What are the drawbacks of melatonin supplementation?
Melatonin supplementation has become more and more popular as a potential treatment for sleep disorders. Oral melatonin is heavily marketed and viewed as an effective solution for sleep disorders. While this may be true, and that oral melatonin can certainly help you sleep, the long term consequences outweigh its benefits. The resources for the information of these consequences are not fully understood or even available to the general population. This will be an attempt to shine more light on safe use.
First thing everyone who currently supplements with or is interested in taking melatonin should know is that it is NOT a sleep FIX. It is a supplement that should be used only when absolutely necessary. If you have trouble sleeping, you have much bigger issues that need to be focused on that regular oral melatonin supplementation will only compound into greater problems. It should not be relied upon. In fact, it is shown that after 6 months melatonin is no longer effective at all. Also, all the scientific literature on melatonin that is placebo controlled shows that it only helps you fall asleep 4 MINUTES FASTER, It doesn't help you sleep better. What should consumers be mindful of when taking oral melatonin?
Users who take oral melatonin have shown to have continuously high levels of melatonin late into the following day. This could lead to users waking up feeling tired and lethargic. Even worse, melatonin has a unique relationship with dopamine (the pleasure hormone) where as melatonin levels rise, dopamine falls and vice versa. SO as melatonin levels continue to stay elevated into the following day it will suppress the release and production of dopamine. In essence, the more oral melatonin you take at night, the lower your dopamine levels will be the next day. This has shown to make depression worse and even increase blood pressure. We need higher levels of dopamine during the day in order to maintain the health of our circadian rhythm, feel good, and think more clearly.
Another side effect that users must be careful with in regard to oral melatonin supplementation is INSULIN RESISTANCE. A 2014, study concludes that “Acute melatonin administration in humans impairs glucose tolerance in both the morning and evening.” The study then went on to show that in the evening, melatonin decreased glucose tolerance primarily by decreasing insulin sensitivity. This is bad news for oral melatonin users who also struggle with type 2 diabetes and weight gain. Melatonin is also designed to calm down your digestive system. So if you eat food after taking melatonin your digestion is going to slow.
Lastly, oral melatonin increases chances of light-induced damage to photoreceptors. AKA, it will make your eyes response to light weaker and damage your eyes. One more reason to seriously consider oral melatonin supplementation. What users need to understand about melatonin and its function in the body is that it is a hormone that is timed with light and dark. Melatonin is created in the AM in response to light, and released at night in response to darkness. Low melatonin is largely a lifestyle problem of poor “light habits” and environmental factors, not something that can be supplemented.