Melatonin is a hormone that is secreted by the pineal gland that is found in the center of the brain. It is produced in the human body as well as in other animals. According to the studies conducted by Dr. Aaron B. Lerner, the person who discover melatonin, and his colleagues from Yale University School of Medicine, melatonin is a byproduct of amino acid tryptophan.
Melatonin is responsible for maintaining circadian rhythm or sleep cycles. Its production is stimulated by absence of light – that is why it peaks during nighttime and it signals physiological changes such as breathing and body temperature, which induce sleep. Daylight inhibits the production of melatonin, which stimulates wakefulness.
Since melatonin is responsible in maintaining our biological clock it directly affects our reproductive cycle as well. The timing, length, and frequency of menstrual cycles are influenced by melatonin through the binding of melatonin to its receptors on pituitary gland and the ovaries. Longer nights cue mating and breeding for other mammals, since it is parallel to greater melatonin production.
Melatonin also helps our body to fight oxidative radicals through its anti-aging properties. However, as we age melatonin production gradually declines. Since it is also responsible in maintaining certain functions of our immune system, different age-related diseases are linked with Melatonin due to its lower levels.
The symptoms of melatonin deficiency are not difficult to recognize. Those who suffer from it often complain of insomnia or frequent waking, even un-refreshing sleep and fatigue are to be considered as primary symptoms. Other signs that can also be monitored are irregular menstrual cycle, irritability, headaches, lower immune system and depression because they are also linked to low melatonin hormone level.
Several factors impair the production of melatonin, these include excess intake of vitamin B12 (over 3,000mcg per day) and excess exposure to light during evening hours. But we cannot discard the fact that there are people who suffer from melatonin deficiency due to hereditary factors for they have particular genes that make them susceptible to hormonal imbalances. If your are suffering with these symptoms Metro MediSpa can help with a hormone screening and treatments that can keep your hormones in balance.