What are the Benefits and Side Effects of Melatonin?
Are you having some issues with depression and anxiety?. What about sleeping or having problems with your blood pressure?
Have you been trying to find out what is causing your sleep problem and what supplements are easily available to you to treat the problem? If so, you may have come across a supplement called Melatonin or some of the products containing this sleep inducing hormone known as Melatrol.
Melatonin has been used for many different ailments. Some people may question the effectiveness and Side effects of Melatonin. This article will discuss both the pros and cons of using this substance as a sleep med, and whether or not it can be safely used to treat a variety of disorders and ailments. In particular, we will be discussing Melatonin – Addiction, Side Effects and Depression.
What is Melatonin?
Before you start taking melatonin for anything, it is important that you understand exactly what melatonin is and what it does. Also, as with any supplement, it is best to consult with your doctor or physician prior to taking it. Firstly, and most importantly, Melatonin is a natural hormone that is produced by your body.
If you are taking melatonin supplements, however, it is usually manufactured in a laboratory and is most commonly found in a pill format. It can also be absorbed directly into the body if you prefer to not take the pill. Melatonin is primarily used to assist in adjusting your body’s internal clock and is in essence a natural sedative.
Is Melatonin Addictive?
This question has been asked numerous times. The answer is no, as long as it is taken correctly. When used to treat sleeping problems, melatonin should be used sparingly when at all possible. It should only be used if you anticipate that your sleeping schedule will drastically change in the near future (think changing from day shift to night shift at work, etc).
Also, melatonin may help seniors aged 60 years or older to sleep better. It is recommended for seniors due to the fact that your body produces less and less melatonin as you get older.
Melatonin and Depression
Because melatonin is a sedative, if you cannot sleep because of depression, you should avoid taking melatonin. This is because in the vast majority of cases, the reason that you are unable to sleep well has nothing to do with how much melatonin your body is already producing.
If you are considering taking melatonin for anxiety disorders, then please be aware that that is not recommended either. In fact, mild anxiety is one of the side effects of taking melatonin. It is also important to not consume alcohol when taking this supplement because as is well known, alcohol is a depressant (even if you do feel good for a while after a few drinks!).
I want to emphasize here that Melatonin is one of the safest insomnia solutions known to science and that I am merely being very cautious in describing it in conjunction with depression and anxiety. As always, I advise seeing a qualified medical practitioner when you have any doubts, known conditions or gaps in your knowledge. After all, worrying about your sleep aid may well counteract its effects!
Melatonin and Blood Pressure
Because melatonin is considered to be a sedative, it may actually help your blood pressure if you suffer from high blood pressure. It will help you relax and sleep better if taken at the correct dosages. If you have low blood pressure, however, it is not recommended that you take melatonin. Please, please always consult a medical practitioner if you have any doubts – If your blood pressure were to drop too low, your life could be threatened.
What are some other benefits of melatonin?
Melatonin is known to possess powerful antioxidant qualities, which means that it is a natural candidate for helping to prevent heart disease, cancer, decline in brain function and decline of the immune system. This is because anti-oxidants help to reduce the level of ‘free radicals’ in the body.
Free radicals are molecules that essentially damage DNA and thus sit at the root of many common diseases. They do this because their structures are oxygen-rich, and oxygen is a highly reactive element that simply ‘must’ combine with others elements.
Oxygen is the substance that combines with iron to form rust and which combusts fuel; it is the substance our bodies use to release energy from our foods – and it can be deadly. This is why Melatonin is thought to be able to help to alleviate Parkinson’s disease symptoms, as well as being a natural anti-aging option.
What are more of the drawbacks to taking melatonin?
As previously mentioned, if you have a history of depression, anxiety, or low blood pressure, do not take it unless otherwise instructed to do so by your doctor or other medical professional. If you are in that category, then it is best that consult your doctor before taking this sleep med and then monitor your condition if he/she gives you clearance to try it.
Generally, the recommended dosage on a commercially available melatonin supplement can be almost triple the recommended dosage for you if you are suffering one of these conditions.
So please be aware that because of this, there is a possibility that low dosage combined with your condition may make melatonin supplements ineffective and in some cases do more harm than good. Another important thing is that you should check with your doctor and/or your pharmacist to see if it will interact with any of your current medications.
Because of the possibility of this (or any other sleep med) disrupting up your sleeping patterns when taken incorrectly, it is not always recommended for children under 18 years of age, even though it is generally considered safe – so be careful and diligent.
Finally, melatonin, as you can see, can sometimes be considered somewhat controversial. Some people will swear by it and will use it regularly for nothing else other than to help them get a restful night’s sleep.
If that is the only reason you would be considering melatonin, it is best that you speak to your physician to check out all of your options available to you. If it is deemed that melatonin is the right fit for you, ensure that you follow the correct dosage and only take it when necessary.
Melatonin can be a great supplement to help your body’s internal clock adjust or readjust to jet lag or different shifts at work. Contact your physician or other trusted medical professional if you have any further questions about melatonin.