Odds are you have heard of melatonin, but how much do you understand about it? This natural hormone is created by your pineal gland — a gland in the center of your brain that is about the same size as a pea — as well as by the lining of the gut. Melatonin assists in regulating your body’s sleep and wake cycles, altering your responsiveness throughout the day and evening. In fact, higher amounts of melatonin are generated by your body at night; numbers rise in the evening — around sundown — and drop to normal again in the morning, helping maintain your body’s circadian rhythms. The quantity produced all depends on your “internal clock” and the amount of light you get each day.
While melatonin is recognized for its influence on slumber and wakefulness, it can also change other aspects of health and wellness. This hard-working hormone can alter gut health, influence insulin sensitivity and metabolic rate, body weight, and even how your body ages.
For instance, Melatonin can help prevent leaky gut syndrome and other medical issues by helping support a healthy intestinal lining. Research shows that adding melatonin can significantly reduce the signs of irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, by reducing abdominal discomfort and improving the patient’s overall quality of life. There is some data that displays it may also help prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease conditions.
For more information about the link between melatonin and your microbiome, check out the accompanying resource.