Melatonin is a hormone naturally secreted by our body.
So why do people buy it?
Being directly responsible for the occurrence of sleep, it is currently used in people who suffer from sleep disorders.
Indeed, it plays a major role in regulating the circadian rhythm, i.e. the sleep/wake rhythm.
From our 445 course Orthomolecular Approaches – we learn how it’s secreted:
There is a direct link between light exposure and melatonin secretion; thus, as the light decreases (natural or artificial), melatonin is secreted and sleep appears. Its secretion peaks between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. and is almost nil during the day.
Did you know?
Its role is not limited to sleep: it would also intervene in the immune system and seems to be an antioxidant.
When and What to Buy
In which cases should we consider supplements?
• Chronic insomnia
• Difficulty falling asleep
• Morning wake up
• Nocturnal awakenings
• Jet lag / jet lag (at least 3 time zones)
• Treatment with beta-blockers (they cause insomnia and inhibit the nocturnal melatonin secretion).
- • Pregnant and breastfeeding women
- • Children
- • History of lymphoma, cancer, leukemia (prior medical opinion)
- • Epilepsy
- • Mental deficits or disorders
- • Combination with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) (risk of melatonin overdose, MAOIs inhibit melatonin metabolism).
They are diverse and variable: we find nausea, dizziness, headache.
There are currently two commercial forms of melatonin:
An immediate release form which is the classically prescribed form. Its interest is to facilitate falling asleep. It is therefore reserved in case of jet lag or in syndromes of early or delayed sleep phases;
On the other hand, it is not of much interest in the event of a sleep quality problem, in the event of repeated nocturnal awakenings.
A sustained-release form (called LP), which promotes better quality, long-lasting sleep with an overall action on the quality of sleep.
In France, the LP form is only available on prescription (Circadin® LP 2 mg). The immediate-release form is only available as dietary supplements in doses of less than 2 mg. Beyond that, you need a prescription and therefore a medical prescription.
In the United States and Canada, melatonin is sold over the counter.
LP form: 2 mg 1 to 2 hours before bedtime.
Immediate release form: 0.5 mg to 2 mg 30 minutes before bedtime. Note that in scientific studies, the dose of melatonin is very variable so it is difficult to obtain a consensus dosage.
“The use of melatonin for the treatment of insomnia”: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10085468
Questions and Answers
from Our Student Center
Will melatonin reduce the effects of beta-blocking drugs?
To date, there is no interaction between beta-blocker and melatonin. On the contrary, it would be interesting to take melatonin when taking beta-blockers since these inhibit the nocturnal secretion of melatonin.
Based on studies, melatonin is likely safe for most adults when taken by mouth in recommended doses. It may cause some side effects, such as “nausea, dizziness, headache” , but nothing beyond that. It is “a hormone naturally secreted by our body” (again from our 445 course). Our brain produces it in response to fading light, to prepare us for sleep.
Melatonin is renowned for its beneficial effects in case of insomnia. Several studies have shown its potential effectiveness and a priori use without risk of adverse effects. It should be noted however that the indication seems reserved for people aged over 50 if we consider the effectiveness on insomnia. It can be a help but in our opinion it is a more global work on the sleep problem that needs to be done.
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