Melatonin is a hormone manufactured from serotonin and secreted by the pineal gland, which is a pea-sized gland at the base of the brain. As people age, sometimes the pineal gland will calcify, causing a decrease in melatonin production. It is made from the amino acid tryptophan. Your body needs B vitamins to convert melatonin from tryptophan. If you do not get enough B vitamins your body could be deficient in melatonin. At menopause there is a decline in melatonin production. Melatonin influences sleep, mood, the stress response, immune function, and even helps to prevent cancer.
Interesting!!!! The Appenix produces melatonin!!!! I had always heard that they were a useless organ... used originally for digesting grass!!!!!..eg as a cow supposedly has a huge one!!!!!
"The concentration of melatonin in the gastrointestinal tissues surpasses blood levels by 10–100 times and there is at least 400× more melatonin in the gastrointestinal tract than in the pineal gland."
The human appendix was the first site outside the pineal where the occurrence of melatonin could be demonstrated (Raikhlin et al: “Melatonin may be synthesized in enterochromaffin cells.” Nature [Lond.] 1975,255:344-5.) The biosynthesis of melatonin was demonstrated in the gut the following year ( Quay & Ma: “Demonstration of gastrointestinal HIOMT.” Int. Rep. Clin. Sci. Med. Sci. Lib. Compend. 1976, 4: 563.) Melatonin is widely available as an individual food supplement.
Edited by crystal sage, 14 February 2007 - 12:27 AM.