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About Melatonin

Melatonin is a health supplement, from natural hormones which is present among a wide variety of animals, algae, as well as human. This type of hormone is the one responsible in the regulation of the body’s circadian rhythm. This so-called rhythm is like an internal clock in the body- it tells the waking and sleeping time of a person. It is also responsible for the release of the reproductive hormones among women, taking control of the menstrual cycle, as well as menopause.

It is naturally produced in the brain, particularly in the pineal gland. The peak of its production normally occurs at night, and decreases in a significant number during the day. Thus, melatonin is named as the hormone of darkness.

Melatonin is available for purchase in several health stores in the US. It could be purchased without a prescription. However, melatonin supplements are not US-FDA approved. Thus, consumers cannot assure about its safety and effectiveness.

There are other names associated with this supplement. It is also known in these following brand names: Melovine, Melatonine, Melatonex, Melatol, Mela-T, and Circadin.

Why Take Melatonin?

Melatonin is naturally produced within the body, but decreases in significant amount as people age. In this recent time where the lifestyle of most people has changed, melatonin production becomes greatly affected, even for the young. Blame it to the graveyard shift, as well as jet lag, and other similar activities or problems. Lack of melatonin can cause sleep problems.

This could be solved by taking synthetic Melatonin supplements. Those with jet lag, or with insomnia could benefit from this supplement, too. Melatonin is also known to be a very potent antioxidant, helpful in boosting the endocrine and immune systems.

Melatonin also help induce bone growth. For menopausal women, this is a very good supplement, as it also helps prevent the occurrence of osteoporosis. Also, among women in their post-menopausal stage, Melatonin is known to decrease panic attacks, depression and anxiety.

The supplement is also known to treat SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, a depression that occurs during autumn and winter. It is made possible by increasing serotonin, a chemical responsible to relieve depression.

Melatonin supplements, when taken in the right doses, can improve the quality of sleep among those who are normally having problems with it. The supplement could also eliminate jet lag without the hazards of taking sleep aid medications. Unlike sleep aid medications, those taking Melatonin wake up full of energy and vigor.

Things To Consider Before Taking Melatonin

It is not advisable for children to take Melatonin. Also, pregnant or nursing women cannot take the supplement without consultation and approval from the doctor, as the supplement can affect the unborn baby.

Those with hypertension should also know that the supplement has the ability to reduce the effectiveness of hypertension medications (which include beta blockers and calcium channel blockers). Same is true with immuno-suppressants.

While taking the supplement, people are advised not to take NSAIDs, as well as alcohol, caffeine, or engage in activities such as smoking or working late at night. These decrease Melatonin levels in the body.

Those taking warfarin, or other medications for blood-thinning should not take Melatonin, as it elevates the risk of the patient to experience bleeding. Patients with liver or kidney problems, too, should not take melatonin.

Anyone under treatment of this supplement should follow the prescribed dose and schedule. Taking this supplement improperly may cause depression, or aggravate it (to those currently experiencing such problems).

Dosage And Administration

Melatonin is comes in many forms - consumers have the freedom to take it orally or apply it topically. There are tablets, lozenges, capsules and creams available. But for tablets, the available dose is 3 mg. The doctors determine the right dose and schedule depending on the patient’s current condition.

To enjoy optimum results, Melatonin should be taken 30 minutes to 1 hour before going to sleep.

Side Effects

Melatonin is known to cause these side effects: low body temperature, headaches, sluggishness, upset stomach and mood changes. It also increases the likelihood to sleepwalk, experience nightmares or vivid dreams. For men, it may also be linked to less sperm count.

Since the supplement may promote sleeping, patients should avoid activities which may need a great deal of concentration (e.g. operating machinery, driving).

Other Details

Melatonin’s molecular formula is C13H16N2O2, and bears the IUPAC name N-[2-(5-methoxy-1H-indol-3-yl)ethyl]acetamide. It weighs at

232.2783 g/mol. 

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