Muscle & Performance - - Contents - BY DWAYNE N. JACK­SON, PH.D.

Known among sci­ence nerds as N-acetyl5-methoxytryptamine, mela­tonin is an in­doleamine neu­ro­trans­mit­ter, which is syn­the­sized from the es­sen­tial amino acid tryp­to­phan and se­creted by the pineal gland (in the brain). Mela­tonin syn­chro­nizes the body’s in­ter­nal clock (or cir­ca­dian rhythms) and is re­leased in abun­dance at night or in states of dark­ness. Be­cause of its con­nec­tion with light/dark cy­cles and the fact that it can help in­duce sleep (when taken be­fore bed), most peo­ple con­sider mela­tonin sup­ple­ments only when they are try­ing to com­bat jet lag or in­som­nia.

How­ever, stud­ies show that mela­tonin sup­ple­menta & ϐ & - ing sleep, in­clud­ing in­creased an­tiox­i­dant ac­tiv­ity, Ǧ ϐ ǡ ǡ anti-cancer ac­tiv­ity, car­dio­vas­cu­lar pro­tec­tion, di­a­betes and obe­sity preven­tion, neu­ro­pro­tec­tion, and anti-ag­ing Ǥ & ϐ ǡ ǯ sci­en­tists have been study­ing mela­tonin as a per­for­mance-en­hanc­ing sup­ple­ment.

Mela­tonin and growth hor­mone

Growth hor­mone (GH) is re­leased dur­ing sleep and ex­er­cise re­cov­ery to pro­mote mus­cu­lar re­pair and growth and in­creased lipol­y­sis (aka fat burn­ing). Af­ter in­tense ex­er­cise, your body pre­pares its in­ter­nal en­vi­ron­ment for re­cov­ery, and this in­cludes in­creas­ing the re­lease of hor­mones like GH, which pro­mote in­creased an­abolism. Stud­ies have shown that tak­ing mela­tonin be­fore train­ing will not make you sleepy dur­ing your work­out but that it will aug­ment GH re­lease around the work­out win­dow. For ex­am­ple, one study showed that tak­ing 5 mil­ligrams of mela­tonin one hour be­fore com­plet­ing a short bout of moder­ate-in­ten­sity cy­cling ex­er­cise re­sulted in a 72 per­cent in­crease in peak GH re­lease when com­pared to ex­er­cis­ing af­ter tak­ing a placebo. A more re­cent study from Bay­lor Univer­sity re­ported that trained males who were given 5 mil­ligrams of mela­tonin one hour be­fore a leg work­out had a dou­bling of GH lev­els be­fore and af­ter train­ing com­pared to sub­jects who re­ceived a placebo. In fact, the re­searchers re­ported that sub­jects who took only 0.5 mil­ligrams of mela­tonin had higher GH lev­els af­ter train­ing.

GH se­cre­tion (like mela­tonin) is tuned to the body’s cir­ca­dian rhythms. On rest days, the great­est surge of GH from the an­te­rior pi­tu­itary oc­curs at the on­set of slow wave/deep sleep. In­ter­est­ingly, stud­ies have shown that tak­ing up to 5 mil­ligrams of mela­tonin (with­out daily ex­er­cise) be­fore sleep or dur­ing wake­ful hours re­sults in in­creased blood GH lev­els. This is mainly be­cause mela­tonin de­creases the se­cre­tion of a hor­mone called so­mato­statin (or growth hor­mone– in­hibit­ing hor­mone). So­mato­statin nor­mally de­creases GH se­cre­tion, so when it is “blocked” by mela­tonin, GH se­cre­tion goes up.

Mela­tonin as an an­tiox­i­dant

Heavy train­ing can in­de­pen­dently pro­mote the pro­duc­tion of free rad­i­cals, like re­ac­tive oxy­gen species (ROS), lead­ing to in­creases in ox­ida­tive stress. The body adapts to this “ox­ida­tive in­sult” by up­reg­u­lat­ing its en­zy­matic an­tiox­i­dant de­fense sys­tem dur­ing ex­er­cise re­cov­ery, ϐ & ǯ de­fense sys­tem and pro­tects cells against ox­ida­tive dam­age dur­ing sub­se­quent ex­er­cise bouts. No­tably, low lev­els of ROS im­prove mus­cle force and adap­tive re­sponses to train­ing, so you don’t want to elim­i­nate them by su­per-dos­ing an­tiox­i­dants be­fore train­ing. Con­versely, high lev­els of ROS lead to strength loss and mus­cu­lar fa­tigue dur­ing pro­longed and in­tense ex­er­cise. This deli & & & ϐ ROS is fun­da­men­tal to phys­i­o­log­i­cal func­tion, health and ex­er­cise adap­ta­tion.

Re­search clearly shows that mela­tonin is one of the body’s most po­tent an­tiox­i­dants, with about twice the ca­pac­ity as vi­ta­min E to buf­fer ROS, which syn­er­gizes with


the body’s an­tiox­i­dant pool to im­prove its over­all ac­tiv­ity. In sup­port, a study con­ducted at the Univer­sity of Seville Med­i­cal School in Spain il­lus­trated that tak­ing ei­ther 6 mil­ligrams of mela­tonin or a placebo 30 min­utes pre­work­out in­creases blood to­tal an­tiox­i­dant ac­tiv­ity and de­creases ex­er­cise-in­duced ox­ida­tive stress. As a bonus, ath­letes who took mela­tonin had in­creased fat me­tab­o­lism dur­ing train­ing and over­all im­prove­ments in im­mu­nity.

Mela­tonin and in­flam­ma­tion

Be­yond in­creases in ox­ida­tive stress, long and in­tense & & ϐ cy­tokines (small pro­teins) that pro­mote mus­cle dam­age and lead to mus­cle sore­ness. A study pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Pineal Re­search ex­am­ined whether pre­train­ing mela­tonin sup­ple­men­ta­tion would im­prove the ϐ in­tense train­ing. In this study, a group of highly trained en­durance ath­letes were given a mela­tonin sup­ple­ment or placebo for three days be­fore com­plet­ing an in­tense 50-kilo­me­ter up­hill run in the Sierra Ne­vada (in Granada, Spain). At the end of the study, the au­thors con­cluded that oral sup­ple­men­ta­tion of mela­tonin Ǧ ϐ ϐ ǥ ǡ such im­prove­ments in the mus­cu­lar mi­croen­vi­ron­ment pro­tect mus­cles from dam­age, thereby po­ten­ti­at­ing train­ing adap­ta­tions.

How to sup­ple­ment mela­tonin

So, by now, it should be ob­vi­ous that mela­tonin is a great sup­ple­ment to take dur­ing train­ing and rest days to im­prove ox­ida­tive sta­tus, aug­ment GH re­lease and pro­mote restora­tive sleep at night. Based on past and cur­rent literature, the best way to sup­ple­ment mela­tonin and take ad­van­tage of all its pos­i­tive ef­fects is to take 0.5 to 5 mil­ligrams 30 to 60 min­utes be­fore train­ing and 0.5 to 5 mil­ligrams im­me­di­ately be­fore hit­ting the sack. On rest days, take the pre­work­out dose at the same time as you would on train­ing days.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.