Yes you read it properly. Our favourite little sleep supplement is also a key hormone in fertility, specifically egg quality.
Melatonin is a hormone we make naturally from an amino acid called tryptophan and it is secreted by the pineal gland (middle of the brain). It is secreted at night and is regulated by circadian rhythms and promotes sleep. As levels of melatonin increase at night, around 9 pm, an associated drop in core body temperature occurs. Also interesting to note that both elderly and depressed patients tend to have lower levels of melatonin.
Female fertility peaks around age 25 and rapidly declines at age 35. Many women around the world are delaying having children and many face infertility when they attempt to conceive due to ovarian aging. There is a decreased ovarian reserve and an increase in lower quality oocytes that have a harder time developing further.
Mitochondria are the powerhouse energy producers of cells. Oxidative stress in the mitochondria is the driver of aging and of changes in signalling pathways. Melatonin is found at higher levels within the ovaries and the egg follicle as compared to the rest of the body. It acts as an antioxidant there to neutralize the damage from excess free radicals due to aging, environment, and lifestyle.
Melatonin may also help in regulating ovulation by regulating GnRH, a key reproductive hormone which controls LH and FSH, hormones key in ovulation.
And lastly, successful conception requires successful implantation and melatonin can help this to take place by down-regulating the local immune system so the embryo is not recognized as a foreign enemy.
Tips to support your melatonin production naturally:
1. Go to bed between the hours of 10 and 1130 pm.
2. Turn off screens and dim lights starting around 9 pm.
3. Get outside and natural light first thing in the morning.
4. Try a little savasana, or 'corpse yoga pose' at night which promotes higher levels.
5. Try a relaxing tea and some meditation at night as the calm, quiet mind will be more likely to release melatonin.
If you want to chat about your fertility and see if melatonin is a good option for you, send us an email or book an appointment online today!
Late October and early November are the most common times of the year when I get an influx of calls for supporting immunity.