Recent years have seen the use of melatonin become increasingly established. This is because more and more people are seeking remedies to help them sleep better, and many are looking to tap into its power as an antioxidant; the fact remains that nearly everyone has tried it.
So do people in Italy think that this is a good product? According to a survey carried out by Clavis S.r.l. on the website www.melatonina.it, the answer is yes.
In the survey, which involved 619 people (463 women and 256 men) of average age 53, 88% of those questioned gave positive feedback.
It should be borne in mind that most participants had been taking melatonin for less than three months, whilst a small proportion (about 18%) had actually been using it for over 10 years.
The vast majority take melatonin for sleep-related disorders, whilst a small number use it for other problems, such as hypertension, cholesterol, stress, depression, the menopause, etc.
So what is melatonin, exactly? Melatonin is a substance which is produced naturally by the pineal gland (the epiphysis) and also, albeit in lesser quantities, by the pituitary, the thyroid, the adrenal glands and the gonads. It appears to be an "intelligent" molecule, in that it only acts when there is a genuine need. It is through the pineal gland, however, that it carries out its most important functions. Indeed this is the gland that regulates our biological clock, optimising our systemâ€™s process of adapting to external stimuli. The epiphysis is stimulated to produce melatonin by darkness: indeed, in the hours of daylight only a small amount is secreted, whilst during night-time the quantity produced in the body is much greater.
Melatonin production tends, however, to decline naturally with age,
which is the very reason why it is essential to take melatonin capsule supplements. Recent studies show that this enhances the sleep-wake rhythms, eases stress and anxious/depressive states, as well as being useful in combating degenerative diseases.
Its anti-aging properties, too, seem to be confirmed by a study conducted by researchers from the French national centre for scientific research (CNRS) and the Pierre and Marie Curie University. Their experiment on a shrew, whose maximum lifespan is thirty months, showed that, after treatment with melatonin, it lived for a further 3 months.
Source: La Stampa newspaper.