Sleepy Sunday: The Bone and Teeth Preserving Fat Loss Hormone Melatonin Should Not be Injected Twice a Day in Athletes Who Try to Gain Muscle Mass
|She's doin' it right! If you want to optimize your natural melatonin production, a blindfold is the way to go.|
I could continue this list endlessly, but...
... will rather use this opportunity to transition into the actual topic of this "sleepy Sunday" post: Melatonin and its (in parts surprising) effects as they have been observed in three recently published studies:
- High dose melatonin injections will blunt the training induced adaptive hypertrophy response in rodents -- With a human equivalent dose of 1.6mg/kg the amount of melatonin a group of researchers from the Graduate School of Inje University in Korea injected into their rodents legs may was unquestionably excessive (Hong. 2014), the fact that this lead to a reduction in the exercise induced growth stimulus (4-weeks, 5x per week 1h on the treadmill at 11 m/min), however, may still sound counter-intiuitive to those of you who still subscribe to the "the more antioxidants I get, the better" hypothesis.
Figure 1: It's easy to see that the extremely high dose of melatonin (10mg/kg, twice a day) blunted the increae in skeletal muscle mass in response to 4 weeks of 5x/week 1h treadmill running (Hong. 2014)
|Learn more about melatonin and sleep in the last "Sleep Quickie", here at the SuppVersity | read more|
What the restoration of a "deteriorated" melatonin rhythm will do, though, is increase the nocturnal GH peak (Petterborg. 1991). And if you simply throw a couple of milligram on top of your natural production, just like the 12 healthy volunteers (men and women) in a 1986 study did, nothing will happen... well, at least nothing that pertains to the levels or 24-h rhythm of LH, GH, T4, testosterone or cortisol (Wright. 1986).
- While blunting "good stress" is a bad thing, blunting bad stress will help you lose weight and stay lean -- This is at least what would explain the beneficial effects Beatriz de Luxan-Delgado and her colleagues from the Department of Morphology and Cellular Biology at the University of Oviedo in Spain observed in their most recent rodent experiment, in which they investigated the actions of daily melatonin administration on oxidative stress parameters and autophagic processes and found that the significant reduction in hepatic autophagy, as well as the reduced expression of the "fat storage protein ppar-gamma" (learn more) make melatonin "an interesting target molecule for the development of a potential therapeutic agent to curb body weight" (de Luxan-Delgado. 2014).
Figure 2: Changes in selected relevant health parameters in humans and rodents in response to the administration of of 5mg/day and 0.5mg/kg/day melatonin (Kozirog. 2011; de Luxan-Delgado. 2014)
- Melatonin may help us win the battle against bone loss -- Contemporary statistical analyses show that even with existing osteoporotic therapies, bone-related disease, and mortality are on the rise, creating a huge financial burden for societies worldwide No wonder that Sifat Maria and Paula A. Witt-Enderby get all psyched up about the potential use of melatonin for the prevention and treatment for osteopenia, osteoporosis, and periodontal disease and for use in bone-grafting procedures in their epinomous recent review (Maria. 2014).
Figure 3: schematic demonstrating the relationship between melatonin secretion and bone resorption over a 24-hr cycle (Maria. 2014)
Figure 3 (taken directly from Maria. 2014) depicts a schematic demonstrating the relationship between melatonin secretion and bone resorption over a 24-hr cycle. As shown, both bone resorption (dotted line) and melatonin (solid line) display a diurnal rhythm with peaks occurring during the hours of darkness (filled in rectangles). Consequently, a suppression of nocturnal melatonin levels, either through light exposure at night (LAN) or through aging, increases bone resorption, i.e. the process by which osteoclasts break down bone and release the minerals, resulting in a transfer of calcium from bone fluid to the blood.
Accordingly, only the restoration of the nocturnal melatonin peaks may - over time - protect against age- and lifestyle-induced bone loss by suppressing bone resorption. That this is more than just a hypothesis has been shown by Kotlarczyk et al. in 2012 with a relatively low dose of only 3mg of melatonin in perimenopausal women (Kotlarczyk. 2012). In younger individuals way below the 40+ and 60+ line in women and men, respectively (see Figure 4; Sack. 1986), the younger folks will probably be able to achieve similar effects by paying more attention to their sleep hygiene.
Addendum for clarification (02/10/2014): If you want to support your natural melatonin production with 1-10mg/day that's perfectly fine for the "young" ones, as well - no chance this is going to hamper your gains.
If you belong to the group of over 40 and over 60-year old women and men (respectively), a small (1-10mg/day) dose of melatonin taken 1-2h before you head to bed may help you along without having to have any fear similar detrimental effects on skeletal muscle anabolism as they have been observed in the initially discussed study by Hong et al. (2014)
At least for those with low baseline levels, it does in fact appear to be more likely that the exact opposite will happen. Melatonin has after all been shown to prevent the apoptosis of muscle cells in cell and animal studies (Hibaoui. 2009; Kim. 2011) and is inversely related to the degree of sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss) in man (Lee. 2013)
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