N-acetyl-5-metoxytriptamine, more commonly known as melatonin, is a hormone produced and released by the pineal gland. Another name for melatonin is the “sleep hormone”, since it is generally released in the dark, during night time, and it is very important in terms of preserving body rhythm clockwork. Although the pineal gland has been common knowledge in medicine for a long time, its true function was never quite discovered until the end of the 20th century. French philosopher Descartes referred to it as “the principal seat of the soul”. It was thought that all of the emotions were produced in the pineal gland. Melatonin release decreases after the age of 45, however, coffee and tea, long periods spent on computer, erratic exposure to light and sound, alcohol, cigarettes and stress can also hinder the body’s melatonin production. But what are the effects and benefits of melatonin as the elixir of youth? Here are the amazing effects that melatonin has on our bodies...
Sets body balance
Let’s start with the most commonly known benefit; melatonin’s structure allows it to set the body’s biological clock, as well as its rhythm. That’s how we can keep up with the day’s flow, get a healthy night’s sleep, as well as being able to wake up when we need to.
It supports the immune system and refreshes the cells
It is also known that some functions of melatonin help to support the immune system and to refresh cells. This hormone is also a strong antioxidant. It can enter a cell and provide special protection to the cell nucleus which carries the genetic code, meanwhile helping the cell to repair itself. It fights viruses, bacteria, and parasites and mitigates their impact.
It can mitigate the effects of jet lag
Research shows that melatonin hormone can mitigate the effects of jet lag. In 1992, Claustrat was working on the effect of melatonin on jet lag. The study used human subjects who frequently took flights between North America and France, and who were oversensitive to jet lag. One group of subjects were administered melatonin, while the other were given a placebo. The study concluded with the finding that the melatonin hormone has a mitigating effect on jet lag.
It makes you feel better
Research shows that melatonin is directly related to stress. When our body’s melatonin reserves are low, we feel depressed. A high level of the melatonin hormone causes the level of serotonin, the hormone of happiness, to increase.
What are some other benefits of melatonin?
There are countless benefits of melatonin. Here are some other possible benefits currently under study:
- It is known to be useful for people with visual disturbances.
- It is useful in mitigating some types of headache.
- It has anti-aging effects.
- It protects nerve cells from free radicals.
- It works well against tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
- It is known to mitigate hair loss.
- It lowers blood pressure.
- It is known to increase fertility and decrease possible complications in organ transplantation.
- Some research shows that melatonin can also decelerate the development of gastric ulcers, reflux and breast neoplasms.
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