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What is melatonin?

6 Answers
When is it produced ? By which gland in our body? What is the role of melatonin?
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What is melatonin?
Melatonin is a naturally occurring compound, named N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine, found in animals, plants, and microbes. Melatonin was discovered in 1958 and named for its skin-bleaching effect upon melanin (skin pigment). This is a hormone derived from serotonin and produced by the pineal gland that stimulates color change in the epidermis of amphibians and reptiles and plays a role in sleep, aging, and reproduction in mammals.

When is it produced ?
In human body, circulating levels of the hormone melatonin vary in a daily cycle therby maintaining the body's circadian rhythm. When it is dark, our body produces more melatonin. When it is light, the production of melatonin drops. Being exposed to bright lights in the evening or too little light during the day can disrupt the body' s normal melatonin cycles. For example, jet lag, shift work, and poor vision can disrupt melatonin cycles. For people who sleep normal hours, natural melatonin production peaks between 2 am and 4 am.

By which gland in our body?
Melatonin is a hormone secreted into the blood by the pineal gland, a gland about the size of a pea, located in the center of the brain but outside the blood-brain barrier. It may also be produced by a variety of peripheral cells such as bone marrow cells, lymphocytes and epithelial cells.

What is the role of melatonin?
1. Insomnia: Melatonin is a natural sleep-inducing agent. It may help people with disrupted circadian rhythms and those with low melatonin levels to sleep better.
2. Menopause: It also helps control the timing and release of female reproductive hormones. It helps determine when a woman starts to menstruate, the frequency and duration of menstrual cycles, and when a woman stops menstruating (menopause).
3. A supplement for Anti-aging
4. To fight with breast cancer & prostate cancer.
5. Anti-oxidant actions: Melatonin is a very powerful anti-oxidant.
Melatonin has other therapeutic uses like the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

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Melatonin has been linked with changes in mood, performance, fatique, sleep patterns and biological rhythms. The hormone, melatonin is produced by the tiny pineal gland in the center of the brain and the levels in the body are affected by light, darkness and temperature. Very small doses of melatonin (about 3 milligrams or so) in pills are now being used to counter the effects of jet lag and to help reset 'biological clocks'.

Taken orally in tablet form, melatonin is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, metabolized, and eliminated from the body.

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Melatonin is a hormone that is produced by the pineal gland. It influences circadian rhythms and sleep-wake cycles. Melatonin is also available as a dietary supplement and is used for insomnia and jet lag.

I forgot to answer the question, "When is melatonin produced?" It is produced in the evening, after darkness falls.

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Thanks for a very detailed answer.

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This is still open - anyone?

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Bump

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