The origin of Melatonin
Melatonin is a hormone produced naturally by the body in the pineal gland, or epiphysis.
Called “sleep hormone,” its role is to promote sleep.
The epiphysis begins producing melatonin once night falls to inform the brain that it is dark and invite it to enter “night” mode.
The amount of melatonin in the blood reaches its maximum level between 2 and 5 a.m. and then gradually decreases until dawn.
It disappears from the body in daylight and is replaced by cortisol, the hormone that stimulates wakefulness.
Properties of Melatonin
Melatonin is naturally present, in low doses, in certain plants such as alfalfa, fennel, poppy, flax, coriander and sunflower.
Its antioxidant action would protect the plant against the effects of sunlight and drought.
In the synthetic form, there are two types: immediate release and extended release.
It is often associated with plants such as passion flower, valerian or lemon balm.
As a treatment for insomnia, melatonin is often offered in the form of withdrawal from sleeping pills such as benzodiazepines.
As a dietary supplement (1mg maximum), it treats sleeping difficulties as well as jet lag.
A daily intake of 1mg should not be exceeded, as it can reduce cortisol production and disrupt the immune system.
Melatonin deficiency is mainly due to insufficient exposure to daylight. It is often found in the winter and causes poor sleep quality.
It can be regulated by exposure to light (phototherapy), by certain foods such as nuts or bananas, or by taking food supplements.
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