Melatonin is an important hormone that plays a crucial role in maintaining the body’s natural cycles. It’s thought we have less of it the older we get.
Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain and a powerful antioxidant. It serves an important function in our general health by maintaining the body's circadian rhythm, i.e when we fall asleep and when we wake up. It also helps regulate other hormones, and controls the timing and release of female reproductive hormones, determining when women will menstruate.
Some studies suggest melatonin levels may be age-related and that our ability to produce the hormone reduces as we get older.
Where it's found
Melatonin is a naturally occurring compound found in animals, plants, and microbes and is secreted by the pineal gland. It’s widely acknowledged as a key medicine for treating many health conditions and is available as an over-the-counter pharmaceutical.
How it can benefit you
Melatonin has powerful antioxidant properties, and evidence points to the fact it may strengthen our immune system. It’s also believed to help children with autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Other conditions melatonin may benefit include:
- Insomnia and sleep disorders
- Menopause symptoms
- Depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
- Breast cancer
- Prostate cancer