Melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone produced by the brain, is often used to treat insomnia and other sleep disorders. Unfortunately, melatonin can be difficult to obtain in some countries, such as Malaysia. There are several online retailers that sell melatonin, but buyers should be aware that some products may not be effective and may have side effects.
What is melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone that is produced by the pineal gland, which is located in the brain.
The primary role of melatonin is to regulate the body's circadian rhythm, which is the natural cycle of day and night that controls many aspects of our daily lives.
Melatonin levels naturally rise at night when it is dark and fall during the day when it is light. In some countries, melatonin is available over-the-counter in both pill and liquid form to help regulate sleep patterns or to treat conditions such as jet lag or insomnia.
What are the benefits of having a healthy melatonin level?
There are many benefits to having a healthy melatonin level. One of the most important benefits is that it can help you get a good night's sleep. Melatonin helps control your body's natural clock or circadian rhythm. It plays a role in the timing of your sleep-wake cycle. When your melatonin levels are low, you may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
Another benefit of having a healthy melatonin level is that it can help protect your brain from damage. Studies have shown that people with low melatonin levels are more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia. Melatonin may also help protect against stroke and other types of brain damage.
Additionally, research suggests that melatonin may play a role in preventing cancer, heart disease, and strengthening immunity.
Is Melatonin allowed in Malaysia? legality and availability
Although melatonin is available over-the-counter in some countries or even can be bought through online channels, it is a prescription drug in Malaysia. Most pharmacies in Malaysia do not keep melatonin, since any health supplement products sold need to be registered under the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA), Ministry of Health Malaysia. The use of melatonin for insomnia is not approved by the Malaysian Ministry of Health as it is considered a hormone and not a supplement.
Side effects of melatonin
Most people know melatonin as a natural sleep aid. What many don't know is that it can also cause side effects, some of which are common.
These side effects include but are not limited to: headache, dizziness, nausea, and irritability. In most cases, these side effects are mild and go away within a few days. However, if they persist or become bothersome, it's best to speak with a doctor.
Natural Melatonin alternative in Malaysia
There is some evidence that corn leaf extract can be a natural alternative to melatonin supplements. Maizinol is a patented ingredient derived from Zea mays corn leaf extract and is a natural alternative to melatonin.
This patented corn leaf extract works through the melatonin pathway. It increases the body's own production of melatonin. Also, the compounds are similar to melatonin, so it’s also binding to melatonin receptors. The innovator has done a clinical study showing the ingredient significantly increased deep-sleep time by 30 minutes when taken before bed. Other than that, it also showed a 30% reduction in cortisol levels compared to a placebo with a saliva test the next morning. [source]
In short, Maizinol corn leaf extract helps to improve sleep quality and duration, and it also has anti-anxiety effects. It does not cause any next-day drowsiness like synthetic melatonin in consumers. This product is available in Malaysia's pharmacy stores under the brand name "The PrimAGE ReszGuard".
Melatonin is a prescription item in Malaysia, and it is not readily available in most pharmacy stores due to legality and registration issue. Although some can get it through online channels, it is important to consult with a doctor before taking melatonin, as it may not be appropriate for everyone.
Finally, synthetic melatonin is a hormone molecule by itself, it should take into consideration its safeness if intended to take it for extended periods of time, and it is important to discontinue use if any adverse effects are experienced. Natural corn leaf extract, which aids the body in regulating its own melatonin levels, maybe the best alternative.