Jet-lag supplements may combat obesity, new research suggests.
Melatonin, which is also released naturally over night, causes rats to produce more heat, which can cause calories to be burnt, a study found.
The ‘sleep hormone’ also increases the amount of fat rodents use as energy rather than it being stored, as well as reducing dangerous fat deposits around their abdomens, the research adds.
Previous studies suggest storing excess fat on the torso increases a person’s risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke.
Around 27 per cent of adults in the UK are obese, while 36 per cent are overweight.
Dieters should take melatonin, expert says
Results further suggest melatonin turns dangerous ‘brown’ fat into ‘white’, which allows it to be used for energy.
The hormone increases levels of the protein UCP1, which is thought to increase heat production and the function of mitochondria, which are cells’ energy powerhouses.
Both of these lead to calorie burning.
Lead author Professor Ahmad Agil Abdalla, from the University of Grenada, recommends people needing to lose weight take melatonin supplements alongside healthy diet and exercise regimens.
The researchers hope to conduct further studies investigating melatonin’s potential to reduce obesity.
The findings were published in the Journal of Pineal Research.
Obesity does run in families
This comes after research released earlier this month suggested overweight children are more likely to come from families with a history of obesity.
Youngsters whose parents or grandparents suffered from high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol or heart disease are also more at risk of carrying too much weight, a study by the University of Messina, Italy, found.
For unclear reasons, younger siblings with overweight relatives are more susceptible to obesity than their older brothers or sisters, the research adds.
Although the researchers did not speculate on why obesity appears to run in families, there may be a genetic link or it could be due to lifestyle factors, such as a preference for fattening foods.
One in 10 children in the UK are severely overweight by five years old and one in five by 11.
Previous research suggests obese children are more likely to suffer from type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure in later life.
Yet, if this excess weight is lost by adulthood, their risk of such diseases is comparable to the general population’s, which highlights the importance of tackling childhood obesity early, according to the researchers
10 May 2018