Hor­mones are con­duc­tors that con­trol our entire body. They are respon­si­ble for growth, body for­ma­tion, char­ac­ter traits, and even the abil­i­ty to dis­tin­guish between day and night. At the same time, mela­tonin, the sleep hor­mone that helps us feel the cir­ca­di­an rhythm, is no less impor­tant than any oth­er. What is the use of it, what threat­ens its defi­cien­cy and why a healthy lifestyle is so impor­tant for the pro­duc­tion of this hor­mone, Med­AboutMe fig­ured it out.

What is the hormone melatonin

What is the hormone melatonin

It is known that sleep is a nec­es­sary com­po­nent of human life. This is due to the fact that it is dur­ing sleep that the body regen­er­ates, rests, restores ener­gy reserves. Even effec­tive learn­ing of new skills is impos­si­ble with­out sleep, because dur­ing the rest peri­od the brain process­es and sys­tem­atizes the infor­ma­tion received dur­ing the day.

The hor­mone mela­tonin is respon­si­ble for the abil­i­ty to fall asleep and sleep for a long time. It pro­vides switch­ing of an organ­ism, influ­ences the cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem and a metab­o­lism. How­ev­er, these are far from all the func­tions for which the sleep hor­mone is respon­si­ble. Mela­tonin also pro­vides:

  • Reduc­tion of age-relat­ed changes, that is, pro­tec­tion against aging. The hor­mone is a nat­ur­al antiox­i­dant that pro­tects the body from free rad­i­cals.
  • Pre­ven­tion of onco­log­i­cal dis­eases.
  • Acti­va­tion of immu­ni­ty.
  • Nor­mal­iza­tion of blood com­po­si­tion — low­er­ing sug­ar and “bad” cho­les­terol.
  • Low­er­ing blood pres­sure.
  • The nor­mal­iza­tion of the psy­cho­log­i­cal state, in par­tic­u­lar, helps to fight sea­son­al depres­sion.

Mela­tonin is syn­the­sized by the pineal gland, and nor­mal­ly the hor­mone is pro­duced at night. More­over, its max­i­mum amount, up to 70%, appears from 0 to 4 in the morn­ing. Dark­ness is one of the main fac­tors for the for­ma­tion of mela­tonin. It is extreme­ly dif­fi­cult to pro­vide its nec­es­sary con­cen­tra­tion in the blood dur­ing day­time sleep. This must be remem­bered by those who work night shifts. The sleep­ing room should have thick cur­tains that do not let in light, it is also bet­ter to use a blind­fold. Oth­er­wise, the norms of hor­mones will not be pro­vid­ed — the body will become more vul­ner­a­ble to var­i­ous dis­eases.

Hormone and health

Hormone and health

All hor­mones in the body are con­nect­ed, a vio­la­tion of the pro­duc­tion of one can lead to oth­er fail­ures. And mela­tonin is no excep­tion. It is he who makes us feel the change of day and night. How­ev­er, not only the sleep hor­mone is tied to cir­ca­di­an rhythms. The norms of hor­mones change sig­nif­i­cant­ly dur­ing the day, and with­out the body feel­ing the dai­ly rhythm, their syn­the­sis is dis­turbed. An exam­ple would be TSH (thy­roid-stim­u­lat­ing hor­mone), which reg­u­lates the func­tion­ing of the thy­roid gland. Its max­i­mum out­put also falls at night. If mela­tonin is not enough and a per­son does not fall asleep, the lev­el of TSH decreas­es, and after it, dis­rup­tions in the pro­duc­tion of thy­roid hor­mones begin. As a result, hypothy­roidism devel­ops — a dis­ease that affects the state of the whole organ­ism, can, in par­tic­u­lar, affect sex hor­mones and lead to infer­til­i­ty.

In addi­tion, the con­nec­tion between mela­tonin and insulin, which is respon­si­ble for the reg­u­la­tion of blood glu­cose lev­els, has been proven. In the event that the sleep hor­mone is not enough, insulin lev­els also fall — a per­son can devel­op dia­betes.

With age, the amount of mela­tonin pro­duced decreas­es, and this is reflect­ed in health. Since the hor­mone com­pen­sates for free rad­i­cals, low lev­els will lead to their accu­mu­la­tion. And this, in turn, accel­er­ates the aging and wilt­ing of tis­sues, increas­es the risk of devel­op­ing can­cer.

The norm of the hor­mone mela­tonin low­ers “bad” cho­les­terol, pro­tects the body from the devel­op­ment of ath­er­o­scle­ro­sis. But with its defi­cien­cy, var­i­ous dis­eases of the car­dio­vas­cu­lar sys­tem, includ­ing coro­nary heart dis­ease, can devel­op and progress faster.

Melatonin deficiency symptoms and treatment

Melatonin deficiency symptoms and treatment

It is pos­si­ble to assume a lack of mela­tonin in a per­son who does not adhere to a healthy lifestyle (HLS), with a dis­turbed reg­i­men. Fre­quent wake­ful­ness at night and late falling asleep always lead to a decrease in the lev­el of the hor­mone. In the future, its defi­cien­cy is man­i­fest­ed by seri­ous sleep dis­or­ders. Along with con­stant insom­nia, in which a per­son sim­ply can­not fall asleep at night, chron­ic day­time sleepi­ness is observed. Sleep ceas­es to be deep and long, for exam­ple, a per­son can wake up at night, after which he can no longer fall asleep until morn­ing.

Lat­er, oth­er symp­toms of cir­ca­di­an rhythm dis­tur­bance and low hor­mone lev­els appear:

  • Poor con­cen­tra­tion, low pro­duc­tiv­i­ty.
  • Inhi­bi­tion of reac­tions or, con­verse­ly, mild excitabil­i­ty.
  • Prob­lem­at­ic aging skin, dry hair.
  • Excess weight.
  • Fre­quent colds.
  • High blood pres­sure, rapid heart­beat.

In the event that sleep dis­tur­bances are suf­fi­cient­ly pro­nounced and are not com­pen­sat­ed by the usu­al adjust­ment of the reg­i­men, the doc­tor may pre­scribe spe­cial prepa­ra­tions con­tain­ing mela­tonin. The expe­di­en­cy of drug treat­ment is deter­mined exclu­sive­ly by a spe­cial­ist endocri­nol­o­gist based on tests. The vast major­i­ty of these drugs are pre­scribed to peo­ple over 35 years of age. Until this age, the restora­tion of the norm of the hor­mone mela­tonin is solved by adjust­ing the lifestyle.

Healthy lifestyle for disease prevention

Healthy lifestyle for disease prevention

It is sim­ply impos­si­ble to pro­vide the required lev­el of mela­tonin with­out a healthy lifestyle, because if the reg­i­men is not fol­lowed, the pro­duc­tion of the hor­mone can­not be achieved. It is quite dif­fi­cult to ade­quate­ly com­pen­sate for its defi­cien­cy with a con­stant intake of drugs. The pro­duc­tion of mela­tonin can change dai­ly, which means that the select­ed fixed dose may be insuf­fi­cient or exces­sive, depend­ing on how the per­son spent the day. And this will lead to hor­mon­al surges that will affect the entire body.

To pre­vent dis­eases caused by mela­tonin defi­cien­cy, it is impor­tant to fol­low these rules:

  • Cor­rect sleep. You should fall asleep no lat­er than 12 o’clock at night, sleep in a dark room, it is bet­ter to give up night­lights, lamps and oth­er things.
  • Dai­ly activ­i­ty. Mela­tonin is inex­tri­ca­bly linked to sero­tonin, a day­time pitu­itary hor­mone that is pro­duced in bright light. It is from sero­tonin that the sleep hor­mone is syn­the­sized at night. There­fore, insuf­fi­cient activ­i­ty dur­ing the day, lack of walks in the fresh air on sun­ny days can also low­er mela­tonin lev­els.
  • Rejec­tion of bad habits. The hor­mon­al back­ground direct­ly depends on the obser­vance of this norm of healthy lifestyle. It has been proven that mela­tonin syn­the­sis is inhib­it­ed by alco­hol, nico­tine and caf­feine.
  • Suf­fi­cient vari­ety of food. Some foods rich in pro­tein stim­u­late the pro­duc­tion of the hor­mone. Among them: nuts, meat, legumes, dairy prod­ucts. Oat­meal and whole grain bread are also help­ful.

Endocrinol­o­gy. nation­al guid­ance / Ed. I.I. Dedo­va, G.A. Mel­nichenko - 2012


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