Melatonin is the chief hormone of the pineal gland acting as a powerful time clock in the brain thereby maintaining normal circadian rhythms. In patients with sleep disorders and other problems with circadian rhythm (internal body clock) as occurs in jet lag, supplementation with melatonin can provide resynchronization of those cycles.
Melatonin is referred to by some biochemists and human physiologists as the master hormone because it regulates the production of most human hormones. In addition, melatonin, taken alone, is an immuno-regulator that enhances T cell production somewhat. However, when melatonin is taken in conjunction with calcium, it is a very potent immuno-stimulator of the T cell response. This is the reason it is used extensively as an adjuvant in many treatment protocols.
Synthesis of melatonin in the body has been shown to be decreased by exposure to magnetic fields and by the aging process. Melatonin also possesses effective antioxidant properties and has been shown to directly inhibit cancer growth. In addition, melatonin has also been shown to lower total cholesterol and LDL levels in rats. In addition, abnormally low melatonin levels have been postulated to be a cause in multiple sclerosis, coronary heart disease, epilepsy, and postmenopausal osteoporosis. But most people use melatonin for insomnia and find it very helpful to sleep.