Melatonin(me-lə-ˈtō-nən) n. 1. a vertebrate hormone that is a found in animals, plants, fungi, and bacteria. In humans it is produced in the pineal gland and plays a role in regulating biological rhythms, including sleep and reproductive cycles. Synonyms: N-acetyl-5-methoxy tryptamine, C13H16N2O2 Derivation: Greek mélā(s) black + tone + -in
SourceThe hormone melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland in the brain, the gastrointestinal tract, retina and other tissues. Your body naturally produces melatonin when it is dark.
BenefitsMelatonin is most often used to help with sleeping problems or disorders. Melatonin assists in the regulation of other hormones and helps maintain the circadian rhythm in the body. The circadian rhythm is the internal clock that is responsible for alerting your body when it is time to sleep and when it is time to wake up.
UsesFrom simple insomnia to more complex sleep issues that may arise as part of ADHD, as well as with blood pressure medicines that are called beta blockers, cerebral palsy or even autism, melatonin may help persons who suffer from sleep issues to get a better night’s sleep on a regular basis. Melatonin is used for more than sleep problems. Some people use it for help with memory loss, bipolar disorder, COPD, endometriosis, ringing in the ears, depression, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, headaches including migraines, irritable bowel and bone loss. The reduction of melatonin in the body is theorized to contribute to the aging process. Many people take melatonin daily and believe it is the fountain of youth.
Forms (delivery methods)Melatonin is typically available in liquid or tablet form.
Side EffectsMelatonin is found to be safe for most people to take. The most common side effects are daytime sleepiness, headaches and dizziness. Women who are pregnant or who are lactating should consult a physician before taking any dietary supplements.
Research:1 Melatonin and aging: prospects for human treatment. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/214512052 Is melatonin a helpful sleep aid — and what should I know about melatonin side effects? http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/melatonin-side-effects/faq-20057874