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melatonin

melatonin


Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain that helps regulate other hormones and maintains the body's circadian rhythm.

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The use of melatonin as a drug can entrain the circadian clock to environmental cycles and can have beneficial effects for treatment of certain insomnias and jetlag. It may also be beneficial for osteoporosis, menopause, depression, eating disorders, breast cancer, prostate cancer, sarcoidosis, rheumatoid arthritis, attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), epilepsy, sunburn, viral encephalitis, and heart disease.

Melatonin is a hormone produced in the brain by the pineal gland from the amino acid tryptophan. The synthesis and release of melatonin are stimulated by darkness and suppressed by light, suggesting the involvement of melatonin in circadian rhythm and regulation of diverse body functions. Levels of melatonin in the blood are highest prior to bedtime.

Synthetic melatonin supplements have been used for a variety of medical conditions, most notably for disorders related to sleep.

Melatonin possesses antioxidant activity, and many of its proposed therapeutic or preventive uses are based on this property.

Many supplemental melatonin users have reported an increase in the vividness or frequency of dreams. Extremely high doses of melatonin (50mg) dramatically increased REM sleep time and dream activity in both narcoleptics and those without narcolepsy.

Many psychoactive drugs, such as LSD and cocaine, increase melatonin synthesis. It has been suggested that nonpolar (lipid-soluble) indolic hallucinogenic drugs emulate melatonin activity in the awakened state and that both act on the same areas of the brain. It has been suggested that psychotropic drugs be readmitted in the field of scientific inquiry and therapy. If so, melatonin may be prioritized for research in this reemerging field of psychiatry.