Melatonin Side Effects
The most common Melatonin side-effect is headache and/or an altered sleep pattern. Mental or mood changes may also occur as well as itching, fast heartbeat or heavy headedness. Melatonin may cause lowering of the body temperature. Vivid dream is also associated with melatonin use. Melatonin side-effects are usually temporary and can be relieved by reducing the melatonin dosage. About 8% of people taking 5 mg of melatonin or less per day will feel sleepy during the day. For a complete list of melatonin side effects pls. visit this link:http://www.melatoninfaq.com/melatonin-side-effects/ . It is very important to note that the long term side effects of Melatonin are still unknown. There is a need for more research to know what are the side effects of melatonin if it is used for a very long time.
What is Melatonin ?
Melatonin is also known as 5-methoxy-N-acetyltryptamine. This is a hormone that is found in all biological organisms. The level of melatonin inside an organism varies in a predefined cycle and is affected by the amount of light the body receives. Melatonin on humans is produced by the pineal gland from the amino acid Tryptophan. It helps the body know when it’s time to sleep or when it’s time to wake up. Melatonin is released at night or in the dark and sort of instructs the body that it is time to sleep.Young and middle-aged adults usually produce about 5 to 25 micrograms of melatonin per night. This level declines as a person ages and this is reported to be the reason why older persons have difficulty sleeping. Two forms of melatonin exist on the market, the natural form which comes from the pineal gland of animals and the synthetic form which is made from reacting certain chemical compounds. Natural melatonin may pose a risk to humans because it can be contaminated with animal viruses. Synthetic melatonin is safer to use because it is free from biological contaminants.
Melatonin For Sleep
Melatonin maintains the Circadian Rhythm of our body. The Circadian Rhythm is the built-in 24-Hour “clock” inside our body which plays an important role when we should wake up and when we should fall asleep. When your surrounding is dark, the body produces more melatonin; When your surrounding is bright, the production of melatonin is reduced. Without an increase in melatonin production in the evening, it will be difficult to fall asleep. Melatonin production rise when the sun goes down and appears to peak at 2:00 AM. When you are exposed to bright lights in the evening or you have very little light during daytime, the normal melatonin cycle of the body can be disrupted. Jet lag, Night Shift Work and Poor vision are some of the things that can disrupt normal melatonin cycles. Taking melatonin tablets before going to sleep can supplement the melatonin levels of the body, which makes sleeping come easily and consistently.
Uses of Melatonin – Melatonin Benefits
Although melatonin is very popular as a Sleep Remedy or Sleep Aid and as a natural treatment for Insomnia. Melatonin has other uses aside from improving sleep. Studies show that it can be used as an antioxidant, cancer protective agent, skin protective agent, contraceptive and as a treatment for Seasonal affective depression. As you can see, Melatonin is a multi-functional hormone that is produced naturally by the human body. There are other uses for melatonin which are still being studied today. We have listed the more common use of melatonin below.
1. Melatonin Sleep Aid/Melatonin as a Natural Sleeping Pills – Melatonin is a natural sleeping aid. During daytime, the blood level of melatonin is low and increases at night. Melatonin supplements that are given during the day makes anyone feel sleepy. Natural melatonin production in the brain is highest between 2am and 4am and declines as a person ages. Users of melatonin reported an increase in the vividness and frequency of their dreams.
2. Melatonin as an Antioxidant – Melatonin is an antioxidant which is both active in water and oil phase. Vitamin-C and Glutathione are only active in water phase while Vitamin E and Vitamin A are only active in oil phase.
3. Cancer protection (Possible anti-tumor properties) - Women with breast cancer have lower levels of melatonin compared to cancer free individuals. Melatonin also inhibits the growth of certain types of breast cancer cells. Preliminary experiments suggest that melatonin may enhance the effectiveness of some chemotherapy drugs. Men with prostate cancer also have lower levels of melatonin compared to normal individuals. One study reported that the addition of melatonin to conventional anti-cancer drugs enhanced the survivable rates of men with metastatic prostate cancer.
4. Oral contraceptive – Melatonin also plays a role in the endocrine-reproductive system and it reduces the circulation of Leutenizing Hormone. Melatonin may inhibit ovulation in women and it had been suggested for use in combination with other contraceptives. Some studies suggest that melatonin actually stimulates reproduction. It is noted that when men take high doses of melatonin, there is an associated decrease in sperm mobility and sex drive.
5. Skin protection from ultraviolet light – Topical melatonin when combined with vitamins C and E exhibits photo protective property. Melatonin can be used as a natural sunscreen.
6. Insomnia – Several studies suggest that melatonin taken by mouth before going to sleep helps a person fall asleep faster. It is best to take it 1 or 1 and a half hours before going to sleep.
7. Depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder - Some studies show that people which suffers from major depression or panic disorder have low blood levels of melatonin. There are experimental studies showing that melatonin increases serotonin levels which helps reduce the symptoms of depressive illness.
8. Jet Lag and Work Shifts – Melatonin reduces the time it takes to establish normal sleep pattern and reduces the time it takes to fall asleep and reduces daytime tiredness. Working at night shifts or staying up all night upsets the biological clock of the body. This causes fatigue, dizziness and disability to have clear thinking. Using melatonin before bedtime helps restore the biological clock function and relieves those symptoms.
9. Melatonin for Alzheimer’s Disease Patients - Melatonin has some positive effects on patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. It can improve their sleep and possibly slow down cognitive impairment.
Reference: The use of melatonin in Alzheimer’s disease. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2002 Apr;23 Suppl 1:20-3.
- Melatonin improved sleep and suppressed sundowning, an effect seen regardless of the concomitant medication employed to treat cognitive or behavioral signs of AD. Melatonin treatment seems to constitute a selection therapy to ameliorate sundowning and to slow evolution of cognitive impairment in AD patients.
10. Anti-Aging / Longevity – The positive effects of melatonin on deep restorative sleep could also account for a longer life span. The University of Rajasthan in India tested the influence of chronic administration of low dose melatonin against age-induced oxidative stress on the tissue of mice. The result of the study satates that Melatonin is able to reduce age-induced decline in the body’s natural antioxidant system. The study also indicates that melatonin is also acting as a free radical scavenger and an anti-aging agent.
11. Irritable Bowel Syndrome – Melatonin can improve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in patients who are suffering from sleep disturbances. The use of 3mg Melatonin for two weeks have significantly reduced abdominal pain and bloating, while also reducing the sensitivity of the rectum.
12. Migraine headache reduction – Additional research is needed to see if melatonin is effective for treating migraine. Studies show that there is a relationship between Melatonin and Headache. A research of Dr. Mario Peres, of Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, in Sao Paulo, Brazil showed that there is at least 50 percent reduction in the frequency of headache after three months of Melatonin treatment (3 milligrams of melatonin 30 minutes before bedtime).
13. Dream Enhancement (Vivid Dreams) - The use of melatonin can lead to vivid, memorable and enjoyable dreams but it can also lead to vivid nightmares. Melatonin improves REM sleep. Any dose of Melatonin that is higher than 1 mg is likely to make dreams very intense. People have reported encountering nightmares on high doses ( typically 2 to 5 mg ).
14. Immune system booster – Animals research shows that melatonin can provide a short term enhancement or stimulation of the immune system. Human studies are not yet established.
15. Diabetes (Adjunct Therapy) - Melatonin used together with Zinc may improve glycemic control in patients that are not responding well to Metformin.
16. Menopause – Melatonin have been reported to have some beneficial effects in treating the symptoms associated with Menopause. However, more research is needed to support these claims.
17. Anti-Inflammatory – A limited research shows that melatonin may posses anti-inflammatory actions.
18. Anti-Anxiety – Melatonin can also be used as an anti-anxiety agent.
Age related anxiety is common in the elderly. Elders experience more anxiety compared to younger persons. An experiment conducted by C. Garzon and associates (February 2009 issue of “Aging Clinical and Experimental Research”) shows that melatonin decreased age related anxiety compared to placebo.
Surgical Anxiety – It is very common for people to experience anxiety before surgery. This is of course a problem for people needing surgical procedures. Having anxiety before an operation can delay or affect the immediate outcome of a surgical procedure. Sedatives can relieve the surgical anxiety of a person but it may have negative side effects. A study by Salah A. Ismail and colleagues April 2009 edition of “Anesthesia & Analgesia”) shows that patients who have been given melatonin experienced less anxiety and pain during an eye surgery.
Melatonin Dosage and Melatonin Overdose
The recommended dosage for melatonin is 1 mg to 5 mg. This is considered to be a safe and effective dosage. It would be a good idea to start first at the lowest melatonin dosage ( 0.3 mg ) and then gradually increase your dosage until you find the most effective dosage for you.
Melatonin supplements are available over the counter. It is sold as a food supplement and not as a drug. Melatonin supplements com in tablets, capsules and liquid form.
Melatonin For Children
Current research shows that short term use of Melatonin on children over 12 years of age is safe. The long term safety of Melatonin on children has not been established. Long term use of melatonin on kids is not recommended.
Melatonin For Dogs
Melatonin can also be used on dogs to help them sleep better or to have a mild sedative effect.
Melatonin Buying Guide
Tips on buying melatonin supplements. For more information about buying Melatonin, please visit the link below:
What are the precautions when using Melatonin?
If you have immune system disorder, diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, stroke or depression you should consult first your doctor before taking melatonin supplements. You should limit alcohol consumption because it may aggravate some of the side effects of this medicine. Extra caution is advised when you are performing tasks that require alertness such as driving. It is not recommended to take melatonin if you are planning to have pregnancy. Melatonin is not recommended for persons under 20 years old.
Is Melatonin Safe – Melatonin Safety
Current research shows that melatonin is generally safe but the long term safety of Melatonin is not yet known.
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