Saturday, August 13, 2022

What Part Of The Brain Produces Melatonin

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2-Minute Neuroscience: Melatonin

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Theme: Treetops

Each of todays themed answers is in the down-direction, with a type of TREE on the TOP:

  • 55A. Canopy creators or what can literally be found in 6-, 10-, 24- and 34-Down : TREETOPS
  • 6D. Brain part that produces melatonin : PINEAL GLAND
  • 10D. Cartographers table : MAP LEGEND
  • 24D. Reason for a parking restriction : FIRE HYDRANT
  • 34D. Wascally wabbit hunter : ELMER FUDD

Bills time: 6m 09s

Bills errors: 0

Melatonin Ways Of Action And Effects

In view of the aforementioned general characteristics of pineal melatonin production and its several specific mechanisms of action, it is noteworthy that to accomplish its physiological role, melatonin presents several ways of action that will determine different time-allocated effects. It is important to note that melatonins ways of action and ensuing effects might vary according to the considered physiological system however, they should be broadly taken into account to fully understand and interpret melatonin physiology and pathophysiology.

Immediate effects

Immediate effects are the consequence of what can be called the classic hormonal way of action and are related to melatonin being present in biological fluids and its instant interaction with corresponding molecular effectors. Therefore, these effects are expressed during the night when melatonin is released by the pineal gland and is present in blood and CSF.

Prospective effects

Prospective effects are dependent on a special melatonins way of action, as they are primed during the night , through the immediate effects, but are expressed only during the following day when melatonin is no longer present. In other words, the nocturnal action of melatonin triggers cellular and molecular mechanisms that will determine effects that are expressed only after cessation of the melatonin signal and, as a rule, the absence of melatonin during the following day is a necessary condition for their occurrence.

Should You Take Melatonin For Insomnia

If you have or think you have insomnia, you should chat with your doctor about melatonin as a potential treatment. Some major health agencies advise against using melatonin to treat insomnia and instead advocate for cognitive behavioral therapy or another drug-free intervention.

Your doctor may want you to try lifestyle modifications first, such as increasing your daily exercise, changing your eating habits or reducing alcohol consumption. Your provider will also want to rule out other conditions that can coexist with insomnia, such as anxiety or depression. Sometimes, when drug-free interventions don’t suffice, prescription medication is needed to treat insomnia.

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Melatonin And Its Effect On Gut And Brain Health

· the sleepy hormone for our gut and brain ·

Melatonin and its effect on gut and brain health is an emerging, and highly important, field of research. The effect that the natural hormone melatonin has on our body, could prove to have many health benefits from determining what we feel like eating, to how we feel emotionally. Because the gut and brain are so closely linked, it makes sense that this hormone plays a significant role in our overall well-being.

So lets take a look at the effect melatonin has on the body and how this can affect how we feel, sleep, what we choose to eat, our gut, our stress levels, inflammation in the body, and how all this can impact our daily lives.

For a super quick understanding of melatonin, check out this 2-minute video clip.

Inappropriate Melatonin Receptormediated Response

Researchers Explain How Melatonin Improves Both Sleep and Wellness

In the case of inappropriate melatonin receptormediated response, pineal melatonin production is adequate, temporally restricted to the night, and controlled by the circadian clock and the annual photoperiod. However, mainly due to genetic variations of melatonin receptors , usually single nucleotide polymorphisms, the central and peripheral responses of the target organs to melatonin are impaired. The symptoms will be defined based on the affected tissues and can virtually include any of the above-mentioned ones.

The first point to be emphasized is that melatonin receptor polymorphisms do not necessarily generate nonresponsive receptors. There is evidence in the literature pointing to the fact that single-nucleotide polymorphismbearing receptors may inappropriately respond to the melatonin signal, either as a hyposensitive system or a hypersensitive system. This inadequate receptor response may render the physiological system nonresponsive to the regulatory role exerted by melatonin and, in consequence, it will express a nonadaptive response to the daily and annual rhythmic behavioral and physiological demands. The immediate consequence is chronodisruption, with the symptoms described previously. The proposed pathologies associated with melatonin receptor variants are type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes, sleep and circadian disorders, Graves disease, impaired metabolic response to a hypocaloric diet, metastasis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and others .

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Regulation Of The Pituitary Gland

Studies on rodents suggest that the pineal gland influences the pituitary gland‘s secretion of the sex hormones, follicle-stimulating hormone , and luteinizing hormone . Pinealectomy performed on rodents produced no change in pituitary weight, but caused an increase in the concentration of FSH and LH within the gland. Administration of melatonin did not return the concentrations of FSH to normal levels, suggesting that the pineal gland influences pituitary gland secretion of FSH and LH through an undescribed transmitting molecule.

The pineal gland contains receptors for the regulatory neuropeptide, endothelin-1, which, when injected in picomolar quantities into the lateral cerebral ventricle, causes a calcium-mediated increase in pineal glucose metabolism.

What Are The Side Effects Of Melatonin

Short-term use of melatonin has relatively few side effects and is well-tolerated by the majority of people who take it. The most commonly reported side effects are daytime drowsiness, headaches, and dizziness, but these are experienced by only a small percentage of people who take melatonin.

In children, the reported side effects of short-term use are similar as in adults. Some children may experience agitation or an increased risk of bedwetting when using melatonin.

For both children and adults, talking with a doctor before taking melatonin can help prevent possible allergic reactions or harmful interactions with other medications. People taking anti-epilepsy and blood thinning medications, in particular, should ask their physician about potential drug interactions.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends against melatonin use in people with dementia, and there is little research about its safety in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

There is also very little data about the long-term effects of melatonin supplements in children or adults. There is some concern that sustained use of melatonin could affect the onset of puberty in children, but research so far is inconclusive. Because the long-term effects are unknown, people should maintain an ongoing conversation with their doctor about using melatonin and the quality of their sleep and overall health.

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What Are The Risks Of Serotonin Deficiency

Low levels of serotonin are often associated with many behavioral and emotional disorders. Therefore, research studies confirm that low serotonin levels can lead to depression, anxiety, suicidal behavior, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Since serotonin helps regulate the bodys internal clock, a serotonin deficiency may impact the ability to feel sleepy, remain asleep, have insomnia, and wake up refreshed in the morning.

Its role in how muscles behave means that low serotonin can cause chronic pain. In addition, low levels are strongly correlated with fibromyalgia, and people with the condition may get relief from antidepressants that raise serotonin levels.

Likewise, some studies have linked serotonin to the proper functioning of memory and learning, so any difficulties in these areas could indicate a serotonin issue.

Anxiety disorders, including obsessive-compulsive forms, that occur suddenly and appears unrelated to any trigger may indicate an issue with low serotonin levels.

Research has shown that people with low serotonin have appetite issues or eating disorders, given the apparent correlation between the hormone and the digestive tract. This may include not eating enough, overeating, or alternating between the two.

One of the ways to increase serotonin levels naturally is possible by changing the diet, including foods containing dietary tryptophan.

Mechanisms Of Action Of Melatonin And Therapeutic Rationale

Pineal Gland and Melatonin: Anatomy and Physiology

With the increasing prevalence of sleep disorders associated with theepidemic of obesity, there has been a great deal of renewed interest inmelatonin, its mechanism of action and its therapeutic effects. Sleep disorders,regardless of the etiology, are becoming frequently encountered by physiciansand other health care providers. According to data from the Center for DiseaseControl , up to about 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleepproblems , which are generallyassociated with obesity, diabetes, hypertension and increased cardiovascularrisk. While increasingly common in the general population coupled with obesity,sleep disorders are disproportionately severe and associated with increasedcardiovascular risk among minority populations . Sleep disorders arealso commonly associated with other comorbidities as well including dementias,chronic pain, mental illness and gastrointestinal disorders . Unfortunately, irrespective of thehigh prevalence and the serious health consequences, sleep disorders often goundiagnosed and largely undertreated . It is therefore critical to properly diagnose and treat certaintypes of circadian rhythm sleep disorders such as advanced sleep phase syndrome, shift-work sleep disorder, and jetlag .

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Melatonin Production During Development And Across Life

At birth, melatonin levels are almost undetectable, the only fetal source of melatonin being via the placental circulation. Melatonin levels in fetal umbilical circulation reflect the day-night difference as seen in the maternal circulation. Maternal melatonin sends a temporal circadian signal to the fetus , preparing the CNS to properly deal with environmental day/night fluctuations after birth. A melatonin rhythm appears around 2 to 3 months of life , levels increasing exponentially until a lifetime peak on average in prepubertal children melatonin concentrations in children are associated with Tanner stages of puberty . Thereafter, a steady decrease occurs reaching mean adult concentrations in late teens . Values are stable until 35 to 40 years, followed by a decline in amplitude of melatonin rhythm and lower levels with ageing, leading to fragmented sleep-wake patterns. In people > 90 years, melatonin levels are less than 20% of young adult concentrations . The decline in age-related melatonin production is attributed to different reasons calcification of the pineal gland starting early in life and an impairment in the noradrenergic innervation to the gland or light detection capacity . Interestingly, pinealectomy accelerates the aging process and several reports suggest that melatonin has anti-aging properties .

Pineal Physiology And Pathophysiology

Circulating melatonin levels in vertebrates are derived from pineal melatonin secretion, and their magnitude informs brain regions about environmental light-dark cycles and seasonality, as inferred by changes in the duration of the nocturnal melatonin plateau. Those cues, in turn, help to entrain sleep activity and reproductive cycle events . In birds, rodents, and seasonally breeding mammals, pinealectomy impairs reproduction. In those species there are indications that melatonin stimulates the release of gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone, in turn leading to the suppression of gonadotropins , which may explain the disruptive effects on reproduction.

In humans both precociouspuberty and delayed puberty have been associated with pineal tumours and cysts. However, the pathogenesis leading to those conditions is unclear, and both mechanical and hormonal factors may be involved. Positive relationships between melatonin secretion and some other hormones have been reported, though pure melatonin-secreting tumours have not been observed. Indeed, in contrast to other endocrine glands, such as the pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid, there are no well-defined pineal hormone-deficiency or hormone-excess syndromes.

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What Affects Serotonin Levels

Several different factors can affect serotonin production. Brain serotonin increases or falls based on the following factors:

  • Prescription medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors , illicit drugs, or supplements.
  • Sometimes inherited genetic disorders may also affect the bodys ability to metabolize serotonin.
  • Lifestyle and other aspects play a role, such as hormonal shifts, menopause, pregnancy, and advancing age.
  • Other things that may affect serotonin levels include a lack of sunlight, nutrition, and chronic stress.

Treatment For Habitual Users

Melatonin Supplementation: How Long Does Melatonin Last in the Body ...

There is no treatment available for habitual users of melatonin. This supplement has not been proven to be an addictive substance, nor have any studies been conducted on whether or not a person can build up a tolerance to it or suffer any withdrawal symptoms when stopping its use. Tolerance is a condition in which higher and higher doses of a drug are needed to produce the original effect.

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The Pineal Gland And Melatonin

The pineal gland or epiphysis synthesizes and secretes melatonin, a structurally simple hormone that communicates information about environmental lighting to various parts of the body. Ultimately, melatonin has the ability to entrain biological rhythms and has important effects on reproductive function of many animals. The light-transducing ability of the pineal gland has led some to call the pineal the “third eye”.

Anatomy of the Pineal Gland

The pineal gland is a small organ shaped like a pine cone . It is located on the midline, attached to the posterior end of the roof of the third ventricle in the brain. The pineal varies in size among species in humans it is roughly 1 cm in length, whereas in dogs it is only about 1 mm long. To observe the pineal, reflect the cerebral hemispheres laterally and look for a small grayish bump in front of the cerebellum. The images below shows the pineal gland of a horse in relation to the brain.

Histologically, the pineal is composed of “pinealocytes” and glial cells. In older animals, the pineal often is contains calcium deposits .

Melatonin: Synthesis, Secretion and Receptors

The precursor to melatonin is serotonin, a neurotransmitter that itself is derived from the amino acid tryptophan. Within the pineal gland, serotonin is acetylated and then methylated to yield melatonin.

Biological Effects of Melatonin

Effects on Reproductive Function

Effects on Sleep and Activity

Other Effects of Melatonin

Melatonin Supplementation

Interactions Between Drugs Or Substances And Endogenous Melatonin

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are a type of antidepressant that stimulates the pineal gland’s ability to produce melatonin. Antipsychotic drugs also have this effect. Other medicines have the opposite effect. Certain types of medicines used to treat cardiovascular disease called beta blockers reduce the production of melatonin by the pineal gland. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, which are used to treat pain and/or fever, benzodiazepines, and caffeine also inhibit the production of melatonin.

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Does Melatonin Actually Work

The scientific evidence on melatonin points in both directions: Many studies say it works, many say it doesn’t. This could be because melatonin affects everyone differently , so to find out if melatonin works for you, you’d have to try it yourself.

For argument’s sake, here are some recent peer-reviewed studies on the efficacy of melatonin:

  • A 2020 meta-analysis found melatonin to effectively reduce the time it takes to fall asleep in children and adolescents with insomnia.
  • A 2019 meta-analysis concluded that melatonin has little to no effect on sleep efficiency , although it does appear to reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and increase total sleep time.
  • A 2017 meta-analysis found that melatonin can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep in adults with sleep disorders and can regulate sleep-wake patterns .

If you do decide to take melatonin, consider discussing potential benefits and risks with your doctor first, as well as proper dosing and timing guidelines, which are outlined below.

There are also many research studies on the efficacy of melatonin as it pertains to specific conditions, such as melatonin for sleep following a traumatic brain injury, melatonin for Parkinson’s disease and melatonin for ADHD. If you have a health condition you think may benefit from melatonin, perusing studies can help you learn more, although you should definitely check with your doctor, too.

Is It Safe To Take Melatonin

2-Minute Neuroscience: Pineal Gland

For melatonin supplements, particularly at doses higher than what the body normally produces, thereâs not enough information yet about possible side effects to have a clear picture of overall safety. Short-term use of melatonin supplements appears to be safe for most people, but information on the long-term safety of supplementing with melatonin is lacking.

Also keep in mind:

  • Interactions with medicines

  • As with all dietary supplements, people who are taking medicine should consult their health care providers before using melatonin. In particular, people with epilepsy and those taking blood thinner medications need to be under medical supervision when taking melatonin supplements.
  • Possible allergic reaction risk

  • There may be a risk of allergic reactions to melatonin supplements.
  • Safety concerns for pregnant and breastfeeding women

  • Thereâs been a lack of research on the safety of melatonin use in pregnant or breastfeeding women.
  • Safety concerns for older people

  • The 2015 guidelines by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommend against melatonin use by people with dementia.
  • Melatonin may stay active in older people longer than in younger people and cause daytime drowsiness.
  • Melatonin is regulated as a dietary supplement

  • Products may not contain whatâs listed on the label

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    Melatonin And Jet Lag

    To help combat jet lag, according to Health Services at Columbia: Go Ask Alice!, it is suggested that a person take melatonin at the start of and during a trip at specific times in order to achieve the best results. If traveling east, a person, on the day of travel, should take one dose of melatonin between 6 and 7 p.m. of his or her normal time zone. At the destination, the person should take one dose of melatonin during the first five days at bedtime of the local time.

    When traveling west, a person should take one dose of melatonin at the local bedtime after arriving at the destination, and continue to do so for the next four days. Melatonin has not been proven to help when traveling less than five time zones to the west.

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