Friday, June 09, 2006


Granted this is not actually a food, but it is something that you ingest, and so for the sake of to getting to write about good, healing things to put in your body, I am stretching the definition of “food” and including my friend Melatonin (this link takes you to Wikipedia, which gives you fairly information rich content).

Here is what is so great about Melatonin (this link takes to you to a site selling it, so a little more propaganda, but easier to get through). Not only is it all about boosting your immune system, can’t argue with the value of that, it also helps you sleep. Now that I think of it, probably a lot of people associate it more with the sleep aspect. You know, it is the stuff people take to recover more quickly from jetlag. But here is the thing, it increases your white blood cells, the killer cells, the ones that hunt down the bad guys and kick them the heck out of your body. I need me more friends like that! Remember that article about 8 months back about the harmful effects (especially and specifically around breast cancer) of too much artificial light. I am thinking there is a relationship. Getting a good night sleep, and getting enough melatonin, that is related, because melatonin is a natural substance secreted by the pineal gland when night falls. The more I read, the more I see the value of using it.

In fact, these little pills are so well considered that even though they were illegal at the time that I was going through chemotherapy many people recommended that I get them and take them during that wee while in my life so that when I hit my “nadir” (for those that aren’t up on the cancer speak that is when, post chemo infusion, that your white blood cells take a drastic and dangerous dip so low that the doctors worry that if you get an infection it may get all of you and take you down permanently) I will have some support to up my white blood cells and keep my immune system hopping (even if only on one leg). You can understand why I ran right out and got some.

Now here is when things went a little bit sideways. The average dose in a capsule seems to be 3 mg. I had someone recommend I try to take 20 mg a day (at night, by the way), so, for the first few nights, I merrily popped 6 of these suckers down my throat. What was so crazy though, was that I couldn’t sleep. I was wide-awake, eyes buggin’ out, couldn’t for the life of me get to sleep. I probably called my naturopath for help, like I do. And she said “Cut the dose, experiment until you find what is right for you.” Eventually I settled on 9mg, 3 capsules a night. That worked for me like a charm.

These days I take 1 capsule, 3 mgs. Not every night, but when I am struggling to get to sleep. And, mostly (right now excluded, because that cold did come and get me, but it is the first one I have had in a while, and I have been driving myself hard, so I sure should have had more) it works for me. And guess what, now a days it is not longer illegal (well, at least in Canada, not sure on the US status). And from what I can tell there are two brands out there (over the counter, in most drug stores), one is a capsule, the other is a melt under your tongue guy. I take mine 15 minutes before I go to bed. I have heard other reports, take them an hour or even two before bed. So again, find your own pattern, find what works for you, and then lie on back and get yourself a good nights rest!


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