Sunday, April 22, 2012

Side effects of Melatonin

Side effects of Melatonin

Melatonin Side Effects: the Good and the Bad

Author: Isabel Tay

You are right in checking out melatonin’s side effects. You want to try this popular natural sleep aid or have started on it for a while that you want to know if you are experiencing some melatonin side effects.

Melatonin is undoubtedly one of the most popular over the counter sleep aids. You would probably be familiar by now about its benefits especially in jet lag and getting your internal body clock back on track. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. Long-term studies on humans are also not available.

The good news is melatonin is generally regarded as safe in recommended doses for short-term use (three months or less) according to the National Institute of Health (NIH). Looking at available studies and clinical use, melatonin’s overall side effects are not significantly more common than placebo, the control group that didn’t take melatonin. Commonly experienced melatonin side effects include fatigue, dizziness, headache, irritability, and sleepiness, although these effects may occur due to jet lag and not to melatonin itself.

In that context of its overall safety profile, you should still keep a watch out for out-of-the-norm melatonin side effects that have been reported and raised some concerns. These are:

1. Blood clotting abnormalities (particularly in people taking warfarin)

2. Seizures
Melatonin may lower seizure threshold and increase the risk of seizure, particularly in children with severe neurologic disorders. However, multiple other studies actually report reduced incidence of seizure with regular melatonin use. Hence, this remains an area of controversy.

3. Disorientation with overdose
This is accompanied by confusion, sleepwalking, vivid dreams, and nightmares. Fortunately, these melatonin side effects often resolve after stopping melatonin.

4. Mood changes including giddiness and dysphoria (sadness)

5. Psychotic symptoms
Hallucinations and paranoia are possibly due to an overdose. People with underlying major depression or psychotic disorders taking melatonin should be monitored closely by a healthcare professional.

6. Hormonal changes

This affects both men and women. For men, increased breast size (gynecomastia), decreased sperm count and decreased sperm motility have been reported. Fortunately, these are resolved after stopping melatonin.

For women, decreases or increases in levels of reproductive, thyroid and growth hormones have been reported. High levels of melatonin during pregnancy may increase the risk of developmental disorders. In animal studies, melatonin is detected in breast milk.

7. Elevated blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia)
This melatonin side effect is mainly reported in patients with type 1 diabetes (insulin-dependent diabetes). Low doses of melatonin reduced glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity in these cases.

Avoid Melatonin if:
1. You are taking the blood-thinning medication like warfarin, aspirin or heparin.
2. You have neurologic disorders and taking anti-epileptic drugs
3. You are suffering from depression or other psychotic disorders
4. You have diabetes especially Type 1 diabetes
5. You are pregnant or are a nursing mother

Overall, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Always weigh the benefits versus the risks of any natural sleep aid. Find not just any doctor but one who is familiar with your health profile to help you weigh the benefits and side effects of melatonin. Remember that with all natural sleep aids, not just melatonin, always use them for the short term to solve your sleep problems.

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About the Author

Melatonin is not your only choice. Here’s the Fast Guide To 5 Popular Natural OTC Sleep Aids or understand more about OTC Sleep Aids in OTC Sleep Aids: A Quick Overview

This information is provided by, a publication resource of HealthInsiderToday

An Insight to Melatonin

Author: Irena g Ostrosky.

What is melatonin? Why is it important and what is its functioning? Well, melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland. This gland is found in the hypothalamus. The core function of this gland is to induce a relaxing, peaceful and deep sleep. Melatonin production is highest during the night and naturally signals the body that it is time to sleep. However, with the busy and tight work schedules, many individuals are suffering from severe cases of insomnia. People with insomnia naturally lack this substance. This is why their bodies will not shift to a restful sleep phase at night.

A good melatonin sleep aid or melatonin supplement is available over the counter and they contain real sleep regulating melatonin. Getting proper sleep during the night is essential because it is through sleep that the body can repair itself. It is also proved that, beside from its sleep inducing properties, melatonin also involves scavenging of free radicals at night while an individual is asleep. When you sleep, melatonin begins to work. It is also referred to as a body's trash collector as it goes to every cell in the human body and cleans out the free radicals and their toxins that are harmful to other cells.

Melatonin is perhaps one of the most powerful anti-oxidant for human body. There are some factors like old age and illnesses responsible for the production of melatonin. Stressful life conditions and lifestyles are however man made causes for its decline. Unbalanced life style, irregular sleeps, long working hours, stressful occupations can all derail normal melatonin sleep production, thereby creating the need for a melatonin dosage.

Melatonin supplement does more than just inducing sleep. It also reinforces the body's capacity to make more of its own melatonin again. With the help of this supplement, one can begin to have a normal sleep pattern. Of course, it can begin to produce melatonin on its own. This means that this sleeping aid works exactly on the opposite path as addiction. The more you utilize a good melatonin, the lesser you will need it in future. However, ensure that you don't take melatonin overdose as it can cause some negative effect on your body.

For over a decade, melatonin has been studied widely for use in connection with the spread of certain types of cancer. Yes, it helps in preventing and curing breast cancer. The melatonin supplement is quite effective in aiding sleep as well as travel fatigue. Further, it has been proved that the melatonin supplements have neuro-protective properties that may be useful both for the management of patients with Alzheimer's disease and for the prevention of the said condition.

The reduction of melatonin in the pineal gland causes frequent sleep disturbances, increase in confusion, poor decision making, disorientation, elevated agitation and more pronounced psychological symptoms among patients. The melatonin benefits the overall functioning of the human body. In order to purchase melatonin sleeping aid, get onto the web and get it in reasonable price.

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About the Author

Irena Ostrosky is the author of this article on Melatonin Jet Lag. Find more information on Melatonin Overdose here.

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