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What is Melatonin? 

It is a secretion produced in the pineal gland from the neurotransmitter serotonin. It is chemically known as O-Methyl-n-Acetyl-Tryptamine or Omethy-N-Acetyl-Serotinin.

Melatonin is the primary endocrine signal in the horse that produces the effects of season on other parts of the body e.g. reproductive cycle. The circulating melatonin level is highly dependent on light, it increases in concentration during periods of darkness (night). Seasonal head shakers (spring onset) can be treated with melatonin. Daily administration of melatonin mimics the winter conditions of melatonin kinetics and thereby may decrease the seasonal body changes which lead to the development of headshaking.

Source: Annabel Ensor. BVSc.: link

Melatonin is a hormone (N-acetyl-5 methoxytryptamine) produced especially at night in the pineal gland. Its secretion is stimulated by the dark and inhibited by light. Tryptophan is converted to serotonin and finally converted to melatonin which is an Indole. The suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) of the hypothalamus have melatonin receptors and melatonin may have a direct action on SCN to influence "circadian" rhythms. (Weaver et al., 1993). Melatonin is metabolised to 6-hydroxy-mel in the liver and the main metabolite excreted is 6-sulphatoxy-mel. Isolated measurements of mel are difficult to interpret given its circadian secretion, however urinary excretion of 6-sulphatoxy-mel may be helpful in studying pineal function especially in children.

Research has found the pineal hormone melatonin is low in migraine patients. Additionally, several studies found administering melatonin to migraine sufferers relieved pain and decreased headache recurrence in some cases. It has been suggested melatonin may play an important therapeutic role in the treatment of migraines and other types of headaches, particularly those related to delayed sleep phase syndrome. Current research supports the hypothesis that migraines are a response to a pineal circadian irregularity in which the administration of melatonin normalizes this circadian cycle; i.e., melatonin may play a role in resynchronizing biological rhythms to lifestyle and subsequently relieve migraines and other forms of headaches. In addition, research testing the administration of melatonin found it safe in migraine sufferers, with few or no side effects. However, a larger, randomized control trial is needed to definitively determine if administration of melatonin to migraine patients is effective.

(Altern Med Rev 2001;6(4):383-389)


Link to data sheet: http://www.aeiveos.com/diet/melatonin/ 

It is not recommended that melatonin should be taken unless prescribed by a qualified medical practitioner and according to the Drug Enforcement laws of the country in which it is taken.

Why Is Melatonin Available Without A Prescription? (2003)
Chances are good that you have seen melatonin in health food stores or in an advertisement or article. No other hormone is available in the United States without a prescription. Because melatonin is contained naturally in some foods, the U.S. Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 allows it to be sold as a dietary supplement (e.g. vitamins and minerals). These do not need to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or controlled in the same way as drugs.

What Does This Mean?
Because it is not categorized as a drug, synthetic melatonin is made in factories that are not regulated by the FDA. Listed doses may not be controlled or accurate, meaning the amount of melatonin in a pill you take may not be the amount listed on the package.
Most commercial products are offered at dosages that cause melatonin levels in the blood to rise to much higher levels than are naturally produced in the body. Taking a typical dose (1 to 3 mg) may elevate your blood melatonin levels to 1 to 20 times normal.
Side effects do not have to be listed on the product's packaging. Yet, fatigue and depression have occasionally been reported with use of melatonin.
When given to animals, melatonin can increase blood pressure and affect fertility. Such effects in humans would be a medical risk for people with heart-related problems, hypertension and stroke, kidney disease and sleep apnea as well as for women of child-bearing age.
For melatonin to be helpful, the correct dosage, method and time of day it is taken must be appropriate to the sleep problem. Taking it at the "wrong" time of day may reset your biological clock in an undesirable direction. How much to take, when to take it, and melatonin's effectiveness, if any, for particular sleep disorders is only beginning to be understood.
While there are real concerns about the widespread use of melatonin sold as a consumer product, there have not been any reported cases of proven toxicity or overdose.







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