Are Melatonin Supplements Safe To Use
Melatonin supplements are largely considered safe, but there are some things to keep in mind. The fact that its a supplement means that its not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration . The label may say melatonin but the bottle may not have any functional melatonin, warns Bradley Vaughn, MD, professor of sleep medicine and epilepsy at the UNC School of Medicine. To make sure youre getting what youthinkyoure getting, look for supplements with a seal that saysUSP Dietary Supplement Verified. The United States Pharmacopeia is a highly trusted third-party laboratory that rigorously tests supplements to ensure that they contain exactly what the label says.
You should also talk to your doctor before starting melatonin supplements theyll confirm that its safe based on your medical history, conditions and other medications. Like all supplements, melatonin can interfere with certain medications. Specifically, melatonin can interfere with certain anticoagulants, diabetes medications and immunosuppressants.
Question 5 Of 1: Is It Bad To Take Melatonin
How Long Will I Need To Take Melatonin For
You and your doctor should talk about how long you need to take melatonin before you begin treatment.
Some people taking melatonin to help with sleep may take it for up to 13 weeks to make sure a normal sleep pattern is established.
Some people may need to take melatonin for longer .
People with;attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; usually only need to take melatonin for three to four weeks to get a normal sleep pattern again.
To get the best effect from melatonin, it is best not to miss any doses.
Keep taking the melatonin until you and your doctor agree that it is no longer needed.
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Is An Oral Melatonin Supplement Safe
Taking an oral melatonin supplement is safe for sleep. However, there are drawbacks. Remember that melatonin is a hormone, and, in the long term, taking a melatonin supplement decreases the pineal glands natural production of melatonin.
Studies show that melatonin supplements do increase the levels of melatonin found on the blood. A melatonin supplement for sleep may work in the short term and will likely have few side effects, and some studies do report people experiencing benefits from melatonin supplements.
If you suffer from a chronic sleep disorders, it can take some time to achieve healthy melatonin levels. In these cases, an oral melatonin supplement for sleep may be beneficial. However, in my patients who take melatonin, I always advise them to have a plan to taper and decrease melatonin to avoid side effects.
For safe use of melatonin for sleep, aim to:
- Aim to boost natural melatonin.
- Use a melatonin supplement for a short period if needed, as directed by your medical professional.
- Taper your dosage down.
Melatonin And Pulmonary Hypertension
Pulmonary hypertension is a disease characterized by elevated pulmonary arterial pressure, which leads to right ventricular hypertrophy and failure . Maarman et al. reported that treatment with melatonin alleviated right ventricular hypertrophy and dysfunction, and also reduced interstitial fibrosis and plasma oxidative stress in a rat model of pulmonary hypertension. Torres et al. found that melatonin reduced pulmonary artery pressure and resistance and improved vasodilation of small pulmonary arteries in newborn sheep with pulmonary hypertension. In addition, melatonin increased nitric oxide bioavailability and reduced markers of pulmonary oxidative stress. Jin et al. reported that melatonin attenuated hypoxic pulmonary hypertension. Chronic hypoxia elevates the ratio of the weights of the right ventricle to left ventricle plus intraventricular septum , right ventricular systolic pressures , and median width of pulmonary arterioles. Treatment with melatonin reduced the elevation of RV/LV+S and RVSP and also inhibited pulmonary vascular remodeling. Additionally, melatonin reduced levels of hypoxia-inducible factor-1, proliferating cell nuclear antigen, and nuclear factor-B . In an in-vitro study, it was found that melatonin inhibited the proliferation of pulmonary artery smooth myocytes and reduced the expression of extracellular signal-regulated kinases1/2 and phosphorylation of Akt.
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Are There Any Side Effects Of Melatonin Supplementation
As long as youre taking an appropriate dose of melatonin between one-half and three milligrams for most people, and never more than five milligrams its very unlikely that youll have any serious side effects. However, Vaughn says that certain less-serious side effects are fairly common: headache, upset stomach and worsened mood throughout the day.
Taking more than five milligrams per day can lead to more side effects. Higher doses can cause plasma concentrations to rise three to 60 times normal peaks and produce various side effects like daytime sleepiness, increased prolactin levels, hypothermia and impaired physical and mental performance, Ghassi explains. She also points out that theres a lack of research on the safety of melatonin for pregnant and breastfeeding women, so its best for women in those groups to avoid it.
Can You Overdose On Melatonin
While melatonin is generally considered safe, it is possible to take too much. There is no official recommended melatonin dosage, and people can have different sensitivities to melatonin, so finding an appropriate dose can be challenging. Moreover, because melatonin is not regulated in the U.S., the actual melatonin content of supplements can vary significantly. Studies have found that some melatonin products can have nearly five times as much melatonin as their label claims, or much less.
The first sign that youve taken too much melatonin is that youll continue feeling its soporific effects the following day. You may feel especially drowsy or groggy. Doses of 10 milligrams or higher can cause side effects like drowsiness and headache. Other symptoms of melatonin overdose include:
- Changes in blood pressure
- Vivid dreams or nightmares
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When To Steer Clear
Certain people should be more cautious about melatonin use, particularly if it triggers a negative reaction, including those with:
- Chronic insomnia. Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep that lasts a month or more shouldn’t be managed with melatonin, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American College of Physicians. These groups recommend other more proven remedies , noting that there is not enough evidence that melatonin is safe and effective for long-term use.
- Restless Legs Syndrome . The tingling or “creepy-crawly” feeling in the legs that often keeps people awake could be worsened by melatonin. The supplement can intensify RLS symptoms because it lowers the amount of dopamine in the brain, according to the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation. If you’ve been diagnosed with RLS or suspect that you have the condition, talk to your HCP about lifestyle changes or medications that could help.
- Dementia. This progressive cognitive deterioration is often associated with insomnia, which can tax both patients and their caregivers. But melatonin may do more harm than good among those with dementia since the condition causes people to metabolize the supplement more slowly, resulting in daytime drowsiness. In people with moderate or severe dementia, melatonin supplementation may increase the risk of falls, according to 2015 guidelines from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
If you’ve been drinking alcohol, it’s also not safe to take melatonin.
What If I Can’t Take Melatonin Or It Doesn’t Work Or Me
;If melatonin isnt helping with sleep after a week or two of nightly use, Dr. Malow recommends checking in with your doctor about other options. Also, make sure you are taking a wider behavioral approach, including limiting caffeine after early afternoon, limiting alcohol, and turning screens off at least 30 minutes before bedtime, she says.;
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Is It Safe To Mix Melatonin And Weed
Smoking marijuana enhances the natural production of melatonin. So, you should know that its perfectly safe to use melatonin supplements and marijuana in tandem but is it advisable to use caution.
If you smoke marijuana at night, your natural melatonin levels should be surging naturally. That is, you may not need the melatonin boost to get good sleep. But, if you want to take a small melatonin dose, you may find that it helps you better remember your dream .
If you smoke marijuana during the day, your melatonin levels are incredibly low to begin with, and you shouldnt want or need to boost them in any way. If you choose to use melatonin with marijuana during the day, you risk throwing of your sleep-wake cycle, which can create all sorts of issues in getting quality sleep and maintaining a productive routine.
How Melatonin Compares To Anxiety Medication
So at its most basic use as a sleep aid, melatonin treatment can indirectly lessen anxiety. But could there be other ways that this naturally occurring hormone could contribute to the reduction of anxiety?
A 2017 study published in the American Journal of Translational Research found strong evidence that melatonin administration displayed the ability to reduce anxiety-like behavior caused by sleep deprivation in rats. In the placebo-controlled trial mentioned earlier, where melatonin was administered prior to surgery, it showed such a significant reduction in anxiety, that researchers concluded that melatonin administration offers an atoxic alternative to benzodiazepines, particularly sedatives such as Midazolam or Xanax.
In another controlled trial focused on pre-surgery anxiety, researchers compared six milligrams of oral melatonin to Alprazolam and discovered that the oral melatonin dosage was an effective alternative. The conclusion held that, as a premedication, melatonin could also lessen anxiety, but with less sedation and cognitive dysfunction.
During the trial, the natural supplement showed a significant advantage over the oxazepam, in both lessening anxiety and improving sleep quality. For this reason, melatonin treatment is largely considered more favorable than oxazepam for these types of patients.
In 2018, another study found that melatonin helped reduce symptoms of depression for some people.
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More Melatonin Is Not Better
Too little melatonin is bad for you. And too much melatonin is a;bad for you. Popping a melatonin pill is the easiest way to overload your body with this hormone.
Research is now revealing that our production of melatonin not only governs our circadian rhythms, but plays a role in scavenging free radicals and supporting the immune system. We know that melatonin is crucial to health, but flooding your system with melatonin doesnt automatically mean less free radicals and a better immune system. Its all about melatonin balance.
Side effects of melatonin supplementation are relatively common and highly problematic. According to Dr. Breus, melatonin side effects include:
- Vivid dreams and nightmares
Is Melatonin Safe For Kids
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved melatonin for use in children and adolescents with insomnia and other sleep disorders. However, some doctors do recommend melatonin for children sleeping poorly. Use of melatonin in children is called off label, or using a drug for a purpose or group of people other than what is officially recommended.
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Work With Not Against Melatonins Sleep
Melatonin levels rise about two hours before bedtime, Buenaver says. Create optimal conditions for it to do its job by keeping the lights low before bed. Stop using your computer, smartphone or tabletthe blue and green light from these devices can neutralize melatonins effects. If you watch television, be sure youre at least six feet away from the screen. Turn off bright overhead lights too. Meanwhile you can help program your body to produce melatonin for sleep at the right time of day by getting exposure to daylight during the morning and afternoon. Take a walk outside or sit beside a sunny window.
How Much Melatonin Is Too Much
Melatonin doses for adults range from 0.5 milligram to 5 milligrams taken about an hour before bedtime.
The recommended appropriate dosage of melatonin for children varies among experts. There is no standardized melatonin dosage chart by age or weight in the United States.
Additionally, there are no set guidelines for what time or how frequently children should take melatonin. Consult your pediatrician to determine what dosage of melatonin and timing is right for your child.
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What Is Melatonin Exactly
Melatonin, aka the “hormone of darkness,” is made by your body in the pineal gland just above the center of the brain. This hormone helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle of your internal clock. Melatonin gets released when the sun goes down,Beth Malow, MD, a professor in the department of neurology and pediatrics and director of the sleep disorders division at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, tells Health.It makes us drowsyabout two hours after melatonin starts getting released, we are ready to go to sleep. In the morning when the sun comes up again , melatonin levels fall, cueing your internal clock that it’s time to wake.
Why Are Expiration Dates Important
An expiration date is a final day or month where a manufacturer guarantees that their product is still safe to use or consume. Since 1979, the Food and Drug Administration requires all pharmaceutical companies to put expiration dates on their products. Most products, especially medicines are required to put an expiration date on their products for safety and legal reasons.
Safety because they can guarantee that their products will work without harmful side effects. Its also for legal purposes because the expiration date serves as a disclaimer against consumers who try to sue the manufacturer for any side-effects. If a consumer decides to consume medicine that has passed the expiration date, the manufacturer isnt liable for the side effects the consumer experiences.
Most drugs and supplements expiration dates are arbitrary and are usually dated two or three years after the product was manufactured. However, it is possible that drugs are still safe to consume after the expiration date, but for liability purposes, manufacturers dont recommend taking medicine past its expiration date or testing how long it can work.
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Are There Any People Who Should Avoid Taking Melatonin
Theres limited research into the safety of using melatonin supplements during pregnancy. Also, while melatonin is a normal component of breast milk, theres little research into the effects of taking melatonin supplements while breastfeeding.
Because of this, its best to avoid taking melatonin if youre:
Its a good idea to schedule an appointment with your doctor or healthcare provider if you notice that you:
- frequently have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night
- often feel drowsy or tired during the day
- have trouble performing your daily activities
Your doctor will work with you to discuss your sleep routine and lifestyle habits. They may also ask you to keep a sleep diary to track the amount of sleep youre getting over a period of time.
Its also possible that your doctor will perform a physical exam and order blood tests. These can help them rule out a medical condition that may be causing your sleep issues.
Melatonin Side Effects: What Are The Risks
As with any supplement or medication, there are always certain side effects you should know about.
There are some potential minor side effects to melatonin use, including dizziness, headache, nausea, drowsiness and agitation. Overall, no matter the dosage, these supplements are generally safe when taken on a short-term basis. However, long-term consumption may reduce the bodys ability to naturally produce this hormone.
Park explained that there have been a few studies that focused on the safety of melatonin, but none have produced evidence of harmful side effects.
For pregnant women and children, research regarding the effects or risks of melatonin is just amping up. Melatonin supplements are generally accepted as safe for children over the age of four, and some research suggests that it has a number of benefits for children who have autism or ADHD.
Regarding pregnant women, the research is mixed. Some research has shown that taking melatonin helps protect the fetus brain, but an animal study connected the use of melatonin to low birth weight. Pregnant women should talk to their doctor about the possibility of taking any supplements.
Although melatonin is a natural hormone, some may wonder how it interacts with other medications, particularly anti-anxiety or antidepressants. For instance, one common question is whether you can take melatonin and Xanax together?
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How To Use Melatonin For Anxiety
A typical dose of melatonin for the treatment of anxiety is around 3-10 milligrams per day, but you dont want to go overboard. Most experts recommend starting at a dose of three milligrams and working your way up once you see how it affects you.
There are four ways you can take melatonin:
What Is The Appropriate Dosage
Because of melatonins sleep-promoting effects, supplement versions of it are often used to treat a variety of sleep problems, such as:
- Delayed sleep-wake phase disorder
- Sleep problems associated with autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Because melatonin plays such a vital role in helping regulate your sleep cycle, you may think your body needs a lot of it, but the pineal gland produces a very small amount.
Naturally, melatonin production is tightly regulated in our bodies, thus only a small amount is needed, Sadiq explains. But melatonin supplements can be found in much larger doses than that, with some doses going up to 20mg. Thats because everyone metabolizes melatonin differently. For instance, if someone took 1mg of melatonin, they may have up to 0.5mg of it in their blood, while someone else may have 0.1mg after taking the same dose. Thats why its great to have various strengths of melatonin available in the market to fit everyones needs and physiology.
Its important to note that melatonin supplementation is sold in the U.S. as a dietary supplement, not a drug, therefore it is not regulated by the Food & Drug Administration . Because of this, there is no guideline for quality, efficacy and dosage. Thats why Sadiq recommends reading labels, doing your research and buying from quality, trusted brands.
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