Melatonin is a hormone found naturally in the human body and regulates the sleep-wake cycle. It is released by the pineal gland, or pineal gland, just below the brain.
Melatonin plays an important role in synchronizing changing factors with the circadian rhythm, namely the daily cycle, as well as sleep-wake timing, regulation of blood pressure and seasonal reproductive impulses.
Most of the effects of melatonin occur with the activation of the melatonin receptors, while other effects are due to the antioxidant role of the hormone. Melatonin, which acts as a defense against oxidative stress in plants, is also found in various foods.
Melatonin, used as a medicine or supplement, is usually produced synthetically in a laboratory. Melatonin should be used as a dietary supplement for short-term treatment of sleep problems such as jet lag or shift work, with the advice of a doctor.
Melatonin is most commonly produced in pill form, but there are forms that can be placed in the cheek or under the tongue. In this way, melatonin taken orally is directly absorbed by the body.
What Are the Effects of Melatonin?
The main function of melatonin in the body is to regulate day and night cycles or sleep-wake cycles. Darkness normally causes the body to produce more melatonin, which signals the body to prepare for sleep.
Brightness and light reduce melatonin production and signal the body to be ready to be awake. Low melatonin levels are common in individuals with sleep problems.
No definitive evidence has yet been obtained that the hormone melatonin, which is used by taking supplements for sleep regulation, is effective.
As a result of the researches, it was noted that the onset of sleep was about six minutes earlier with regular use, but there was no change in the total sleep time. In addition, with the cessation of melatonin use, it is seen that the shortening of the onset of sleep disappears within a year.
What Are the Side Effects of Melatonin?
When melatonin is taken as a supplement, it has been observed that the side effects are minimal if used short-term, in low doses. These side effects include:
- Dry mouth
- Mouth ulcer
- Abnormal liver function tests
- Asthenia (weakness)
- Dermatitis (skin inflammation)
- A feeling of avoiding emotions
- Lack of energy
- Night sweats
- Chest pain
- Indigestion or heartburn
- Hyperbilirubinemia, that is, yellowing of the skin and eyes with high bilirubin levels caused by the breakdown of red blood cells in the blood
- Hypertension, i.e. high blood pressure
- Protein, namely proteinuria in the urine
- Sugar in the urine, or glycosuria
- Abdominal pain
- Weight gain
- Pain in arms and legs
- Dry skin
- Menopausal symptoms
- Psychomotor hyperactivity, i.e. restlessness and restlessness that occurs with increased activity
- Mood swings
- Sleeping state
- Abnormal dreams
- Fatigue counts.
It is not recommended to use melatonin supplements for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or individuals with liver problems. The situations in which the hormone latonin can be observed are listed below. However, no supplements should be used without the advice of a physician.
- Sleep disturbance caused by some blood pressure drugs, namely insomnia caused by beta blockers: It is observed that beta blocker drugs such as atenolol and propranolol reduce melatonin levels. This can cause sleep problems. Studies show that taking melatonin supplements can reduce sleep problems in patients taking beta-blocker medication.
- Endometriosis, a painful uterine disorder
- High Blood Pressure: It is observed that the use of a controlled release type of melatonin can control high blood pressure to a certain extent in some cases.
- Insomnia: It has been observed that short-term melatonin use shortens the time required to fall asleep by 6-12 minutes in individuals with insomnia. However, studies on total sleep time in individuals give conflicting results. It has been observed that the melatonin hormone is more effective on elderly individuals than young people.
- Jet lag: Research has shown that melatonin alleviates or eliminates jet lag symptoms such as wakefulness, movement coordination, daytime sleepiness, and fatigue.
- Anxiety before surgery: It has been observed that melatonin used in its sublingual form is as effective as the traditionally used midazolam in reducing anxiety before surgery. In addition, fewer side effects were observed in some individuals.
- Tumors without cysts or fluid (solid tumors): It has been observed that taking melatonin under doctor supervision in conjunction with chemotherapy or other cancer treatments can reduce tumor size and increase survival rates in people with tumors.
- Sunburn: It has been observed that applying melatonin gel to the skin before going out in the sun can prevent sunburn in some cases among people very sensitive to sunlight. However, it is noted that melatonin cream cannot prevent sunburn in people with less sensitive skin.
- A group of painful conditions affecting the jaw joint and muscle, namely temporomandibular disorders: Studies show that taking melatonin at bedtime for 4 weeks reduces pain by 44% and increases pain tolerance by 39% in individuals with jaw pain.
- Low levels of platelets in the blood (thrombocytopenia): It has been observed that the low blood platelet count can be increased with oral melatonin.
It has been observed that the use of the melatonin hormone does not have a measurable effect in cases of athletic performance, involuntary weight loss in very ill patients, diseases that interfere with thinking such as Alzheimer's disease, dry mouth, infertility, and cyclic or night shift sleep disorder, i.e. shift work disorder.
The effect of the melatonin hormone, which seems to be completely ineffective in getting rid of the addiction of drugs called benzodiazepines or helping the individual in depression cases, has not been determined yet.
- Age-related macular degeneration or AMD, an eye disease that causes vision loss in older adults
- Eczema or atopic dermatitis
- Attention deficit or hyperactivity disorder
- Enlarged prostate caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia,
- Bipolar disorder
- Fatigue in individuals with cancer
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD, a lung disease that makes breathing difficult
- Cluster headaches or throbbing head, memory and thinking skills,
- Indigestion in people with Helicobacter pylori or H. pylori infection,
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Menopausal symptoms
- Metabolic syndrome
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Heart attack
- Brain damage caused by lack of oxygen in babies
- Fatty liver and inflammation (NASH)
- Sores and swelling in the mouth
- Low bone mass (osteopenia)
- Polycystic ovary syndrome, a hormonal disorder that causes enlarged ovaries with cysts
- Postural tachycardia syndrome
- Prostate cancer
- Radiation dermatitis
- Restless leg syndrome
- Sarcoidosis, a disease that causes swelling (inflammation) in body organs, usually the lungs or lymph nodes
- Seasonal depression
- Quitting smoking
- Sepsis, or blood infection
- tardive dyskinesia, a movement disorder usually caused by antipsychotic medications
- Tintinitis, or ringing in the ears
- Ulcerative colitis or loss of bladder control, ie urinary incontinence.
How to Use Melatonin and What Are Its Side Effects?
Before using melatonin, a healthcare professional and specialist should be consulted. The melatonin hormone can interact with various drugs and substances such as caffeine to create various adverse effects or cause various health problems to be aggravated when it is present in the body in excess.
Melatonin can make depression symptoms worse and increase blood sugar in people with diabetes. Individuals with diabetes should carefully monitor their blood sugar while taking melatonin. Melatonin can cause high blood pressure in people who take certain medications to control blood pressure.
The melatonin hormone can increase immune function and interfere with immunosuppressive therapy used by people receiving transplant. Melatonin can make bleeding worse in people with bleeding disorders.
Melatonin can be used orally in pill form, sublingual pill form, as a gel on the skin, or injected into the body under the direct supervision of a healthcare professional. It is necessary not to use machinery or vehicles for four to five hours after taking melatonin.
Melatonin Use During Pregnancy
Melatonin can have effects similar to birth control when taken orally by women or when injected frequently or in high doses. This can make it difficult to get pregnant.
Not enough reliable research has been completed to know if lower doses of melatonin are safe when trying to conceive. There is not enough information about how safe it is to use melatonin during pregnancy.
For this reason, it is recommended not to use melatonin while pregnant or trying to become pregnant until more definitive studies are concluded. Likewise, there is not enough information about the safety of melatonin use during breastfeeding, so avoiding it is the best solution.
Melatonin Use in Children
There is some concern that melatonin might interfere with development during adolescence. While these concerns are still not firmly confirmed, melatonin should not be used except in children with medical need. There is not enough evidence yet to know if melatonin is safe when taken orally in children.