Melatonin Laced Brownies aka Lazy Larry Cakes- Why You Should Not Buy Them?

MelatoninMany of us are hooked to lazy larry brownies; and love to indulge in then once in while. Do you know why these brownies make you feel so good? It is the melatonin in them that is responsible for the heavenly feeling. But all is not as promoted by the manufacturers.

Read on and you will know why we are against a favorite cake of many and why children should never consume them.

Why Exactly Do Melatonin Brownies Make You Feel Good?

Melatonin production drives the body to sleep mode. It relaxes us and gives us a stress free feeling, which gets us hooked to it.

What is melatonin?

Have you ever wondered why you feel drowsy before sleeping and wakefulness just before actually getting up in the mornings? This is due to the activity of a hormone in the bloodstream. Melatonin (melanin), many of us may be aware, is a pigment found in our skin which functions in regulating our sleep cycle, moods and rhythms, reproduction and is an anti oxidant which acts on free radicals produced as a result of radiation damage. It has been prescribed for combating jetlag and depression as well as insomnia amongst other things by adjusting the body clock.

Amongst the many disorders it can be used to provide relief are:
1. Inability to fall sleep (insomnia)
2. Delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS)
3. ADHD associated insomnia
4. Insomnia associated with the intake of certain medications
5. Sleep problems associated with children suffering from cerebral palsy, autism, as well as to reduce the side effects of de-addiction
6. It is also used for providing relief for many cancers and other disorders as well as chemotherapy and pre surgery anaesthesia.
7. Can be taken for reducing the effect of cluster headaches.

Even though it has a large number of beneficial effects, melatonin should be used with caution because it can worsen incidences of depression, seizures, high blood pressure and diabetes. So one should avoid melatonin usage in an indiscriminate fashion, without taking the doctor’s prescription. Besides, regular usage can have the following side effects such as headaches and dizziness.

Biochemistry of melatonin:

N-Acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine is a very strong anti oxidant and a protector against Reactive Oxygen Species and Reatcive Nitrogen Species. It is an indoleamine, and is produced in the vertebrate pineal gland of animals as well as in invertebrates bacteria and plants, where its source is not known. Melatonin can act in different ways on the reactive oxygen species generated during the reactions. It can act as a direct free radical scavenger and indirectly as an indirect oxidant by influencing the activity of other enzymes and substances involved in dealing with anti oxidants such as the synthesis of glutathione etc. Melatonin had been originally identified as a regulator of the circadian clock and the circadian rhythms.

So if Melatonin is so Good and Vital for our Health, Why Should a Melatonin Cookie be Controversial?

MelatoninA company HBB manufacturing Melatonin laced brownies has found itself in controversy with the FDA for manufacturing such brownies known initially as lazy cakes, which was changed to Lazy Larry. These brownies were promoted as stress relievers and to bring about better sleep. The brownies were sold online as well as in shops Officials worry that uncontrolled usage of these brownies, may have unforeseen consequences for the health as well as side effects. Each brownie is believed to contain 8 mg of melatonin. Besides, which FDA has till date not officially sanctioned its usage as a food additive and calls it an unsafe ingredient.

Melatonin, till now has been sold as part of health supplements. Not only that, they accuse the company of using advertisements based on cartoon characters which may lure children to use these brownies. The company has denied all the accusations and claim that melatonin is a molecule whose benefits are well known and the brownie contains the same class of substances, present in those supplements which promote better sleep and relaxation. More importantly, other companies promoting similar kinds of brownies are not being warned for this. The only known side effect of melatonin consumption is an increased sleepiness towards bed time.

MelatoninGiven that stress, insomnia and depression is so prevalent these days, consumption of melatonin brownies should not be a problem as long as you can control your intake. When people willingly consume large quantities of alcohol and cigarette smoking, which in fact are known killers and there is no regulation over the industry and no voice to ban them, it does not make sense to disallow melatonin laced cookies. People are approving the usage of it more and it is up to people to exercise self control after being advised of the care to be taken.

However, care must be taken as if you are already on other medications, taking melatonin laced cookies can interfere with it. Melatonin can interfere with the effect of the following: anti coagulants, used for preventing blood clotting, immunosupressants, medications for controlling blood sugar and contraceptive pills. Melatonin should be avoided by people having kidney, liver, autoimmune disease problems.

Image source:
By artisticabilityroom101.blogspot.com via Wikimedia Commons

By Huffinton Post

References:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/02/fda-melatonin-brownies_n_916552.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/15/us/15lazycakes.html?_r=0
http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/fda-says-melatonin-laced-lazy-larry-brownies-are-unsafe

http://uthscsa.edu/mission/spring95/brainmel.html

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