This is the fourth and last of a series of short videos on the main ‘Feel Good’ brain molecules such as Serotonin, Dopamine, Oxytocin and Melatonin. Melatonin is a neurohormone derivative of serotonin, secreted by the pineal gland which is the most important neuroendocrine organ in the brain. The pineal gland translates an external signal (daily and seasonal variation in light and temperature) into a specific hormonal secretion which regulates the endocrine functions. The principal factor affecting melatonin secretion is light, which inhibits its secretion, whereas darkness has the opposite effect from light, resulting in an increase of melatonin secretion. Alterations in circadian rhythms may cause the onset of numerous pathologies like emotional problems (serious depression), immune deficiency, psychosomatic disorders, dermatological pathologies such as psoriasis and vitiligo, problems linked with food intake (bulimia, mental anorexia), sleep disorders, problems with puberty, and possibly cancer . Melatonin has been proved to increase REM sleep time and dream activity, and users have reported an increase in the vividness of dreams and lucid dreaming. Besides the regulation of circadian rhythms and sleep the pineal gland hormone melatonin has been found to directly modulate catecholamine (epinephrine and norepinephrine) and cortisol (the stress hormone) levels; it controls the diurnal cycle of glucosteroids and inhibits hydrocortisone synthesis in the adrenal glands. During stress, elevated amounts of hydrocortisone inhibit melatonin synthesis, thereby causing vascular damage, hypertension, type 2 diabetes and eventual organ failure. Since stress hormones affect memory processing, melatonin can be regarded as a modulator and enhancer of memory functions. In Alzheimer’s disease melatonin may prevent neuronal death caused by exposure to the amyloid beta protein, a neurotoxic substance that accumulates in the brains of patients with this disorder. Melatonin is a powerful free-radical scavenger and wide-spectrum antioxidant, twice as active as vitamin E and with a particular role in the protection of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA.
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DISCLAIMER: Nothing contained in this video is intended nor can be taken to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. It is for informational purposes only.