the greek tennis player Tsitsipas blamed the pills melatonin of his resounding defeat against the Spanish Carlos Alcaraz: “These changes in hours are affecting the programming of my dream“. But what is melatonin and how it affects the human body.
Melatonin is a hormone in the body that plays an important role in sleep. “The production and release of melatonin in the brain is related to the time of day, that is, it increases when it is dark and decreases when there is light. Melatonin production decreases with age,” they explain in Mayo Clinic.
People commonly use melatonin for sleep disorders, such as insomnia or time delay. Melatonin is also available as a supplement, usually as a tablet or oral capsule. In fact, Tsitsipas’s excuse to justify his failure against Alcaraz was precisely taking melatonin pills to take a nap and adapt to the night schedule. “I will not do it again, it has not suited me well,” said the Greek tennis player.
Natural hormone produced in the brain
Melatonin is a hormone produced naturally by the pineal gland in the brainwhich regulates the body’s circadian rhythms and helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle. In addition to its role in regulating sleep, melatonin also has other effects on the body.
Positive effects of melatonin
Sleep regulation: Melatonin helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle. Hormone production increases in response to darkness, which helps induce sleep.
Antioxidant: Melatonin has antioxidant properties and may help protect cells against oxidative damage.
Regulation of the immune system: Melatonin has modulatory effects on various immune functions, including cytokine production and immune cell activity.
Hormonal regulation: Melatonin can also influence the regulation of other hormones in the body, including growth hormone, prolactin, and cortisol levels. It can have effects on reproduction, thyroid function and other hormonal processes.
The effects of melatonin can vary from person to person and its use should be supervised by a doctor.
Possible side effects
However, regular use of melatonin has some potential side effects. From Mayo Clinic they point out the following: headache, dizziness, nausea and drowsiness.
Less common side effects of melatonin can include feelings of short-term depression, mild tremors, moderate anxiety, abdominal cramps, irritability, reduced alertness, confusion or disorientation.
Since melatonin can cause drowsiness during the day, it is recommended not to drive or use machines for five hours after taking the supplement. Even so, it must be emphasized that their frequency is low, and it is very rare for them to occur to a serious degree.
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