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Melatonin releases from the pineal gland, reaching its peak at night to help maintain healthy cell division in tissues throughout the body. Secretion of melatonin declines significantly with age, as the pineal gland becomes calcified.68,69 Jet lag, shift work, and poor vision can disrupt melatonin cycles.
Melatonin keeps our circadian cycle in tune as it communicates with the body’s cells.70,71 Not only does this hormone work to maintain cell health, it appears to regulate a system of self-repair and regeneration.72,73 As this hardworking hormone diminishes with age, our biological functions are impaired.74,75 In addition to its hormone actions, melatonin also has strong antioxidant properties. Melatonin directly scavenges both hydroxyl and peroxyl free radicals, and it does so more effectively than most other antioxidants. It also greatly potentiates the efficiency of other endogenous and exogenous antioxidants.76 Melatonin is especially important for protecting cellular DNA against peroxynitrite damage by inhibiting peroxynitrite free radical reactions.77 Many people use melatonin to help improve sleep. Some research has found that melatonin increases the speed of falling asleep and adds to the quality of sleep in about 60% of people who use it.