Melanin vs Melatonin
Melanin and melatonin are two chemically related substances, but with many different characteristic features. Their origin, function, chemical composition and location in the human body vary widely, and which will be discussed here in detail.
What is Melanin?
Melanin is one of the major pigments found in human skin, which determines the skin color. It is synthesized by melanocytes, which are located in the skin, eye, ear, hair, and central nervous system of the human body. In addition of providing color, melanin has some other functions, as well. The most important function is the protection of skin from solar UV radiation, which causes skin cancer to humans. Melanin shields the cell’s nuclei, thus prevents DNA damage due to radiation. In addition, it is also involved in hearing.
Human melanin basically contains two polymers; (a) eumelanin, which is dark brown/black and is produced in eumelanosomes, and (b) pheomelanin, which is red/yellow and is produced in pheomelanosomes. Usually, the final color of an individual’s skin depends on the type and amount of melanin produced and the shape, size, and, distribution of the melanosomes in the skin.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a neurotransmitter, which is mainly derived from the cells in the gastrointestinal tract, the retina, and the pineal gland. Melatonin is responsible for maintaining sleep wake cycles, biological rhythms, and the modulation and inhibition of melanin synthesis. In addition, melatonin can repair the cells, which have been damaged by stress and disease, and stop the secretion of MSH and ACTH hormones. Also being an antioxidant, melatonin can destroy microorganisms, and thus it is referred to as disease-fighting hormone.
Melatonin is one of the most complex molecules found in the brain, liver, intestines, blood, and muscles. Melatonin is synthesized from Tryptophan, and the synthesis and secretion of melatonin are stimulated by catecholamines.
What is the difference between Melanin and Melatonin?
• Melanin is a pigment produced by tyrosine, whereas melatonin is a neurotransmitter produced by tryptophan.
• The main functions of melatonin are the modulation of the synthesis of melanin, maintaining the sleep wake cycle and biological rhythms in the body, whereas that of melanin are providing skin color, photo-protection, and involving in hearing.
• Melanin is synthesized in melanosomes, which are found in melanocytes, while melatonin is synthesized in the cells of the gastrointestinal tract, retina, and pineal gland.
• Melanin can be found in skin, eye, ear, hair, and central nervous system, whereas melatonin can be found in brain, liver, intestines, blood and muscles.