/ Sleep Disorders / Jet Lag - We
highly recommend trying melatonin first before using any prescription
medications to help with sleeping problems. All the current
information points to significant benefits from using MEL
with practically no major side effects, safety or toxicity
That is the bottom line.
is another alternative herb to try as well.
For the other
We appreciate the safety profile of this supplement. This natural
remedy is very cost effective.
For conditions like chronic fatigue
syndrome and fibromyalgia, it is worthwhile to try it out to see if it
works. We suggest using it for at least 4 weeks and perhaps up to 12
studies found that using MEL after the flight helps with adjustment
to jet lag. Multiple studies strongly support this use
although some studies do show that it does not help.
Taking this supplement reduced the time it takes people suffering from
insomnia to fall asleep As well many of them
reported improved quality of sleep. This supplement is an effective
Another natural remedy that is also used to treat insomnia is valerian.
is an example of a product that contains this herb, valerian and several
other ingredients used to treat insomnia.
recent well-designed clinical trial involving 86 shift-work nurses
showed that taking 5 mg of MEL at night was effective in helping the
workers fall asleep.
sleep phase syndrome (DSPS)
Studies show that taking melatonin
improved insomnia, mental health, vitality and pain in people suffering
||Anxiety and Panic Attacks
Several clinical studies show that taking this natural hormone helped to reduce anxiety in those who are undergoing surgery.
in health people
show that taking this supplement in healthy patients older than 55
years reported improvements in sleep quality, morning alertness and
quality of life.
seem to suggest that lower levels of MEL is somehow linked to
increased risk for breast cancer. In lab studies, the supplement was
able to slow down the growth of breast cancer cells.
MEL with standard chemotherapy was significantly better than just
chemotherapy alone. It increased survival rate by 50% compared to just
using the chemotherapy alone.
If you plan to take melatonin for breast
(or other) cancer conditions, you must discuss this option with your
Experts believe that this naturally occurring hormone plays a role in regulating the immune system.
In research studies, combining this supplement with interluekin-2 therapy resulted in 9 patients surviving compared to only 3 in the control group.
A small study showed that this supplement can reduce pain in
See our detailed list to get a idea of other remedies that work for fibromyalgiaothers use.
One studies done with 115 women showed that taking 3 mg of melatonin reduces oxidative stress on the ovum (egg).
The researchers believe that this will improve the quality of the ovum and boost fertility rate.
See Melatonin for Fertility for the complete details.
a well-designed study involving 20 patients with cluster headaches,
taking MEL was able to reduce the number of attacks each week. The
dosage used is 10 mg in the evening.
small study showed that taking a dose of 0.3 mg of MEL 3.5
hours after stopping nicotine helps to ease the symptoms of anxiety,
irritability and craving for the next 10 hours.
/ UV protection / Sunscreen
topically applied cream containing MEL showed that it can block
the effect of sunlight exposure. Combining it with vitamin C and E
enhanced its effect.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
show that this supplement may be helpful in reducing the symptoms of
depression and anxiety. Studies show that people suffering from
depression has lower than normal levels of melatonin.
studies show that this supplement can increase the serotonin levels
which might explain why it might be helpful in treating depression.
deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
seem to show some benefits in helping children suffering from ADHD to
sleep better. However, taking this supplement did not improve their
fatigue syndrome (CFS)
studies show that taking 5 mg of this supplement in the evening for 12
weeks helps to reduce fatigue and increase concentration. However,
another study did seem to show any significant benefits.
bowel syndrome (IBS)
studies seem to suggest that taking this supplement helped improve the
sleep pattern, bloating, abdominal pain and overall quality of life of
those suffering from IBS.
suffering from rheumatoid arthritis have lower levels of MEL. The
chemical structure of this supplement looks like the anti-inflammatory
drug indomethacin and expert believe this is the reason why it seems to
work to reduce pain.
with prostate cancer has lower levels of MEL. In lab
studies, this supplement was able to slow the growth of prostate cancer
cells. One study showed that combining this supplement with standard
chemotherapy improved survival rate.
activity enhancement / Enhance libido
reports suggest that MEL enhances libido in men. A study in
rats injected with MEL showed that all measures of sexual
activities were significantly enhanced including ejaculations in
otherwise impotent rats. Of course, studies will need to be
conducted in clinical trials to see if applies to humans.
blood pressure (Hypertension)
studies showed that taking this supplement resulted in a small drop in
blood pressure. This may not be significant compared to taking blood
studies done in animals seem to show that MEL can protect the
heart from damage. It seems that having a low blood level of MEL
is related to heart disease. But experts do not know whether low MEL
levels causes heart disease or that having heart disease
causes low MEL levels.
seem to show that taking MEL did not help with easing menopause
symptoms. However, it may be helpful in treating women who are
suffering from insomnia from their menopause symptoms.
Facts and FAQ
Sleep disorder affects up to 70 million Americans. That's about 20
percent of the U.S. population. Insomnia means the inability to sleep.
This problem even affects up to 25% of children. When chronic insomnia
occurs, it will lead to poor daytime function, lower performance and
fatigue and drowsiness during the day. Hence the interest in melatonin
Melatonin is extensively studies both in animals such
as rats, dogs and human. On the U.S. market is a prescription drug
called Rozerem (ramelteon) that binds to receptors much like what
melatonin does (except much stronger of course) to treat insomnia. Why
not try the natural product first?
Also known as pineal hormone, it is a natural hormone produced by the
pineal gland located in our
Through a series of chemical reactions in our body, tryptophan is
converted to serotonin, which is then converted to MEL. Melatonin
supplements can be extracted from the pineal glands of beef cattle or
chemically made in the lab.
Very small amounts of MEL can be found in many plants including rice
hormone regulates the circadian rhythm. It determines when we fall
asleep and wake up. Secretion starts around 9 PM and reaches the
maximum between 2 AM and 4 AM. Melatonin seems to trigger the need to
By exposing ourselves to light,
the pineal gland makes less MEL. Darkness, on the other hand,
stimulates the gland to make more melatonin. As well, shift work, jet
lag, excessive exposure to light sources and poor sleeping patterns and
habits can affect the production of this hormone.
Other factors that can affect the melatonin levels in our body include
other health conditions or problems such as fibromyalgia and
depression. Indeed research studies even show that listening to
therapeutic music will increase MEL levels in some people.
It is believed that as we age, our body makes less MEL. This
could explain why older people experience more problems with insomnia.
functions that MEL serves in our body include growth hormone
production, sexual development, regulation of the menstrual cycle,
sexual activity and pain control. It also shows powerful antioxidant
and immune regulating activities. Indeed, it is believed to be up to 10
times more potent than vitamin E as an antioxidant.
stimulate your own melatonin production?
Yes indeed. Some experts
suggest sleeping in a completely darken room or
use a sleep mask to cover your eyes. Surprisingly (or perhaps not
surprisingly), meditation is shown
to increase the melatonin levels as well.
Does low levels of MEL affect or cause cancer?
of MEL might increase the risk of developing cancer. It is seen
that people living in darker regions and the blind have a lower
incidence of breast cancer. As well, research studies seem to suggest
that MEL might even be able to treat and cure cancer. Of course, we'll
need more clinical studies to prove this claim.
Benefits and Traditional Uses
- Alzheimer's disease
- anti-aging / aging prevention
- attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- brain cancer
- cancer prevention
- chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
- contraception / pregnancy prevention
- enhancing sleep in healthy people
- epilepsy / seizure disorder
- extending life / increasing longevity
- fertility enhancement
blood pressure (hypertension)
- HIV / AIDS
due to various health conditions
- insomnia in the elderly
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- jet lag
- lung cancer
- migraine headache
- nicotine withdrawal
- Parkinson's disease
- rheumatoid arthritis
- seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
- sedation prior to surgery, procedure or MRI
- shift-work related disorder
- skin cancer
- sleep aid
- smoking cessation
- trouble falling asleep (delayed sleep phase
- weight loss due to cancer
- withdrawal from narcotic use
- sunburn treatment
- UV light protection / sunscreen
Side effects that have been seen in research studies are very mild. The
following side effects have been reported:
However, these side effects are no more common than taking a placebo
- drowsiness during the day
Other side effects reported include:
this supplement might cause drowsiness, avoid driving or using
dangerous machinery for up to 5 hours after taking melatonin. Find out
first how it affects you.
- vivid dreams
- stomach cramps
- nausea and vomiting
- lowered blood pressure (hypotension)
Overdose on this supplement may lead to significant increase in the
reported side effects.
- In adults, this supplement has been shown to be safe. It has been
used safely in research studies lasting up to nine months. There are no
significant dangers of using this supplement.
May Be Unsafe
are research studies done on using this supplement in a small number of
children. Levels of MEL is higher in younger people and they may not or
should not receive this supplement.
Always start with the
lowest suggested dose and increase gradually. MEL should be given to
kids only under the supervision of your healthcare
and Lactation -
Because of hormonal effects, pregnant or nursing women should avoid
taking this supplement. High doses of this supplement may show
contraceptive effects, thus preventing pregnancy.
Health Condition Interactions
Pills / Benzodiazepines / Alcohol - caution
supplement may cause
drowsiness, combining it with prescription sleeping pills such as
Ambien (zolpidem), Imovane (zopiclone) or benzodiazepines such as
Ativan (lorazepam), Valium (diazepam) might increase drowsiness.
combining with alcohol, narcotics or other prescription or
non-prescription products that are known to cause drowsiness. Ask your
pharmacist or physician first if you are not sure.
/ Blood Thinning Medications - caution
reports of some bleeding seen
in people combining MEL with blood thinning drugs such as
Coumadin (warfarin), Plavix (clopidogrel), heparin and others.
using if possible to reduce the risks of bleeding and let your
pharmacist and physician know that you are or are planning to take
/ Seizure Disorder - caution
reports of increased risk of seizure in children with epilepsy. Use
melatonin with caution in this group of patients.
Apnea - caution
One small study
conducted by Maksoud et al. (1997)
people suffering from sleep apnea did worst in their apnea
index results when they were taking this supplement. The researchers
suggest caution on using this supplement in this group of
to Take It
MEL is available in tablets, capsules, cream and sublingual
(under the tongue) tablets, timed released and lozenges. Current, there
is no "normal"
dosage that a person should take. Suggested typical doses are based on
used during research studies which ranges from 0.3 mg to 10 mg taken
once daily. (Higher doses have been used for certain conditions.)
avoid side effects, always start with a low dose and increase gradually
until you get the benefits for your condition. Avoid taking too much as
the side effects may increase as well.
Promoted as a
sleep aid, some brands also include the herbal supplement valerian.
studies, dosage ranging from 0.3 to 5 mg taken at bedtime
has been used.
Jet Lag - Eastbound flight
taking a dose of 0.5 to 5 mg prior to flight during the early
evening and then at bedtime for at least four more days.
taking the supplement for four days at bedtime in the new time
difficulty in falling asleep
taking up to 5 mg of the supplement one to four hours prior to bedtime.
Continue this for up to a month before making a decision to stop taking
it because it does not seem to work.
taking a higher dose right at bedtime or choose a long-acting or
controlled-release formulation. Continue this for up to a month before
making a decision to stop taking it because it does not seem to work.
children (6 months to 14 years)
Doses of 2 to
5 mg has been used in some studies. However, there are
reports of seizures caused by dosage from 1 to 5 mg.
Use with caution and under the supervision of your physician if your
child has a history of seizure disorder.
Natural Products to Treat Insomnia
Related Articles and Resources
Melatrol - Effective Natural Remedy for Insomnia
What is Insomnia?
Insomnia Tips -
Lifestyle changes to prevent and treat insomnia
Remedies for Insomnia
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