Enhance Your Health
Health Tip of the Week: Melatonin
Good news for early risers who exercise first thing in the morning. The International Journal of Cancer recently published a study conducted at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health that found that exercise early in the day boosts the metabolic body clock, helping to suppress disease.
Close to 3000 people who worked out between 8am and 10am were studied. Results found that exercising in the morning reduced the risk of developing prostate and breast tumors. The timing of exercise influences the release of sex hormones and melatonin production.
How is melatonin related to exercise and cancer prevention? Melatonin is a hormone that is released at night and is responsible for regulating the sleep / wake cycle. Melatonin affects many bodily functions that have to do with the circadian rhythm of the body. Circadian rhythm is the body’s 24 hour clock that regulates the sleep / wake cycle based on the 24 hour rotation of the earth.
Melatonin helps your body know when to sleep and when to wake up. Your body naturally manufactures melatonin at night. As soon as the body senses darkness, melatonin production begins. The levels drop in the morning once the sun comes up. The more exposed you are to light in the daytime, the more melatonin is produced within the body at night.
Melatonin production is directly related to your quality of sleep at night and your ability to wake in the morning with vim and vigor. Disruption of circadian rhythm is a potential cause of cancer and Melatonin production has been shown to stop the spread of certain cancers.
In addition to cancer research, doctors are studying how melatonin production helps with Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, night time high blood pressure and sleep problems with children who have autism spectrum disorder.
As far as exercise is concerned, working out later in the day or evening disrupts and lessens melatonin production and your innate circadian rhythm designed for a healthy good night’s sleep. This explains the study’s results that show lower cancer rates in people who exercise in the morning.
Other benefits from the metabolic boost due to morning exercise sessions is calorie expenditure. The rise in metabolism from morning exercise increases the rate that calories are burned off in your body even at rest.
This increase in calorie expenditure can last up to 5 hours after a morning exercise session, helping the body control weight. For an even more effective morning exercise metabolic boost, exercising on an empty stomach increases the metabolic effect and calorie burning.
Four important vitamins and minerals that should be supplemented in the diet during pregnancy include folic acid, vitamin D3, iron and calcium.
Folic acid during pregnancy and breast feeding can prevent certain birth defects. Vitamin D3 during pregnancy will help the baby’s bones and teeth, the pregnant mother’s immune system and newer studies show that D3 supplementation may help to prevent miscarriages. Iron is important in pregnancy for the babies brain development and overall growth. Plus, the pregnant women needs iron for her own blood’s increased needs. Calcium, important for the babies bones and teeth, also helps pregnant women reduce their risk of preeclampsia which can cause severe, dangerous high blood pressure levels.