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Melatonina: mitos y verdades

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Hace años, la melatonina se reveló como el “medicamento” milagroso para tratar el insomnio y regular el sueño, pero ¿en realidad es tan efectiva?


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Periódicamente salen al mercado nuevos productos que se consideran “milagrosos” para curar determinadas afecciones o prevenir otras. Tal fue el caso de las bayas de goji, que pasaron de ser la panacea para todo tipo de males a ser un producto cuestionado por sus efectos a largo plazo.

Lo mismo ha sucedido con la melatonina: la euforia con que nos la han vendido medios de comunicación, distribuidores y comerciantes hace que en muchos casos hayamos recibido una información sesgada o, cuanto menos, incompleta.

Una hormona

Actualmente, la melatonina se comercializa en Europa como un medicamento contra el insomnio primario, que se caracteriza por un sueño de mala calidad en pacientes mayores de 55 años. También la podemos encontrar como suplemento dietético.

La melatonina realmente es una hormona segregada por una glándula de nuestro cerebro. Al ser estimulada por la oscuridad y e inhibida por la luz, es la hormona reguladora del sueño, estableciendo un ritmo día-noche.

La melatonina tiene una acción soporífera/hipnótica que combate el insomnio y hace que conciliemos antes el sueño. Al ser una hormona, ejerce funciones en diversos órganos y tejidos, por tanto su administración puede producir efectos adversos. De hecho, no hay consenso en la comunidad científica respecto a la dosis más adecuada o el tipo de paciente para el que está indicada.

La Academia Americana de Medicina del Sueño recomienda su utilización para promover el sueño diurno en trabajadores de turno de noche, y para paliar la desadaptación horaria propia del jet lag.

Cambio de hábitos

Si tienes problemas de insomnio, lo primero que te recomendamos es que acudas a tu médico, quien buscará el origen de tu problema y te indicará el tratamiento más adecuado a tu caso.

Además, si te cuesta dormir, intenta modificar tus hábitos ya que, en muchos casos, son los causantes de los trastornos del sueño.

Fuente: Dra. Gema García Gálvez

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source: iStock.com / tetmc
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