Melatonin is a growth hormone naturally produced by the pineal gland in your brain, and circulating in your bloodstream. Melatonin is secreted at night or in the dark to regulate your sleeping cycle. It plays a significant role in maintaining sleep-wake rhythms.

Melatonin is considered to be the most powerful natural antioxidant our bodies produce and it can affect every cell. As well, it is also an anti-depressant, anti-aging agent, and it regulates both the immune system and sexual functions. Furthermore, it plays a key role in memory and learning capacity. Because of all these wonderful attributes, marketers of the supplement variety dubbed it the "youth hormone."

Melatonin even seems to inhibit tumor growth. When there's not enough of it in a woman's system, the ovaries will respond by producing extra estrogen and other female sex hormones which in turn can activate cancerous or potentially cancerous cells in the breasts.

The supplemental form of melatonin is used to treat insomnia in people who are either having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. They help normalize the body's internal clock in blind people, those suffering from jet lag, and shift workers who work nights and sleep during the day. It may improve sleep in asthma sufferers and also abdominal pain in irritable bowel syndrome patients with sleep disturbances.

Sleep disorders can affect a person's quality of life and job performance, causing decreased productivity, motor vehicle and industrial accidents, and even medical errors. There are two main classifications of insomnia: primary and secondary sleep disorders.

The primary sleep disorders can be caused by stress or too much caffeine. Melatonin supplements, however, do not significantly help persons with this type of disorder, regardless of age, type of primary sleep disorder, dose, or length of treatment.

Secondary sleep disorders tend to be triggered by underlying neurological or mental conditions. Some of these disorders are psychoses, mood and anxiety disorders, dementia, Parkinson's disease, and chronic pulmonary disease. Here, too, the supplements have no impact whatsoever, regardless of age, dosage or duration of the treatment.

Despite all the excellent qualities of melatonin, the supplemental variety falls far short of the stuff your body produces naturally. The supplemental variety, whether "natural" or synthetic, doesn't work for everyone. There is little scientific evidence that it either promotes health or treats disease.

Since melatonin products are not regulated by a government agency, their purity, safety and effectiveness cannot be verified. Approximately half of the people taking it for any condition notice an improvement.

It must be noted here that melatonin supplements do have many side effects. These include slower reaction times, "heavy" heads and stomachs, and persistent drowsiness throughout the day. For these reasons the use of machinery or vehicles should be delayed for several hours after taking it. The weaker a person's immune system, the more severe the side effects! Doctors, therefore, do not recommend melatonin for people with mental illness, severe allergies or cancer.

As it also increases the risk of blood clotting, it should not be taken if you are using Coumadin or similar medications to reduce clotting, or have a clotting disorder. Melatonin supplements also may cause abdominal cramps, nausea, and vomiting, and can possibly bring on hallucinations or paranoia.

Those who are pregnant or breast-feeding, depressed, suffering from either an auto-immune disease or a hormonal one such as diabetes should definitely not use this supplement!

So, if it is supposed to be so great, what gives? The secret is within you, my friend! Melatonin is manufactured in your own body! You really don't need a supplemental facsimile! What you need is the power to reactivate your sluggish pineal gland to produce precisely all the melatonin your unique body needs! No guessing and no external agents that can upset the delicate balance of your immune system!

Always and in everything do your own due diligence. Doctors do not have all the nutritional answers, nor are all supplements created equal. The information in this article is simply informational. You really can get your youth back and discover a youth makeover! Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Prosper and be in health!

Author's Bio: 

Ann Stewart, author, inspirational writer and wellness coach, shares tips on how to fight off disease and feel your best in her weekly newsletter,
Youth Makeover