Natural Factors Melatonin
Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland, a pea-sized gland at the base of the brain. The exact function of melatonin is still poorly understood, but it is critically involved in regulating the body`s circadian rhythms "the natural biorhythm of hormone secretion" as well as the sleep/wake cycle. Release of melatonin is stimulated by darkness and suppressed by light. It appears that some people may under-produce melatonin at night when it is needed, and over-produce it during the day when it should be low.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is associated with progressive winter depression as the days get shorter. Typically, these individuals feel depressed, slow down, and generally oversleep, overeat, crave carbohydrates and women can experience resulting hormone imbalances such as increased PMS symptoms, in the winter. Improvement progresses as days increase in length. In the summer, these same patients feel elated, active, and energetic. A lack of exposure to full-spectrum natural light appears the most logical explanation as it triggers a reduced secretion of melatonin from the pineal gland and an increased secretion of cortisol by the adrenal glands.
Uses & Benefits
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