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Thread: Long term use of Melatonin, is it bad? page

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    Jokaman70's Avatar
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    Long term use of Melatonin, is it bad?

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    I've had difficulty sleeping my entire adult life. I've tried everything, finding some success with Tylenol PM, Ambien, 5-HTP, ZMA, and Melatonin. I tried 5-HTP in college but it gave me a series of panic attacks, something I had never experienced before. I'll never touch the stuff again. I tried Tylenol PM for a few months, and it worked well, but I think there was a lingering, residual effect causing sleepiness during the day time. I then switched to Ambien which I really, really liked. I used to take it about an hour or more before I wanted to fall asleep so that I could experience the "trippyness" of it's effect: dis-inhibition, minor visual hallucinations (e.g., seeing stuff float), etc. I found though that if I didn't take it each night that I was simply unable to fall asleep, period, worse than before. When I finally stopped taking it once and for all it took me almost a week before I could even get a couple hours of sleep each night. I then tried Melatonin. I had tried it once before, when I was a teenager, but it only gave me a headache. I've been taking it for 6 months now, my dose varies from 10-30mg/night which is high, but it depends on the brand I use. I take this in conjunction with ZMA which has a calming effect on me and gives me VIVID dreams which I dig. Using both have worked really, really well; I've never slept so good before. I haven't noticed any side-effects but am worried that using it long-term, 6+ months for me so far, might have some consequences down the line. Does anyone know of any research that's been done that supports this? I know Robb Wolf seems to think it's OK. And every study I've seen claiming that it can form some type of dependence in its users seems to be anecdotal at best.

    Thoughts?

    PS - I maintain a relatively regular sleep schedule, going to sleep and waking up at roughly the same time each day. I also keep my room cool, quiet (besides the white noise of my fan which I seem to need), and pitch black (black out curtains, a book covering my alarm clock's LCD screen, etc.).
    I began this Primal journey on December 30th, 2009 and in that time I've lost over 125 LBS.

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    I've heard that adolescent boys should not take melatonin because it screws with their other hormones. I don't have any studies to back that up. I just have the feeling that it's not something that should be used long term.

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    I have had problems sleeping for years. I have been under a doctor’s care for insomnia for about 15 years. Mine started after a closed head injury (too much to go into). I would sometimes stay awake for 38 hours but not be able to fall asleep even though I was exhausted. I tried everything I possibly could and nothing worked. I tried almost all of the medications that help with insomnia and none of them worked for me. After years of a miserable life we finally found that the only thing that would help me sleep was .5mg of Xanex and melatonin at bedtime. I have been on the same dosage the whole time I have been taking it.

    I know what I take is not good for me, but neither are the effects of being awake for what seemed like days on end. I could not function and didn't have any kind of life. I couldn't hold down a job or do normal things that people do. Life was just pure misery and I sometimes I wanted to die (not suicide, I just didn’t care if I happened to die). I think that when someone is down so far and it causes this many problems that long term use of melatonin (and other stuff) is acceptable. If I had it my way I wouldn't be taking anything, but I don't so I have to do what I have to do. I will not go back to that place again, ever.

    I don't think melatonin is that bad anyway. Its not a drug.
    Last edited by NicoleP; 03-06-2011 at 04:32 PM.

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    "Based on available studies and clinical use, melatonin is generally regarded as safe in recommended doses for short-term use. Available trials report that overall adverse effects are not significantly more common with melatonin than placebo." (U.S. National Institutes of Health)

    "Side effects from taking melatonin may include changes in blood vessels that may affect blood flow, reduced sperm count, and lowering of the body's temperature (hypothermia). These side effects go away when you stop taking melatonin. Other reversible side effects may include stomach problems, headache, depression, morning grogginess, and vivid dreams." (WebMDģ)

    "During health examinations, tell your health professional if you are taking melatonin dietary supplements. Your health professional should also be aware if you are having difficulty sleeping, since it may be related to a medical condition." (WebMDģ)

    "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects." (U.S. National Institutes of Health)

    Taking melatonin is inadvised with alcohol and other drugs, for sufferers from autoimmune disorder, liver or kidney disease, and more. See our cautions page for a specific breakdown.
    Melatonin.com - Experts compared, sleep tips, jet lag, seasonal affective disorder.

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    ZoŽ's Avatar
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    I've always been wary about supplementing with melatonin because it's a hormone. It's pretty much completely unknown what the long-term side effects of taking it are. Our body has to maintain a delicate hormonal balance and it's obviously possible to throw it off (though the body does have an amazing ability to heal from just about anything given the right conditions are present). Yes, dependency is a concern.

    HOWEVER, I think that if it helps you significantly and improves your life then the risks might be worth it. It's likely better than the alternatives (I personally would take it over prescription drugs and I'd rather take it than not sleep).

    Why are you taking such a HUGE dose? Does 1-2 mg not affect you whatsoever?
    Have you tried taking 200-600mg of Magnesium before bed to see if it helps (I doubt the ZMA has this much)? You're likely deficient in it anyways. Almost everyone is.

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    ^^Didn't notice that dosage. I don't even take that much. Maybe 10mg at the max but mostly around 3-5mg.

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    I take a dual release melatonin, I just ran out of ZMA. I've read somewhere that it can affect one's mood negatively, but how would I be able to tell?

    I find that after taking it regularly I can fall asleep without it, but need to maintain strict "sleep discipline". Which I'm bad at. I'd like to wean myself off it it, but so long as I work nights, and have to get up in the mornings I'll stick with it. If I don't use it it's total sleep roulette. Maybe I'll sleep maybe I won't.

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    my boyfriend had some issues with a drop in libido with long term use. it took several months to come back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZoŽ View Post
    Why are you taking such a HUGE dose? Does 1-2 mg not affect you whatsoever?
    Have you tried taking 200-600mg of Magnesium before bed to see if it helps (I doubt the ZMA has this much)? You're likely deficient in it anyways. Almost everyone is.
    I usually get what's on sale at swanson or vitacost and it seems that some brands are very under dosed. I just got in the habit of taking more so that falling asleep was assured. I put together my own ZMA because it's a lot cheaper than buying the pre-mixed pills. It's 400mg of Mag/dose. Maybe I'll try dropping one of the Melatonin pills (10mg) and replacing it with an extra Mag pill (200mg).

    Quote Originally Posted by moonablaze View Post
    my boyfriend had some issues with a drop in libido with long term use. it took several months to come back.
    I wish that were the case for me but it's certainly not. I'm 30 years old and my sex drive's comparable to that of a 18 year old. That sounds fine and dandy but as a still relatively obese man I don't often have an outlet! If he starts taking anything else that kills his libido let me know, I'll start taking some of that too.
    I began this Primal journey on December 30th, 2009 and in that time I've lost over 125 LBS.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jokaman70 View Post
    I've had difficulty sleeping my entire adult life. I've tried everything, finding some success with Tylenol PM, Ambien, 5-HTP, ZMA, and Melatonin. I tried 5-HTP in college but it gave me a series of panic attacks, something I had never experienced before. I'll never touch the stuff again. I tried Tylenol PM for a few months, and it worked well, but I think there was a lingering, residual effect causing sleepiness during the day time. I then switched to Ambien which I really, really liked. I used to take it about an hour or more before I wanted to fall asleep so that I could experience the "trippyness" of it's effect: dis-inhibition, minor visual hallucinations (e.g., seeing stuff float), etc. I found though that if I didn't take it each night that I was simply unable to fall asleep, period, worse than before. When I finally stopped taking it once and for all it took me almost a week before I could even get a couple hours of sleep each night. I then tried Melatonin. I had tried it once before, when I was a teenager, but it only gave me a headache. I've been taking it for 6 months now, my dose varies from 10-30mg/night which is high, but it depends on the brand I use. I take this in conjunction with ZMA which has a calming effect on me and gives me VIVID dreams which I dig. Using both have worked really, really well; I've never slept so good before. I haven't noticed any side-effects but am worried that using it long-term, 6+ months for me so far, might have some consequences down the line. Does anyone know of any research that's been done that supports this? I know Robb Wolf seems to think it's OK. And every study I've seen claiming that it can form some type of dependence in its users seems to be anecdotal at best.

    Thoughts?

    PS - I maintain a relatively regular sleep schedule, going to sleep and waking up at roughly the same time each day. I also keep my room cool, quiet (besides the white noise of my fan which I seem to need), and pitch black (black out curtains, a book covering my alarm clock's LCD screen, etc.).

    I to had issues sleeping my whole life. I went through a period where i took 3mg of melatonin for about 3 years straight. Slept like a baby. One day i decided to quit, no issues no side effects, still sleep very well.

    I think this would be one of the safer hormones to take, and i would rather take this then tylenol pm etc. but like anything one still needs to see the long term effects pan out in studies.

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