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Melatonin

 

        What is Melatonin?

        Effects

        Things to Consider

        Related Topics

 

What is Melatonin?

"Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland, a small gland in the brain. Very small amounts of melatonin are found in foods such as meats, grains, fruits, and vegetables."

WebMD: Melatonin: Overview

 

Effects

Some Effects

        "Melatonin promotes sleep (makes you feel sleepy).

        It also affects reproductive functions by depressing the activity of the gonads.

        Additionally, it affects thyroid and adrenal cortex functions.

        Because melatonin production is affected by the amount of light to which a person is exposed, this is tied to circadian rhythm (having an activity cycle of about 24 hours), annual cycles, and biological clock functions.

        SAD or seasonal affective disorder (syndrome) is a disorder in which too much melatonin is produced, especially during the long nights of winter [unless a person is regularly exposed to an artificial light source], causing profound depression, oversleeping, weight gain, tiredness, and sadness. Treatment consists of exposure to bright lights for several hours each day to inhibit melatonin production. [More information about SAD is included in the section Bilirubin]

        It has also been found that melatonin levels drop 75% suddenly just before puberty, suggesting the involvement of melatonin in the regulation of the onset of puberty."

Clermont College: Endocrine System

 

Exposure to Light

"[The pineal gland] is located near the center of the brain in humans, and is stimulated by nerves from the eyes. The pineal gland secreted melatonin at night when itís dark, thus secretes more in winter when the nights are longer [unless a person is regularly exposed to an artificial light source]."

Clermont College: Endocrine System

 

Antioxidant Effects

"In laboratory studies, melatonin has been found to stimulate natural antioxidant systems such as superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase, in addition to offering protection to the DNA present within cells."

Healthworld Online: Melatonin as an Antioxidant

 

Asthma

         WebMD: Melatonin May Worsen Asthma

 

Things to Consider

Supplements

"Scientists believe that melatonin [supplements] helps reset the body's 24-hour 'biological clock,' or circadian rhythm.

        However, its safety and effectiveness have not been thoroughly tested.

        Although melatonin occurs naturally in our bodies, taking large doses of it may cause undesirable side effects, such as sleep disruption and daytime fatigue.

        Melatonin may also inhibit a woman's ovulation by disturbing hormone levels.

        The body's natural melatonin helps some people to fall asleep, but it is not clear if supplemental melatonin will help you fall asleep or remain sleeping during the night. However, specific studies on melatonin therapy's effect on elderly people with insomnia report some success. Studies are still needed of melatonin's effect on chronic insomnia."

WebMD: Melatonin

 

Related Topics

The Brain

        Serotonin: Serotonin and Melatonin

        Serotonin Irritation Syndrome: Causes and Effects: Adrenaline, Noradrenaline

 

Indoor Air Pollution:

        Indoor Air Pollution: Electromagnetic Waves: Effects: Similarities with Effects of Positive Ions, Serotonin

         Indoor Air Pollution: Electromagnetic Waves: Standards & Guidelines: Additional Standards

 

Brainwaves:

        Brainwaves and Neurotransmitters: Higher Frequencies: Beta, Gamma

        Brainwaves and Neurotransmitters: Alpha Waves: Melatonin and Serotonin

 

Other Topics:

        Nutrition: Antioxidants

        Other Suggestions: Dehydration: Effects: Depression--Tryptophan, Serotonin, Melatonin, Histamine

         Other Suggestions: Insomnia: Chronic Insomnia: Circadian Rhythms

        Research Topics: Melanin: Melanin Levels: Melanin and Melatonin, Tryptophan

         Research Topics: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

 

 

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