Melatonin is a hormone found naturally in the body. Synthesized in the laboratory is used as medicine. Dosage and benefits.

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland , located in the brain, and whose main function is to regulate sleep cycles. Darkness causes the body to create more melatonin, which serves as a signal to the body predisposes to sleep. The light, in contrast, decreases melatonin production and therefore keeps you awake.

Effects of melatonin

The problems that some people have to sleep are related, in some cases, low levels of melatonin. For this reason it is considered that melatonin supplements may help you sleep. The recent studies go to show that melatonin helps to reduce the numbers of hypertension. Also in the case of diabetes, the melatonin is demonstrating its efficacy by increasing insulin secretion. With respect to depression, although melatonin appears to be involved in some way, no conclusive results support the conclusion that the effects of melatonin in either direction.

Melatonin and food

For all circumstances related to health, a balanced diet is essential. And with respect to melatonin occurs same. Although there are foods that contribute more than others to the production of melatonin, it should be clear that a balanced diet should be provided to cover all needs. Having said that, among the foods that have precursors of melatonin can be highlighted potatoes, oats, corn, rice, nuts, red wine, cherries or tomatoes, among others.

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Dose of melatonin

The recommended dose is generally from 3 mg. in tablet form. Should be given 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime. This dose may be subject to change depending on what the clinical picture and the patient’s response:

Insomnia: 0.3 mg. to 5 mg. shortly before bedtime. In children were administered 5 mg. at 18:00 h. and in children with developmental disorders, including autism, cerebral palsy or mental retardation, the dose is 5 mg. daily at 20:00 h.
Jet lag: it is customary to take 0.5 mg. to 5 mg. at bedtime the day of arrival at destination. It shall continue to take for 2 to 5 days.
Dyskinesia : the dose is 10 mg. for 6 weeks.
Solid tumors: in combination with other treatments such as radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Melatonin is administered 7 days before chemotherapy, between 10 mg. and 50 mg. to continue until the end of treatment.
Prostate cancer: 20 mg is administered. of melatonin in combination with 3.75 mg. triptorelin injected into the muscle every 28 days. This treatment is used when there is metastasis and resistance to the use of triptorelin alone.
Thrombocytopenia : prevention (blood clots) in cases of cancer will be administered in the evening dose of 20 mg.
Headaches: in the case of cluster headache are used dose of 10 mg. to be taken at night.
Melatonin is also used in other circumstances, such as reducing anxiety and withdrawal symptoms in the case of smoking and also to reassure patients about to undergo surgery. Melatonin is also used in the discontinuation of the use of benzodiazepines .

Melatonin and aging

Until recently melatonin was largely unknown, however this situation has reversed, in large measure, after discovering its remarkable antioxidant properties. This makes it one of the most exciting anti-aging substances in recent research. Its effects in preventing damage and cell death, as well as its antioxidant effects and effectiveness in eliminating free radicals , melatonin has made ​​one of the most important substances in drug research. It is this ability to neutralize free radicals which have been many laboratory studies, with resulting properties that give this hormone to preserve DNA, proteins and lipids from oxidative damage.

Melatonin and pregnancy and lactation

There are not enough studies about the administration of melatonin during pregnancy and lactation periods. However it is considered that melatonin may not be safe. It is also believed that melatonin interferes with ovulation, which would hinder the effect of pregnancy. Nor has sufficient information regarding safety during lactation, so it is advisable not to use it.

Adverse side effects of melatonin

There is not enough scientific information to properly speak of the side effects that may cause melatonin, mainly in regard to long-term effects. It is true that some patients treated with melatonin have reported adverse reactions such as drowsiness, headache, upset stomach, feeling of heaviness or hangover or depression. Moreover it is not known with certainty the possible interactions that may occur when combined with other drugs.