INSIGHTS | 28. Are You Melatonin Deficient?
Melatonin deficiency is not something that is taught, nor regularly checked for. Then, how would you know if you are deficient?
In my career I have never heard the term "melatonin deficiency," nor have I heard of a patient who was taking supplemental melatonin, except as a sleep-aid.
Unlike vitamin D or other mineral deficiencies, melatonin deficiency isn’t a medical entity. Nobody really gets tested for melatonin deficiency, mostly because it is never suspected.
But, melatonin is one of the most ubiquitous hormones in the animal kingdom, integral to regulation of our physiologic rhythm, and one of the most potent anti-oxidants in existence.
One would think that this would be sufficient grounds to check adequate melatonin production. For the vast majority of doctors, it is not. Most probably don't know that you can test for melatonin (in blood, urine, & saliva). Even the available tests are used to track 24-hour melatonin production, to understand how it changes within your body, day & night - related to sleep. They are not typically used to diagnose absolute melatonin deficiency.
I believe that several modern environmental factors are contributing to a population-wide deficiency in this important hormone. My prediction is that we will become more aware of this problem as time goes on. First, we must recognize there is a problem.
In this article, we will:
Review the traditional teaching about melatonin
Explore the evolving modern understanding of melatonin
Review changes to our environment which impact melatonin
Discuss strategies to optimize melatonin without drugs or surgery.