Melatonin: Benefits, Uses, Effects?
Melatonin is definitely among the top ten most popular substances in recent years. Melatonin is a hormone derived from serotonin produced and secreted dall'epifisi. First proposed as an anti-aging substance, then as an anticancer substance (by Di Bella), scientifically it is now certain his role in the normalization of sleep (and therefore its use to avoid the hassles of jet-lag). Let's see what are the actual properties of this substance.
Melatonin and sleep
It is certainly the field in which melatonin may be used in replacement of traditional medicines, especially in cases of severe or not insomnia in elderly subjects (has no contraindications for assumptions for short periods)
Care of jet lag - This term refers to a condition of lack of ability to concentrate, irritability, fatigue due to the change in time zone. Anyone who has traveled between continents know how annoying are the symptoms. The rule (very empirical!) According to which the human body takes about one day for each hour of time zone difference to adapt to the new situation is known by those who travel frequently for business and was forced to change several countries (and time zones ) within a few days. Jet lag is also more pronounced if you are traveling from West to East Jet lag is due to the fact that humans, like all living organisms, possess an internal clock that controls the rhythms of sleep and wakefulness, attention , sensitivity to light stimuli and so on. This mechanism, indicated with the term of the circadian cycle, is governed by the pineal gland, endocrine gland located in the dorsal part of the brain, also called epiphysis. This gland produces melatonin in fact. This production is inhibited if the organism is stimulated by the presence of light, while the dark increases considerably, reaching a peak between 2 and 4 am. Take melatonin as a supplement, thus helping the body to compensate for the loss of production due to excessive exposure to sunlight and the lack of night time hours. This, together with the regularization of sleep, is perhaps the most effective application of the integration of melatonin, although of limited usefulness to travelers victims of jet lag.
Melatonin and health
melatoninaMelatonina and cancer - The failure of the theory of Di Bella (whatever they say, if it worked the advertising done by the hundreds of people cured of cancer would have finally closed the speech), can only suggest that melatonin is a substance worthy of study, nothing more.
Melatonin and Aging - Melatonin reduces free radicals better than other antioxidants. It has a dual power compared to five times greater than vitamin E and glutathione; important particularity is that being water-soluble and fat can act against the free radicals in any environment (vitamin C is not soluble in fats and E in water). It also stimulates the immune system having a particular affinity for T lymphocytes (both killer, operational, and helpers, coordinative), our best resource against external attacks. Despite these properties, has fewer contraindications to the classical anti-aging treatment based on a cocktail of vitamins (E, C, and multivitamin) because, taken for long periods, melatonin can have depressing effect in susceptible individuals (Force RW, Hansen L, Bedell M - Psychotic episode after melatonin, Ann. Pharmacother., 1997, 31: 1048; Physicians' Desk Reference, 340, for the uninitiated PDR is one of the most important references in the field of conventional medicine supplements) and can inhibit ovulation (Voorduow BC, Euser R, Verdonk RE et al., melatonin and melatonin-progestin combinations alter pituitary-ovarian function in women and can inhibit ovulation, J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 1992, 74:108-117).
In other words: Melatonin is a hormone and hope that its intake for long periods does not give side effects is very optimistic, as it comes to assessing the pros and cons; in choosing an intake for a long period must be taken into account that the most recent studies show that there is no decrease in melatonin levels with age.
melatoninaMelatonina and cardio-vascular protection - Less clear is the role of melatonin as a regulator of blood pressure and HDL cholesterol. There is no clear evidence, because melatonin has always been associated with other substances.
Melatonin and Growth Hormone - Even in this case there is no evidence of stimulation, secured by the most ardent supporters of melatonin (on the other hand now it seems that everything stimulates growth hormone ...)