A group of Spanish researchers has verified that the consumption of melatonin helps control body weight because it stimulates the production of 'brown fat' - also known as 'good fat' - and which is characterized by burning calories instead of accumulating them, as happens with white adipose tissue, which stores the calories consumed and thus promotes weight gain.
Melatonin is a natural hormone that the human body secretes spontaneously, and whose levels increase in the dark. Some fruits and vegetables, such as Goji berries, fennel, mustard, almonds, cherries or sunflower seeds, also contain small amounts of this hormone.
The chronic consumption of melatonin caused the appearance of 'brown fat' in obese diabetic rats, and also increased the presence of this type of 'good' fat in thin animals
The scientists, who come from the Neurosciences Institute of the University of Granada (UGR), the Carlos III Hospital of Madrid, and the Sanitary Science Center of the University of Texas at San Antonio (USA), have explained in an article that has been published in Journal of Pineal Research Why melatonin provides metabolic benefits when used in the treatment of diabetes and hypercholesterolemia.
The study showed that the chronic consumption of melatonin, in addition to causing the appearance of 'brown fat' in diabetic obese rats - an experimental model of metabolic syndrome - also increased the presence of this type of 'good' fat in thin animals that they were used as a control group.
The continued administration of this hormone, according to the conclusions of the research, sensitizes the thermogenic effect of exposure to cold and enhances the thermogenic effect of exercise. Therefore, Ahmad Agil, professor of the UGR and leader of the study, is confident that if his finding is confirmed in humans it can be used to help fight obesity and diabetes.