Melatonin is also known as the sleep hormone since its production is directly related to the amount of light we receive. It is found naturally in our body and is synthesized through tryptophan, an essential amino acid that the body cannot produce on its own; It must be obtained from food and is vitally important as it is necessary for growth and development.
We have researched the importance of this hormone and this article will tell you what we discovered about it. Remember to consult your doctor or nutritionist before taking any supplements or making changes to your daily diet.
Is It OK to Take Melatonin Every Night?
Our Body Produces 2 Types Of Melatonin
Our body has two types of melatonin: one is made in the pineal gland and the other is made in the organs. The first is photosensitive, that is, it is produced according to the amount of light to which we are exposed and is responsible for controlling the biological rhythms of sleep.
The second, called extrapineal melatonin, is produced in greater amounts, but its production is not related to light. Among its most important functions is cell protection, since it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action.
Sleep, The Function Of Pineal Melatonin
Pineal melatonin controls our body’s biological clock and is primarily responsible for our rest cycles. It begins to occur at dusk when we begin to perceive less light, and its maximum production appears in the darkness of night.
It does not induce sleep like a sleeping pill; Its function is not to put us to sleep but to remind us that we need to rest.
Functions Of Extrapineal Melatonin
The production of extrapineal melatonin is totally independent of the pineal gland and, when necessary, each organ or tissue can produce it on its own. Its functions take place at the cellular level.
Regulates cell functions, acting as an antioxidant, preventing cell aging, and at the same time as an anti-inflammatory against a threat, to protect cells.
Benefits For Us
In addition to its most popular benefit as an asleep and sleep regulator, this hormone also provides us with a number of extremely important benefits.
It is a natural antioxidant; Until recently, vitamin E was believed to be the most effective antioxidant, but several studies have shown that melatonin is twice as potent. This hormone has the ability to neutralize free radicals, which are toxic substances that accumulate in cells, protecting them from deterioration.
Prevents aging – Premature aging arises when melatonin is lacking since it is the hormone in charge of regulating cellular aging.
Regulates the immune system: the accumulation of inflammatory enzymes and free radicals in cells damages healthy tissues, causing the appearance of chronic diseases. Melatonin regulates the number of cells in the immune system to fight infection, while acting as an anti-inflammatory, preventing chronic inflammation.
Helps Prevent Cancer: By adding all the properties listed above, melatonin is considered an anti-cancer hormone. It also helps increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, while reducing their side effects.
It is neuroprotective: Melatonin supplementation in the elderly helps to care for and maintain the hematoencephalic membrane, the membrane that protects the brain and spinal cord from harmful substances. It can also be used to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases that appear with age.
Foods That Help To Produce It
Although we produce this hormone naturally in our body, our diet will be of vital importance, both to consume it directly from food and to obtain the tryptophan that our body needs to synthesize it.
Fruits: cherries, especially the most acidic ones, are rich in melatonin, as are bananas, which are recommended at night to help us fall asleep. The latter, in addition to melatonin, contains tryptophan, as well as pineapples, avocados, and plums.
Vegetables: Vegetables rich in tryptophan include spinach, beets, carrots, celery, and broccoli.
Nuts: Of all Nuts, walnuts have the highest melatonin content, 3.5 nanograms of melatonin per gram of walnuts. Other nuts also provide tryptophan, vitamins B and C, protein, magnesium, and omega 3.
Cereals: Rice and oats (mostly whole grains), along with sweet corn, are the foods with the highest amount of melatonin per gram.
Legumes and seeds: Chickpeas, lentils, soybeans and sesame seeds, pumpkin and sunflower, in addition to tryptophan, will also provide B1, B3, B6, B9, and magnesium.
Meat, especially turkey, chicken, and fatty fish, are rich in tryptophan, as are eggs, especially yolks and dairy products.
Do you take any kind of nutritional supplement or vitamin? Which one and what for?
Preview photo credit TanyaLovus / Deposiphotos