© 2009 Beverly Nadler
Is it possible that tart Montmorency cherries may unlock a vital key to healing and preventing some of humanity’s most dreaded diseases?
The following research strongly suggests the answer is “YES”. The evidence of the healing (and disease-preventing) power of natural melatonin (not melatonin pills) will astonish you.
Melatonin is a hormone produced by your body in the dark. It is a potent antioxidant and is known as the “darkness” hormone or “sleep” hormone, because of extensive evidence that it has a significant role in improving the body's “circadian rhythms” and natural sleep patterns.
As we grow older we produce less and less melatonin. Whenever we experience some sort of trauma in our lives, melatonin production is reduced. Normal melatonin cycles are disrupted when we are exposed to excessive light in the evening or too little light during the daytime. For example, jet lag, shift work, and poor vision can disrupt melatonin cycles. In addition, some experts claim that exposure to low-frequency electromagnetic fields (including common household appliances) may disrupt normal cycles and production of melatonin.
All of this could have a great deal to do with why people are not sleeping well. It may be more than “stress”. It may be because they are not producing enough Melatonin to tell them that it is “time” to sleep.
Some people take melatonin supplements to help them sleep, but melatonin supplements don’t work well for most people (and none of the research shows the same healing benefits as natural melatonin). It is only found in very small quantities in a few foods, with the exception of tart red cherries, especially the Montmorency variety, in which high quantities of melatonin have been identified.
Not all cherry juice products are the same. Immunotec’s® Cherry Juice Concentrate is VERY RICH in melatonin, and easily assimilated by the body.
The University of Texas Health Science Center recently began to quantify the availability and activity of the melatonin in cherry products. Dr. Russell Reiter, said to be the “Dean of Melatonin Research’, gives cherries high marks. “We were surprised at how much melatonin was in cherries, specifically the Montmorency variety,” says Reiter. And tart cherry juice concentrate, which involves greatly reducing the water content, has ten times the melatonin of the raw fruit. According to Reiter, tart cherries contain an extremely significant quantity of melatonin, enough to produce positive results in the body. (The “positive results,” besides improving sleep, include positive results with cancer, diabetes, weight gain, inflammation, heart disease, jet lag, depression, and more.)
Why Is Sleep So Important, Anyhow?
There are many reasons, and the following comes from a recent CNN article: Scientists are finding more evidence that sleep deprivation can affect appetite, weight gain, diabetes risk, the strength of your immune system, and even your chance of developing depression.
In 2004, University of images researchers restricted a group of men to only 4 hours of sleep per night. After just 2 nights, the men had an 18 percent decrease in leptin, a hormone that tells your brain when you are full, and a 28 percent increase in ghrelin, a hormone that triggers hunger. These results were reinforced last October by a study of almost 10,000 adults that found that people who slept fewer than 7 hours a night were more likely to be obese than those who got 7 hours of shut-eye. "
Chronic sleep deprivation causes changes in metabolism that produce a state that stimulates hunger. Sleep deprivation can also affect how your body handles insulin; insulin resistance puts you at risk for weight gain and diabetes.
What Are “Circadian Rhythms” and Why Are They So Important?
Circadian rhythms are extremely important, for all hormones are regulated to some extent by these rhythms. Disruptions in circadian rhythms are believed to have significant adverse health consequences, especially in development of or exacerbation of cardio-vascular disease.
Research shows that women who work predominantly at night and are exposed to light, which inhibits melatonin production and alters the circadian rhythm, have an increased risk of breast cancer development. Research also indicates the circadian rhythm is a significant predictor of survival time for breast cancer patients.
REM (rapid eye movement) sleep is part of the normal circadian rhythm, and REM sleep is necessary for proper nervous system development. It is also believed that much of the body’s repair takes place during REM sleep.
Antioxidant Level of Tart Cherries and Melatonin
Montmorency cherries, which account for the majority of tart cherries produced in the United States, contain up to 13.5 nanograms (ng) of melatonin per gram of cherries, more than is normally found in the blood. Scientists have identified 17 different antioxidants in Montmorency cherries. Researchers agree that Melatonin is by far the most potent of the antioxidants, much more so than vitamins C, E and A because melatonin is soluble both in fat and water and can therefore enter some cells that vitamins cannot. For example, vitamin E is soluble in the lipid part of the cell only and vitamin C in the aqueous part. Melatonin is soluble in both. Therefore, eating cherries with high melatonin concentrations will increase the antioxidant capacity in your body.
Click here for “Montmorency Tart Cherries and Melatonin Research”
Click here to read about Cherry Concentrate on the Immunotec® website.
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