Synthesized from serotonin, itself derived from tryptophan, melatonin is an essential amino acid.
Its famous nickname of "sleep hormone" is probably inappropriate, even rather reductive, insofar as melatonin is in essence the central hormone regulating chronobiological rhythms and, in fact, almost all hormonal secretions, not only in humans, but in all mammals.
Melatonin is synthesized in a specific area of the brain called the pineal gland, in response to too little exposure to natural light, such as during the winter period.
Some foods contain melatonin in varying amounts. The body can therefore obtain it from plant sources (rice, pineapple, banana, cherry, alfalfa), but also from algae (chlorella) and certain micro-organisms.
- Consumed at a rate of 0.5 mg/day, it helps to reduce the effects of jet lag. For maximum effectiveness, it should be taken on the first day of travel, close to bedtime, and for several days.
- At a dose of 1 mg/day, taken in the evening, melatonin reduces the time needed to fall asleep.
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