Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
21 Nov

Why Melatonin Is a Dangerous Supplement

Melatonin is a popular supplement for the sleep-deprived, namely because it carries rather innocent associations. Melatonin is “natural” and “safe” and “herbal”, right?

Wrong. I’ve been arguing with the melatonin prophets for years because I believe the image melatonin has, and what melatonin really is, are vastly different. Like so many things that we trust in, consume or think we understand, the truth may not be what we want to believe.

My caution with melatonin is simple: melatonin is a hormone.

That’s right – a hormone. Like estrogen. Like testosterone. And just like taking estrogen (whether it’s Hormone Replacement Therapy or the Pill) or testosterone therapy, melatonin comes with risks. Frequent melatonin use – especially in the typical dosage of 3-6 milligrams – can trigger a bit of a vicious cycle in the brain. Supplement with melatonin regularly to get to sleep, and your body is going to produce even less, creating even greater need for the hormone. It’s not that you can’t ever take melatonin; but I think it’s important that people understand the facts.

A caveat: While I am generally against using hormones (it’s not nice to fool Mother Nature), I am in favor of using the natural version of the hormone melatonin to “reset” the diurnal clock when traveling across time zones. Because, after all, you got there by fooling Mother Nature in the first place! Humans did not evolve a mechanism to adapt to changing time zones. Jet travel can be some of the most destructive stress you can encounter, especially the older you get.

In fact, a recent article in ScienceNow Daily News reported on the growing concern in the scientific community over the dangers of jet lag. Turns out it’s more serious than we previously realized. Jet lag increases risk of cancer, ulcers, and sleep disorders, as well as weakening the immune system. Now, this isn’t reason to stop traveling; simply be aware of the risks and take some smart precautions (drinking alcohol on the plane: not a good idea).

I travel frequently, and I don’t suffer from jet lag, because I use melatonin judiciously in these instances. I also have a few rules about travel (feel free to crib my notes):

– Once you’ve landed and checked in to your lodgings, immediately get an aerobic workout. This will help stimulate circulation, hormones and serotonin production – it’ll just be that much easier adjusting to the new time zone. Don’t tuck into a glass of wine or take a nap. Spend 30 minutes getting your heart racing instead.

Eat a small, protein-rich meal that also includes some fiber. But keep it light so your body isn’t further stressed.

– Reset your watch and then… lie to yourself. Don’t think about it; just immediately adapt to the new time zone.

– Of course, the goal is to adjust as soon as possible to your new time zone. If you’re flying overnight or flying to a place where everyone else will have just finished sleeping, by all means, do what you can to nap on the plane or otherwise refresh yourself.

Drink at least a quart of water your first day there (4 glasses).

Go to bed when everyone else in your new time zone goes to bed, and take 3-6 milligrams of melatonin an hour before you plan to fall asleep to make that possible.

Here’s the ScienceNow clickativity.

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Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I’m having a site time understanding some of the weight gain effect in these comments. There are dozens of studies showing how effective melatonin is for weight loss. The dosage used was in the range of 20 mg. I was so convinced that I started using it myself even going up to 40 mg some nights. After a couple of weeks, I can tell you the weight is melting off. It’s rather remarkable as something that makes you sleepy can also help you burn fat. It induces thermogenesis in brown fat by stimulating a protein called thermogenin and increasing heat production. Has anyone taken the time to figure out if the weight gain is actual fat ? Instead of water weight or even added muscle mass ? Melatonin also increases growth hormone output, which is also lipolytic in itself. In addition, melatonin also reverses many of the metabolic changes found in obesity. In fact, night shift workers have a tendency towards obesity and cancer because of a lack of melatonin production. I think this hormone deserves a closer look. See PMID: 22380505 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

    Luis wrote on May 17th, 2012
    • Hi Luis,
      Did your weight come off easily? I am convinced the tranquility blend (with melatonin) I have been taking for over a year has been the reason for a 10 lb weight gain despite furious exercise. :(
      Unfortunately, the blend works very well for me, but I am eager to be off of it and lose this weight!

      Kelly wrote on June 28th, 2012
    • My GOD you take 40 milligrams a night?

      1-3 mgs is the recommended dose. You’re taking over TEN TIMES the recommended dose!

      I worry for you.

      Sam A. wrote on July 29th, 2013
  2. This is a response to LUIS…

    Melatonin is associated with weight GAIN for several reasons.
    One is because it is a hormone that makes you sleepy.People produce more of it in the winter,and as a result people also gain more weight in the winter.It makes you cold,sleepy and withdrawn.So that is one possible reason for weight gain.

    The weight gain I had from it,was because it FRIED my thyroid gland.And if some of you do your research,you will see Melatonin is not good for the thyroid.
    Melatonin made me HYPOTHYROID,which is highly associated with weight gain.
    Once I stopped taking Melatonin and started taking thyroid hormone replacement,I lost all of the Melatonin weight gain and then some.

    Vern wrote on May 17th, 2012
  3. I think Melatonin is best for people with circadian rythm issues. Like DSPS. It’s not a sleeping pill, it’s more of a body clock resetter.

    jimmy wrote on May 25th, 2012
  4. Heres a good one do what ur mothers always told u to do,and yall never listened.( role over,close your eyes,and go to bed!!!) It works .u people always rely on things to help u do somthing use yourself lazy asses use ur brain thats what its there for it your own personal control room and ur in charge..

    ryan wrote on May 25th, 2012
    • You’ve OBVIOUSLY never EVER suffered from insomnia.

      Sam A. wrote on July 29th, 2013
  5. About half of you are lunatics with too many useless opinions and too much time. I’m sure she didn’t need a lecture with the word “ejaculate” in it about melatonin! Get a life.

    lynne wrote on June 13th, 2012
  6. Stumbled across this article while doing some research for a paper I’m writing and am absolutely SHOCKED at a lot of the ignorance and misinformation being touted as fact here.

    First off, there have been no objective, scientific studies I have been able to find anywhere that suggest Melatonin causes weight gain. Not one (feel free to link one here if you can find one). Quite the opposite, Melatonin has been shown in studies to help reduce fat ( just one objective link to an actual study, not some idiot proclaiming they gained 20 pounds and it must be Melatonin’s fault).

    The key here (as the poster above me points out) is that Melatonin is something our bodies produce naturally, but as we age we tend to produce less of it. So if you’re in your 20’s and are having no trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep, taking Melatonin is probably not a great idea. But if you’re middle aged and having trouble getting to sleep you should absolutely talk to your DOCTOR about adding a Melatonin supplement (just like you would for Testosterone or any other hormone therapy). I started a 3mg dose on the advice of my doctor about 6 months ago and can tell you that I sleep like a kid, wake feeling rested, and have lost 50 pounds through diet and exercise, things I didn’t really have the energy for when I was suffering from insomnia and waking up in the middle of the night.

    But the main thing I hope anyone that stumbles onto this site will take away from this is that don’t take anything here (even my comments) as gospel. I would strongly encourage you to look for objective medical evidence supported by actual doctors and clinicians and not a bunch of random individuals.

    Here’s a few links to help you get started on better educating yourself:

    TheTruth wrote on June 14th, 2012
    • Very useful information. Thank you. A lot to read, and very detailed. I found this article you presented most useful::

      The most powerful statement regarding DOSAGE I found was the following:

      “Studies showed that only a small dose of melatonin (about 0.3 milligrams) is necessary for a restful effect. Taken in that quantity, it not only helps people fall asleep, but also makes it easier for them to return to sleep after waking up during the night–a problem for many older adults. The researchers also found, however, that commercially available melatonin pills contain 10 times the effective amount. And at that dose, “after a few days it stops working,”

      NOTE:: Less is better. I take 1/8 milligram. Try starting with 1/4-1/2 milligram – 1Mg at the most. Its very rare more is needed. Trail & Error and working closely with the Dr. is best.

      Frank B wrote on June 14th, 2012
    • THANK YOU. While I may not immediately agree with your points, I’m very happy that you cited why you have the opinions that you do – and that they seem to be from reputable scientific organizations (well, except for LiveStrong – which is run by a dope-fiend – or was…)

      I’ll be tearing through those citations as soon as I hit “SUBMIT”.

      Thanks again!

      Sam A. wrote on July 29th, 2013
  7. Ok, I’ve had insomnia since I was a kid. My parents would put me to bed and I would lay in there for hours unable to sleep. I am generally unable to sleep unless I am completely exhausted and can literally not keep my eyes open any longer. That usually means staying up for 20+ hours, or even several days at a time. I have never had any control over this, and my sleep schedule has been completely erratic as a result.

    I have been unable to work or lead a normal life because of my sleep problems. I frequently could not sleep until the morning or afternoon, and then would be in bed all day. Then a couple days later, I would sleep at night. Then a couple days later I wouldn’t sleep at all.

    When I did sleep, I would usually sleep for 10-14 hours at a time, but would always wake up feeling like I hadn’t slept at all. I would have vivid dreams the entire night and would wake up feeling totally exhausted because, from my perspective, I was busy all night!

    It wasn’t until I tried taking melatonin that I had ANY control over any of this. Now as long as I take my melatonin every evening, I can fall asleep around 10 or 11 and wake up around 9 hours later, totally rested, like a normal person. This works almost without fail.

    I started off taking 5mgs at night, and it worked beautifully, but when I read that I shouldn’t need that much, I reduced to 3mg. 3mg doesn’t do anything for me. It’s as if I didn’t even take it. So now I take two 3mg tablets (6mg) and it works perfectly again.

    I have not gained any weight doing this. I started taking the melatonin at the same time I started Primal, and have lost 40lbs in 5 months.

    And no, Primal itself has not been a factor in helping me sleep better, at least not on its own. When I don’t take the melatonin, even when eating clean, I sleep just as poorly as I used to (if I am able to sleep at all).

    I’m probably going to be taking this stuff for the rest of my life. And that is fine with me, because at least I’ll be well-rested and be able to live on an actual schedule like people are supposed to be able to do. I refuse to be made to feel as if I’m just “not trying hard enough” if I can’t sleep like everyone else can. Melatonin makes me healthy. Sheer white-knuckled willpower and orange light and “winding down before bed” does not.

    Gravyboat wrote on June 25th, 2012
  8. I’m going to disagree with you here, Mark. An necessary consequence of living in the modern world–for those of us who don’t wear orange goggles–is artificially high levels of blue light in the evening, and therefore, artificially low levels of melatonin. By regularly using melatonin (or in my case, semi-regularly–I’m still wary enough that I’m not too conscientious about it), you’re simply restoring your body to more natural levels of melatonin.

    The important thing about melatonin, in my opinion, is its role as an antioxidant. It apparently served this role before evolution co-opted it to regulate circadian rhythms, and it’s a potent antioxidant (it self-destructs rather than passing along the radical electron, and its breakdown products are also antioxidants). There’s evidence for all sorts of benefits to supplementation (although, full disclosure, I haven’t looked far past Wikipedia on this).

    I’d say that even if some tolerance develops, your melatonin levels are still going to be higher than without supplementation. Given all this, I’m cautiously of the opinion that melatonin supplementation is downright healthy.

    Steve wrote on June 27th, 2012
  9. Interesting — I’ve been taking melatonin for a few months now. Love the sleep, but have packed on 10 extra pounds that I can not get rid of. dosage …. I cut 1mg tablets into 3 pieces!!! I’m out in 15-30 minutes after taking 1/3 of a 1mg tablet. So, I don’t think I’m taking too much. I think its great for jet-lag and occasional use, but I really do think for some people, it causes weight gain.

    Gail wrote on July 5th, 2012
  10. How can anyone say, “this does or not cause weight gain”? Each supplement or drug has side effects that differ for each one person, regardless of empirical evidence or studies! If a person knows they have gained weight, then, they’ve gain weight. If someone lost weight, then they lost weight. Personally, melotonin did make me gain 15 pounds and I don’t care to see the studies that prove the supplement makes people people lose weight because I know what it does to MY body. End of story.

    Renee wrote on July 16th, 2012
    • THANK YOU!

      Sam A. wrote on July 29th, 2013
  11. I have been taking slow release Melatonin 5mg for the past six months and find it a blessing having had insomnia ever since having breast cancer 16 years ago, It definitely helps me sleep but I have also put on weight, have never gone over 8 stone since having cancer but have since being on Melatonin!! It’s a bit of a trade off because it is so wonderful to be able to sleep!!

    Annie wrote on July 19th, 2012
  12. I’m seeing way too much unnecessarily rude and snarky comments on this post.

    Why is that?

    Being condescending to someone is a sure fire way to get people to ignore you…

    Desiree wrote on July 20th, 2012
  13. Melatonin CAN make you gain weight. Two doctors have told me so. It made me gain weight and an aunt of mine and her daughter. Once we all stopped taking it, the weight melted off. All meds have the potential to effect different people, well, differently.

    Ambra wrote on August 1st, 2012
  14. And it doesn’t only produce when it’s dark. Your body is just used to being asleep at night, so it produces it out of habit when your body tires because you’ve been awake all during the day. It has nothing to do with the dark.

    Ambra wrote on August 1st, 2012
  15. I have taken melatonin off and on for sleep since 1997. I would typically take 2-3 mgs. I was diagnosed with Hypothyroid in 2009. Coincidence? Maybe. I never considered melatonin as the cause at that time.

    At the suggestion of my homeopathic doctor, I increased my dosage to 5 mgs a night last August. Over the course of a year, I have gained 12 pounds and have been told my progesterone and testosterone levels were very low. I tried supplements several times with bad side effects, so I just gave up. Soon after I began searching for info about melatonin and discovered that it was known to effect hormones. I threw my bottle right in the garbage!! Two months after being melatonin free, my bloodwork shows the all of my hormones are now in normal range (another coincidence?) Also, my menstral cycle is now every 28 days–after years of being 30-35 days. I also wanted to add that my depression has lifted and my libido has finally returned.

    Lynn wrote on August 1st, 2012
  16. Here’s some recent research (2003) to support weight loss associated with melatonin when taken 1 hour prior to sleep.

    Title: Melatonin reduces body weight gain in Sprague Dawley rats with diet-induced obesity

    Abstract: Melatonin is involved in the regulation of seasonal obesity in various species, including some rodents. This involvement has been demonstrated in nonphotoperiodic rodents like rats, but only in models of enhanced body weight such as genetically obese or middle-aged rats. The aim of this investigation was to determine the effects of melatonin on body weight and metabolic parameters in a model closer to that observed in Western populations, i.e. Sprague Dawley rats fed a high-fat diet. They were treated for 3 wk with melatonin (30 mg/kg) 4 h after lights-on [Zeitgeber time (ZT) 4] or 1 h before lights-out (ZT11). Given at ZT11, melatonin decreased body weight gain and feed efficiency by half. Melatonin had no effect on plasma insulin level, but it decreased plasma glucose (13%), leptin (28%), and triglyceride (28%) levels. Furthermore, in pinealectomized high-fat diet rats, body weight gain and feed efficiency were increased 4 wk after surgery. Adipose tissue weight, insulinemia, and glycemia had a tendency to increase. Treatment with melatonin prevented in part these changes. These data demonstrate that melatonin may act as a regulator of body weight in a model of obesity and may prevent some of the side effects on glucose homeostasis such as decreased insulin sensitivity.

    John wrote on August 1st, 2012
    • I find that REALLY hard to believe. 30 mg/kg???

      That means, for a 120 pound woman, she’d have to be taking 55 milligrams per night! 55!!! That’s ELEVEN 5mg pills – when the recommended dosage quite clearly states it’s from 0.3 – 5 mg per dose.

      A man weighing 180 pounds would have to take 82 mg! If you have a bottle of 3 mg pills like I do, that means you’d be taking twenty-seven pills.


      That can’t be right.

      Sam A. wrote on July 29th, 2013
      • btw – 27 pills would mean that I’d go through that bottle of 120 in a little over 4 days. A FULL BOTTLE IN FOUR DAYS.

        Again – that CAN’T be right.

        Sam A. wrote on July 29th, 2013
  17. I have taken Melatonin 3mg for about 8 years with no problems. However,I switched brands to the big W and am having trouble. I have just realized what happened. I took a couple of weeks and realize depression has set in. I will let this wear off and go back to the Wgreen store for finestnatural.Tried 5 mg and felt groggy next morning, 3mg works just fine in that brand. Big mistake switching brands to Wmart.Small print.Just realized composition is very different.The person who said liquid Melatonin is interesting.I would never take time release for myself either, just plain, however, brand and how it’s put together makes a huge difference.Buyer beware.It can make you depressed if you get the wrong thing.The right combination is a good thing for me, anyway.

    wendy wrote on August 5th, 2012
  18. I’ve been using melatonin for 4 months, have lost 30 pounds in 6 weeks (due to a rigorous workout program and training) and commonly take melatonin after a night session on the weights after drinking protein shakes. The only side effect I’ve encountered is some slight depression here and there, a little groggy in the morning and the very unpredictable onset of sleepiness. I’ll often start drifting away to sleep and suddenly be woken by a tactile hallucination, usually a sound. If there is a better way to drift off to sleep other than using deep-breathing meditation exercises, I’m game!

    Surfrat wrote on August 6th, 2012
  19. HI Folks
    I was suspicious for a long time that my years of taking melatonin (1-3 mg) and from quality brand companies was only temproary and wearing on me slowly from my bodies (brain?) dependence, so now I use 5 htp and i think its a much better aid for deeper sleep , for the long haul.
    I didnt notice weight gain trends,(with melatonin) but would always wake up in a fog, and take a while to get revved up using melatonin. Valerian has a heavy effect, and seems to need time to eliminate from body, like a drug, so keep that in mind too

    Jack wrote on August 12th, 2012
    • The likely reason you wake up in a fog, or feel groggy is because of melatonin overdose. Melatonin is extremely powerful. I personally started on 1mg, did not get good results, worked my way up to 3&5mg… similar result. Then someone suggested trying less, MUCH less. I FINALLY found 500mcg (1/2mg) at Traders Joes. Cut it into 4. And found my perfect dose … 1/8Mg. It took me 12Yrs of trial & error + some research to figure it out. I don’t think weight gain is possible on such a tiny dose. Ask your Dr… They will probably suggest a very high dose… They suggest to me to give my 89Yr old mom 5Mg. She too is doing fine on 1/8Mg. Thanx Doc.

      Frank B wrote on September 2nd, 2012
  20. Check it out, and judge the risks versus the benefits.

    Marietta wrote on August 13th, 2012
  21. Even if you have lived a wholesome and clean life, you might be faced with debilitating and scary ailments.
    Most of us are defficient in Vit D3 (a precursor hormone). Supplementation might be necessary.
    Statistically, more than half of the people that live past 85 years, suffer from cognition problems. supplementation with melatonin might have some value due to its antioxidant and TAU antagonistic activity. Google “Alzheimer Treatments that Really Work – in small studies- by Jeff Bowless”

    FGB wrote on August 16th, 2012
  22. Someone gave me some melatonin tonight. I haven’t taken it in years because it always caused me bloody violent nightmares-also when I would wake the next morning I would have the shakes.

    Now, I took it for about 1 month and told dr FORGET IT!

    Are you RUDE people going to tell me that was all in my head? I cannot believe how you are talking to people on here. And where do you insulters come up with saying “it’s a hormone” so it doesn’t cause weight gain. You ALL need to redo your research because there are several hormones that cause weight gain. Although we are not in these peoples’ daily lives, does not mean it did not happen to them. Furthermore, you are all forgetting one major thing: one disease can affect 50 people all differently-just the same as a medication!

    I did not notice weight gain personally but get over your condescending/judgemental/sneering/jeering selves and say something constructive instead of being a bit of evil-doers!

    And for your information I have one for you: I was Rx’d Neurontin and in 28 days of taking those pills I gained 31 pounds, BP shot thru the roof and my short term memory was SHOT! I had 2 neurologists stand right in front of me and blame my age, diet and so on. I brought 1 of 3 witnesses who DID see my daily life who backed me up 100%. To this day I do NOTHING differently than I did that month!!! Once I stopped the medication (about 50 pounds later), my BP started to come back down, short-term memory got a LOT better, but it took me 1.5 years to get rid of that weight!

    Any self-righteous asshole who thinks they know better than this needs their head examined, because since then I met others both in person and online who stated the same exact problems and that their doctors also did not believe them-just because it’s not textbook does not mean it doesn’t happen!

    That’s like saying you cannot be allergic to peanut butter cause 1.5 hundred million can eat it with no problems.

    Man, I came to do a simple search-still have to go elsewhere for my answer and I run into this negative mosh pit of wasps and I just could not go on without saying MY peace.

    On that note, have a great day!

    Unzufrieden wrote on August 26th, 2012
    • If you research it out, you may find that once you reach a certain age, like 30?, your body loses melatonin. Like .3 mg daily. (3/10ths) You were most like taking 1 – or 3 – or 5 Mg of melatonin, seeing as thats how it is sold everywhere, when all along you probably needed less than 1/2Mg. I take 1/8Mg and it took me 13 years to figure it out. Your comments above seem to indicate everyone spoke negatively. Your comments contributed nothing to help – I just hope you feel better.

      Frank B wrote on September 2nd, 2012
    • Aren’t you glad you got that off your chest? :)

      B-case wrote on December 5th, 2012
  23. just for the record,I lost 45lbs while taking 1mg of liquid melatonin no side effects ,works great if u feel groggy in the morning,cut back its called melatonin hangover…you took to much

    ken wrote on August 26th, 2012
    • Exactly. Not even melatonin manufacturers – (or even your own Dr.) know the best amount of melatonin FOR YOU … Its usually the tiniest dose you can find, and it’s up to you alone to figure out what’s best. Unfortunately you can not find doses of 1/8Mg 1/3Mg 1/4Mg 3/4 Mg. … Best way is find Melatonin (google it) in LIQUID form. Using a dropper to measure dose. 1Mg is most likely way too strong. I buy 500Mcg (1/2Mg) at Trader Joes & cut into 4 pieces = 1/8Mg. My perfect dose. Ever heard the saying … “LESS IS MORE?” …. This is particularly true of melatonin. Yet maybe 1in10 individuals may require 5Mg or more daily….

      Lesson Here: start with TINIEST dose, and work your way up SLOWLY. It took me 13 years to figure out my perfect dose.

      Frank B wrote on September 2nd, 2012
  24. Do you have any recommendations for taking Relora? It’s a proprietary blend of Magnolia Officinalis bark extract & Phellodendron amurense bark extract. I decided to try it to lower my cortisol levels but found it really helps when I can’t fall asleep but causes no drowsiness or morning hangovers.

    Melissa C wrote on September 5th, 2012
  25. Thanks Rob, the schedule sounds like it’s worth a go. Have you any tips for where to purchase Melatonin?

    Gina wrote on September 6th, 2012
  26. I’ve been taking melatonin for awhile now and haven’t gained any weight….just sleeping a whole lot better!

    carol martinez wrote on September 8th, 2012
  27. I have been taking it for months. 3mg maybe 4 to 5 times a week. I haven’t gained weight. I have lost but only due to watching what I eat and taking vitamins. I think it could effect people differently.

    Suzanne wrote on September 24th, 2012
  28. I have been taking melatonin every night for over a year and have gained over 20 lbs. This was very abnormal weight gain with no apparent cause. I eat sensibly and exercise vigorously 4-6 times a week. Tonight, I took my nightly melatonin and it hit me: THIS IS THE REASON. I threw it all away and I’m hoping I can start to get back my normal size now.

    H Q wrote on September 26th, 2012
  29. Yeah coming off of 2mgs atiivan and 200 mgs sequel cold much melatonin should I Take and or valerian root..

    jamie wrote on September 28th, 2012
  30. I tried taking melatonin a while back. It made my asthma worse and made me more depressed. I am surprised that medical practitioners and others are not aware that melatonin is not recommended for people with asthma or other immune disorders or depression. Maybe the fact that melatonin is produced more in childhood and less in adulthood explains why asthma tends to get better as one grows older.

    Claire wrote on September 28th, 2012
  31. does melatonin works in hypothyroid patients.

    sanjay wrote on September 29th, 2012
  32. A good article on the benefits of melatonin from the reputable LEF org.

    Roy G wrote on September 30th, 2012
  33. I never slept more than a couple hours a night before I took melatonin. I can’t complain. It’s nice being able to sleep like everyone else.

    yourmothersir wrote on October 2nd, 2012
  34. hello all, some of you raise some good points about melatonin, others i am not so sure. unless you have gone thru a child staying up until 4 am when he has to be at school by 755 am, um would you give your child the sleep aid prescribed by a doctor say maybe clonadine? i would rather try my child on melatonin then a prescription drug. my son might have vivid nightmares but he sleeps his 9 hours that he needs to function; he is groogy yes in the am but who isnt? i take ambien and seroquil to sleep i do not want my child having to take this medicine when my age, with the aide of melatonin after only using it for two weeks i plan on taking my son off from it, to see if he will be accustomed to falling asleep at the same time, this is my plan. I disagree with a lot of the posts here, but i agree with some, but unless you have a child who does not sleep due to environmental factors like a divorce youd probly try your child on it too if you thought it would help and did not want to use hard core prescriptions that can lead to dependancy like with seroquil and ambien.. just saying.. have a good day everyone. the arguing here is kind of childish i thought this was a forum about melatonin, dont lose track of the subject here people. try putting yourself in the childs shoes who does not sleep, is angry all the time because he is tired…and hungry…heres a heads up when your tired you get hungry and cold, this is your bodies normal reaction to being tired, your stomach is triggered for nurishment and your body gets cold because its fighting to stay awake, do any of you know how painful it is to watch your child at 9 go thru this type of behavior? yes there are underlying issues to his insomnia but the melatonin has been helping him get REM ssleep for a week now, he seems rested and more relaxed.

    Raquel Gardner wrote on October 4th, 2012
  35. Well, It’s been 6 weeks since I stopped taking the melatonin and now the weight is falling off effortlessly! MY stress has lowered and I am sleeping better than when I took the supplement! I am only 31, so I would advise severe caution to any one to really research dosage based on weight and age before taking this stuff and if you notice an exaggerated emotional response, weight gain, nightmares or increased insomnia lower your dose or stop taking it at all, you be the judge!

    l Velazquez wrote on October 7th, 2012
    • Thanks, great info! I have gained 20lbs and am going to stop taking Melatonin today. I don’t have the money to go out and buy a new wardrobe.

      Brian wrote on July 23rd, 2013
  36. When I was depressed, stressed, and having trouble sleeping, I decided to take melatonin to help me sleep better. As an astrophysics student, I was forced to spend long hours behind a computer screen late into the night to finish my assignments and my research job to help pay my tuition. I gained weight during this period.

    No, I did not gain weight due to melatonin.

    Being stressed, depressed, and having trouble sleeping ALL have sideaffects of weight gain, mainly because the issues put pressure on our psyche to find increased seratonin levels

    Patat wrote on October 9th, 2012
  37. This guy is full of sh*t.

    Juan wrote on October 9th, 2012
  38. Hi,
    Melatonin dangers include: depression, anxiety and seizures.
    The 500mcg tablet that is normally sold in stores is very high in comparison to what the body normally makes on it’s own.
    Some people may be very sensitive.
    I am one of those. I took the whole tablet a few times and found that thought it helped me sleep, I couldn’t handle it… so then I started just biting a bit from pill about 1/4…Vivid dreams does not accurately describe the effect…I feel that it can be neurologically damaging to some people. It’s effect is more “drug like”. Alot of herbal and “natural” remedies have strong properties.

    Though it has benefits there are some dangers:
    People with high blood pressure, seizure disorders, depression or liver problems should be especially careful for side effects of Melatonin, as Melatonin may increase their symptoms.
    Melatonin side effects may include headaches, abdominal discomfort, nausea and dizziness.
    Other side effects of Melatonin could be abdominal cramps, irritability, vivid dreams and nightmares, daytime sleepiness and depression.
    Confusion, sleepwalking or nightmares also are possible side effects of Melatonin. There are studies claiming that Melatonin increases the risk of seizures.

    aviela wrote on October 11th, 2012
  39. Doesn’t anyone read other articles? Or check out wikipedia? Many of these issues are covered e.g. The nightmare side-effect. Not the dosage, though from reading this thread it seems like the less is better option wins here.

    Rosa wrote on October 16th, 2012

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