along the way.
If you go the supplement route, I recommend only 1 mg of melatonin each night. This can be difficult to do with capsules, but tablets, powders and even liquid forms can also be purchased.
Avoid artificial lighting
If you work in an office environment, this can be difficult. However, avoiding artificial lighting (and increasing natural lighting) may increase melatonin production.
The best time to do this is a few hours before bed.
Avoid electronics (television, computer, tablet, and mobile phone) and focus instead on non-electronic activities. You can even use a lamp or other soft light to perform these activities (such as reading, writing, or making a puzzle).
If you can, I also recommend increasing your daylight intake. This means leaving your blinds open and using only other forms of lighting when needed. Also, you can use your lunch break to take a walk outside.
Consuming Melatonin Rich Foods
While melatonin is produced largely within the body, you can also consume it.
Melatonin occurs naturally in various foods. These include:
- goji berries
While you should not eat immediately before bed, you can consume these foods throughout the day to naturally increase your body's melatonin production.
While some hormones within the body (such as DHT) may lead to follicle miniaturization, others (such as melatonin) may actually promote healthy new hair.
This is why I believe it is a good idea to consult your doctor about possible hormonal imbalances. With your hormones under control, you can work to regrow your hair.
Of course, I also recommend that you treat problems (hormonal or otherwise) as naturally as possible.