Melatonin, chemically N-acetyl-5 methoxytryptamine
, is a derivative of serotonin and is a
naturally - occurring hormone.
referred by some as the ‘master hormone’ due to the vital role it plays in
carrying out several body functions. Secreted by the brain’s pineal gland
and released directly into
the bloodstream, this hormone helps normalize the production and functioning of
other hormones in the body.
Melatonin has two other significant functions. The
first is to regulate our eating cycle
and the second, to monitor the circadian
. Otherwise termed the 24-hour ‘biological’ clock, the circadian
rhythm oversees the sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin is responsible for ‘timing’
this clock in response to external cues like darkness and light. To elaborate,
the absence of light stimulates the pineal production of melatonin, while its
presence suppresses it.
In recent times, the advantages of this hormone have
diversified. It has now also proved useful in the treatment of sleep
disturbances, osteoporosis, and even cancer.
Mealtonin intake has several side effects too
especially if the dosage is incorrect or if the usage is long- term. Several
side effects are yet to be understood.