N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine, melanocyte-contracting principle, skin-lightening factor
Melatonin is a hormone made by the
pineal gland. The pineal gland is a small neuroendocrine gland at the base of the
brain. It makes and secretes melatonin. The secretion of melatonin is controlled by
exposure to light. Melatonin isn’t a nutrient.
Melatonin may be a part of the
diurnal cycle. This is also known as the circadian rhythm. This is the regular cycle of
wakefulness and sleep linked with day and night. Studies show above-average serum levels
of melatonin in people with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This is a type of
depression. It’s linked with the short daylight hours in winter.
The natural secretion of melatonin may be affected by:
Medically valid uses
Taking melatonin can shift the
circadian (24-hour) clock by about 1 hour. This makes up for 1 hour of jet lag. But
studies show that jet lag due to travel through more than 2 time zones cannot be quickly
corrected by melatonin.
There may be benefits that have not
yet been proven through research.
Melatonin may help ease sleep
disorders, such as insomnia. It may also help treat depression. It may improve how the
immune system works. Melatonin may help to slow the aging process. It may help manage
some cancers when taken with other medicines.
Melatonin comes in both
rapid-release and slow-release forms. The range being studied is 0.5 mg to 5 mg per day.
A recommended amount hasn’t been set.
You should take melatonin 2 hours
or less before your regular sleep time.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should talk to their healthcare providers before taking any supplements.
Side effects, toxicity, and interactions
Large doses of melatonin may get in
the way of how the ovaries work. Melatonin has interfered with sexual development in
animals who received the supplements.
You shouldn’t drive or use large
tools for several hours after taking melatonin. This is because it makes you
There are no known food or medicine
interactions with melatonin.