Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland, being involved in the regulation of circadian rhythm . Melatonin can also be produced by other tissues, such as bone marrow, lymphocytes, or various epithelial cells, including the retina and the gastrointestinal tract.
The level of melatonin in the blood increases starting with sunset, reaches maximum levels at midnight and gradually decreases in the second half of the night, being inhibited by light. Therefore, melatonin is the hormone that, secreted in normal quantity, helps in an optimal and restful sleep during the night.
In babies, melatonin levels become regular after the age of 3 months, with the highest concentrations between midnight and 8 am.
The greatest amount of melatonin is secreted between 1 and three years, since it is the period in which we sleep the most (between 12 and 15 hours a day). But melatonin production decreases in humans with age, which explains why the elderly go to bed earlier, wake up earlier and have more problems with sleep than young people.
Melatonin secretion is determined by the presence of serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter released in the presence of Tryptophan. It follows that one of the causes of insomnia is the insufficient secretion of serotonin, respectively melatonin, specialists say. Because melatonin regulates the circadian rhythm, it is also called the "body clock".
As we age, the incidence of sleep disorders increases and therefore the restoration of this horomon becomes a necessity. In addition to food, melatonin can also be brought into the body in the form of dietary supplements.
Numerous studies have shown that melatonin is an antioxidant twice as powerful as vitamins C, E and beta-carotene, and in addition it is the only antioxidant able to penetrate into every cell of the body thus reducing the damage caused by free radicals reached in the body through unhealthy foods or due to stress.
It is known that over 100 degenerative diseases are associated with decreased antioxidant capacity of the body, including arthrosis, Parkinson's disease, macular degenrescent, cataracts and cancer.
Researchers at the Spanish Ageing Research Network measured the amount of melatonin in the peel of eight varieties of grapes and found that the largest amount of this hormone is found in grapes called Nebbiolo. Significant amounts of melatonin are also found in onions, rice, cherries and red wine.
Starting with the age of 30-40 years, our body decreases the production of melatonin, so it is necessary to take it in the form of supplements, in order to slow down the aging process.
What other beneficial effects does melatonin have?
Facilitates adaptation to time zone changes.
Soothes anxiety states.
Eliminate migraines in no time.
Favors the processes of regulating blood pressure and blood glucose.
It is successfully used in the beauty industry, being found in a series of creams and lotions, with rejuvenating and revitalizing properties of the skin.