|Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland. The pineal gland is a pea like structure located in the centre of the brain. What is now known is that it is part of the body clock, an internal timer that regulates the production of various hormones which in turn control human activities like – sleeping, eating, sexual development, immune systems and maternal instincts.Plasma Melatonin levels increase steadily between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. and reaches its peel value between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. The level of this hormone then declines and reaches its low level in the afternoon.
Melatonin is synthesized by the pineal gland from the neurotransmitter, serotonin. Serotonin is involved in several central physiological processes, including body temperature and blood-pressure regulation, as well as a variety of neuro-psychological functions such as appetite, memory, and mood. Melatonin and serotonin are inextricably linked: When melatonin levels drop or rise for any reason, so do serotonin levels, and vice versa.
Actions of Melatonin
Why take Melatonin ?
There is lot to be learned about Melatonin. Research is underway to determine melatonin’s effects on human body and its more precise role and actions.
Recommended dose: It varies between 100 mcg to 200 mg. Start with lower dose and increase gradually. It is one of the least toxic substances.
Those taking Prozac should not take melatonin. Melatonin should not be combined with Vitamin B6. It should also not be combined with oestrogen or any other hormone.
When should melatonin be taken: Melatonin should only be taken at night-time, usually about thirty minutes prior to going to bed. If you are travelling on a long trip you may want to take a low dosage 300mcg tablet prior to getting on your flight.