A hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain, Melatonin is responsible for regulating the sleep/wake cycle, also known as our internal clock. Normal Melatonin production helps us have a healthy, balanced, natural circadian rhythm within our bodies. The release of Melatonin can be disrupted by stress, certain medications, light exposure at night, aging, and other factors.
Typically, as the day ends and light diminishes, Melatonin levels start to rise, helping us feel sleepy and ready to rest. Levels stay elevated through the night, then as the sun rises, or the light increases, Melatonin drops off -causing us to wake up. The moment light hits the optic nerve, the pineal gland stops the release of Melatonin, so if a light gets turned on at night, it can be hard to get back to sleep. Once the cycle is disturbed, it can be very difficult to get it back on track. Supplementing with Melatonin is a popular way to help restore this natural cycle, helping us get back to our restful nights and refreshed mornings.
Although sleep is the most popular reason many people take Melatonin, it is thought to play a role in other bodily processes, such as the reproductive hormones, which determine menstruation frequency and duration, as well as when a woman reaches menopause.
As a powerful antioxidant, it is thought that Melatonin may protect against damage from free radicals. Studies have shown that it may aid Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke, and that it has cardioprotective activity.
There is also promising research regarding Melatonin’s role in depression and mood disorders. Though more research is needed, studies have shown that Melatonin has anxiolytic effects and in one study was found to significantly reduced the risk of depressive symptoms in women with breast cancer during a three-month period after surgery
Contraindications and Cautions: Pregnant or nursing women, and those with hormonal related health issues should not take Melatonin without the direct supervision of a healthcare professional. If you have a medical condition, are pregnant, nursing, trying to conceive, under the age of 18, and/or taking medications, consult your physician before using this product. Do not use with alcohol or other sedating drugs.
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