Every second in our body, a huge amount of a variety of chemicals necessary to maintain life is formed. One of them is melatonin, also called the sleep hormone. What is this connection? In this article, we will talk about the functions of melatonin, what analysis is carried out to determine the level of this hormone, normal indicators and deviations from the norm.
What is melatonin?
Melatonin is a substance synthesized by the pineal gland, or pineal gland. It is the main regulator of the circadian, or circadian, rhythms of the body. What are circadian rhythms? So called cyclic changes in the severity of various biological processes, depending on the change of day and night.
The main tasks of this hormone are:
- maintaining a normal level of blood pressure;
- adaptation to changing time zones;
- activation of immune processes;
- maintaining the proper functioning of the endocrine system;
- regulation of menstrual cycles in women;
- antioxidant activity, etc.
Proper production of melatonin is also extremely important for pregnant women. In 2014, scientists from the Research Institute of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductology named after. BEFORE. Otta published a work in which it was found that maternal melatonin, penetrating easily to the fetus, plays a key role in the functional development of its central nervous system and the formation of circadian rhythms of vital activity.
Why is this substance called the sleep hormone? This is due to the fact that the most active production of melatonin occurs at night (the peak occurs at two in the morning).
Blood test for melatonin
The material for analysis for melatonin is venous blood. Saliva is also suitable for determining the level of this substance in the body.
In the study of blood, the enzyme immunoassay method is used, saliva — the method of liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry.
Such a study is prescribed if a person has:
- certain sleep disorders;
- emotional disorders;
- problems with the menstrual cycle;
- multiple sclerosis;
- pathologies of the cardiovascular system;
- endocrine disorders.
In addition, this analysis is indicated when taking medications containing melatonin.
How to prepare for research? The day before the test, you should stop drinking alcohol, drinks containing caffeine. Blood sampling is carried out on an empty stomach. Approximately half an hour before the examination, it is recommended to refrain from smoking, excessive physical exertion, psycho-emotional stress.
Norm and deviations from the norm
The normal daytime concentration of melatonin in the blood is from 8 to 20 pg / ml, at night — from 70 to 150 pg / ml.
An increase in the content of this substance can be observed with mental disorders, for example, with schizophrenia or depression, endocrine disorders, for example, with an increase in the functional activity of the pineal gland, as well as with some other pathologies.
A decrease in melatonin is characteristic of a pronounced deficiency of vitamins and minerals, liver diseases, tumors of the pineal gland, and so on.