Nutritional Supplements

The Herb and Supplement Index by Interflyer

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Name melatonin


Scientific Name

Description This naturally occurring hormone was first indentified in 1958 and is manufactured by the pineal gland, a pea-size organ deep within the brain. All humans and most animals secrete melatonin with the highest levels during childhood. The production of melatonin declines as we age. Melatonin's main function is to regulate cycles of sleep and wakefulness. The daily cyclical melatonin secretion tells the body when to sleep and when to awaken.

Uses Melatonin may be most effective as a sleep aid. Various studies indicate that in some cases melatonin shortens the time needed to fall asleep and improves sleep quality by decreasing the number of times awakening occurs during the night.


Possible Side Effects No serious risks have been associated with melatonin use have been reported. In most cases, melatonin causes drowsiness 30 minutes after taking it. This effect may last for several hours so driving or use of heavy machinery should be avoided during this time. Other side effects may include headache, upset stomach, lethargy or disorientation.

REMINDER If you have a medical condition such as a heart condition, high blood pressure, palpatations, high blood sugar or other medical conditions talk to your doctor before taking supplements.