Melatonin is a hormone synthesized from the amino acid tryptophan produced especially at night in the pineal gland and helps induce sleep. It is reported to play a role in preventing the production of free radicals and is thus a potent antioxidant. It can also enhance the function of the immune system and appears to have an antitumor effect. Melatonin secretion, mediated by photoperiod, directly influences reproductive function and dopamine which moves into frontal lobe regulating flow of information coming in from other areas of the brain. Additional side effects may be produced from treatment with melatonin and include stomach cramps, dizziness, headache, irritability, breast enlargement in men (called gynecomastia), and decreased sperm count. For clinical trials, the direct effect of exogenous melatonin administration on patients manifested with cancer should be studied to find its oncostatic effects on some cancers and provide information on its dosage and long-term safety. Moreover, mechanisms of action should be further investigated.
Part of the book: Melatonin