Melatonin

Hormonal Balance: How to Lose Weight by Understanding Your Hormones and Metabolism by Scott Isaacs Dr. Bob's Guide to Balancing Female Hormones
Hormonal Balance: How to Lose Weight by Understanding Your Hormones and Metabolism by Scott Isaacs Dr. Bob's Guide to Balancing Female Hormones

Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland (an endocrine gland in the human body).

The hormone melatonin is important for setting and maintaining the body's biological clock - that is, regulating the day/night rhythm based on periods of light/darkness.

  • Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland in darkness but not in bright light.
  • Melatonin receptors in the brain react to this hormone and synchronize the body to the 24 hour day/night rhythm, thus informing the brain when it is day and when it is night.
  • Melatonin is derived from seratonin - with which it works to regulate the sleep cycle.

Melatonin levels are higher in children than in adults, and decline with age into adulthood.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression that affects some people during the winter months when the length of days is short, it thought to be partly due to overproduction of melatonin.

 


See also: What is a Hormone ?

For further general information including the locations of the endocrine glands, see the Endocrine Glands of the Human Body.

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