Melatonin Benefits and Information

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland of all mammals, including humans. The pineal gland is a small, light-sensitive organ located in the brain that secretes melatonin only during darkness. Humans begin producing melatonin as early as 3 months old. The production of melatonin increases until about age 20 at which point melatonin production begins to decrease.

Melatonin affects a number of processes in humans such as sleep and temperature. Melatonin also appears to play a role in the promotion of growth and maturity.

Low levels of melatonin in humans have been associated with depression, fibromyalgia, insomnia, some seizure disorders, and other conditions.

Uses and Benefits fo Melatonin Supplements

In the United States, melatonin is used in connection with a variety of conditons including sleep disturbances often associated with jet lag. Although it is not recognized as a prescription drug, melatonin has been assigned a special designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as an orphan drug. An orphan drug has limited use, such as for the treatment of an uncommon disease or disorder.

Dosage and Administration

Supplemental melatonin should be synthetic since organic melatonin derived from animals carries the risk of possible contamination with viruses and other toxins. Because of concerns with contamination and safety, some countries prohibit the sale of melatonin supplements or restrict their use.

In the U.S., melatonin is most readily available as capsules and tablets some in controlled-release forms that deliver measured doses of melatonin over extended periods of time. It also comes in a tablet that dissolves under the tongue. If you choose to use melatonin, follow exactly the directions on the package of the product you purchase