Melatonin is a natural hormone that regulates sleep
By Rosa parks
Melatonin is a hormone (N-acetyl-5 methoxytryptamine) produced especially at night in the pineal gland. Its secretion is stimulated by the dark and inhibited by light. During the day the pineal is inactive. Sleep is an important activity to all of us. It allows the body to repair its tissues, rejuvenate other body parts and revitalize the brain. It gets us ready for the next day. Why we sleep at night is linked to pineal gland, a pea-sized gland located in the brain. It secretes a neurohormone melatonin. At day the pineal gland is inactive, but at night it secretes high levels of melatonin, which makes sleep all the more inviting to all of us.
The amount of melatonin released at night varies among individuals, but it is somewhat related to age. Children on average secrete more melatonin than adults, which decreases further with age. However, research has shown that older people with sleep problems do not always have lower melatonin sleep levels than people who experience normal sleep.
In the United States, melatonin is used in connection with a variety of conditions including sleep disturbances often associated with jet lag. Although it is not recognized as a prescription drug, melatonin supplements has been assigned a special designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as an orphan drug. Melatonin is used in connection with blind individuals who suffer from sleep disturbances caused by interruptions in daily rhythm. As such, melatonin can be purchased without a prescription.
Melatonin products are usually synthetic versions of the hormone made naturally by the pineal gland. Melatonin users claim many health benefits, such as a sleep aid to help relieve insomnia, fighting jet lag, and helping other problems.
Menopause And Melatonin
Melatonin supplements may benefit menopausal women by promoting and sustaining sleep. Melatonin is also one of the hormones that controls the timing and release of female reproductive hormones. As a result, melatonin helps determine when menstruation begins, the frequency and duration of menstrual cycles, and when menstruation ends (menopause). Peri- or postmenopausal women who use melatonin supplements to regulate sleep patterns should do so only for a short period of time since long term effects, as indicated earlier, are not known.
Sleep Disorders And Melatonin
Anti-aging benefits of melatonin are becoming well known. Melatonin influences our biological clock, affecting the way we age, and controls sleep patterns including Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS), a condition in which people have trouble falling asleep; insomnia in the elderly; and sleep disturbances that result from neurophychiatric disorders such as dementia, depression, Alzheimer's disease, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD), autism, and epilepsy.
Eating Disorders And Melatonin
Excessive levels or daytime melatonin can cause depressive disorders. Medical research confirms the relationship between melatonin and mood disorders. Melatonin levels may play a role in the symptoms of anorexia. For example, abnormally low melatonin levels may cause depressed mood in people with this condition. However, it is not known whether supplementation will change the course of the disease. Some researchers speculate that low melatonin levels in people with anorexia may indicate who is likely to benefit from antidepressant medications (a treatment often used for eating disorders).
Cancer And Melatonin
Because melatonin supplements acts as an antioxidant, it is being studied as a possible treatment for cancer. It is thought that melatonin supplements may have immune-enhancing, anti-inflammatory, and even cancerous-cell-killing effects in the body. The antioxidant effects of melatonin may enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs and reduce their side effects, but studies in this area are preliminary, and far from conclusive
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Author By Rosa parks
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