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Characteristics and importance of melatonin

Melatonin is a very important hormone that the pineal glandproduces. This gland is located in the brain and the production of this hormoneis stimulated by darkness, while light suppresses it. The reasons why melatoninis important for our body are numerous, but those that are among the most significantare control of circadian rhythm and control of the timing and releasing offemale hormones.

Since the levels of melatonin affect our sleep, when the levelsare lower than normal, people may have problems with sleeping and suffer frominsomnia, which is why many who have these problems take melatoninsupplements. Melatonin is helpful in prevention of cancer, and it reduces sideeffects of certain cancer drugs, thus increasing their effectiveness. It canhelp in the treatment of depression, and it is also believed by some that thishormone slows down the process of aging. However, so far, no researches thatconfirm this have been conducted, which means that there are no scientificproofs that support such belief.

Melatonin supplements and their side effects

As a supplement, melatonin may found in synthetic form,but natural melatonin from animals is also used as a supplement. The syntheticform is more recommended, mostly because no sickness or disease of an animalmay be transmitted this way. However, it is important to know that the U.S. Foodand Drug Administration havenot officially approved this supplement, at least not yet. Thisfurther means that its use is not regulated, which is why it is highlyrecommended not to take it before consulting a doctor.

It is well known that some side effects might occur in thosewho decide to take melatonin in a form of a supplement. For example,sleepiness, headache and nausea are very common side effects, but what can alsobe expected is drowsiness and stomach irritation. Very often, people reportthat their reactions are delayed, and that they feel groggy, which is why it isnot recommended to drive or do any similar activities that might endanger one’slife while taking melatonin supplements. Because of all the mentioned sideeffects, it is suggested to take it before going to bed only. Due to a number of cases who reported the raise in the bloodpressure, pregnant women and people who suffer from kidney problems, heartconditions, hypertension and similar problems should not take melatoninsupplements.

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