N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine, or melatonin, is hormone produced naturally by the body in the pineal gland of the brain. The release of melatonin correlates with the body's cycle of day and night.
The highest levels of the hormone are produced at night. Trace amounts of melatonin appears in foods. In addition, quality melatonin supplement can be found here at Bodybuilding.com.
2. What does it do and what scientific studies give evidence to support this?
Melatonin may play an essential role in sleeping and much more. As light inhibits its production, and darkness stimulates it, melatonin regulates the body's internal clock. Double blind research shows that this hormone helps people sleep, shortens the number of awakenings in the night, and improves the quality of sleep. It is also very useful in treating jet lag, as it promotes quicker recovery from that "out of it" stage one may experience after extended periods of flight. Research has also shown that having enough melatonin exhibits positive psychological benefits on a person's mood, while a lack of melatonin corresponds to anxiety, fatigue, and hostility.
3. Who needs it and what are some symptoms of deficiency?
Anyone who experiences problems sleeping or jet lag... or even some restless nights, could benefit by taking melatonin supplements. Adults experience a reduction in melatonin levels as they age. Frequent travelers and those who work rotating shifts may also improve their sleep levels. Sleep is definitely important to weight-trainers, bodybuilders, and athletes, as muscles grow and repair during sleep. Melatonin has been used by millions of people to gain quality rest on a more consistent basis.
4. How much should be taken? Are there any side effects?
Levels of melatonin intake should vary with a person's age. The body produces some melatonin naturally during sleep and many doctors and experts recommend a level similar to the body's own production, between one to three milligrams taken two hours or one-half hour before a person wants to go to sleep. Melatonin should not be taken during the day. Some uncommon side effects are reports of grogginess, sleepwalking, and disorientation. Pregnant or breast-feeding women should not take it. All in all, melatonin has great sleep promoting effects.