10 Unknown Side Effects of Melatonin

Side effects of melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone that occurs naturally in our body and is responsible for promoting sleep. Since it has a natural calm and sedating effect on the body, it is called ‘sleep hormone’.

The pineal gland in our brain is responsible for releasing melatonin at specific times in the day. The secretion is more at night, when we need to relax and sleep, and its production decreases when there is light outside. Along with its sleep-promoting action, melatonin is also known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions. It is also responsible for regulating the immune system, blood pressure and body temperature. As we age, less amount of melatonin is produced by our body resulting in sleeplessness.

Synthetically prepared melatonin is available in markets and is widely revered as an effective supplement for sleep. It is most commonly available in pill form. So, use of this supplement is very popular among people who are facing sleeping disorders like insomnia. Although melatonin is naturally made by the body, it is still necessary to take proper precautions while taking this supplement as like all supplements, this too has many side effects. Melatonin is known to interact with some over-the-counter and prescription medications including antidepressants, antibiotics, antihistamines, and even other supplements.

Here we are going to present 10 side effects of this supplement so that you can decide for yourself if you want to go in for this or not.


Side Effect 1: Drowsiness

If melatonin supplement is taken properly, side effects can be minimal. However, as with other medicines and supplements, side effects can still occur when melatonin supplement is taken in excess. All these symptoms are mild but are there if this supplement is not used with caution.
Melatonin is basically taken as a sleep aid; therefore, sleepiness or drowsiness is a common side effect of melatonin. Some people on this dug do experience daytime drowsiness and reduced alertness and make it difficult to drive or operate machinery.

Side Effect 2: Hypothermia and Hormonal Imbalance

Excess melatonin can result in hypothermia, as melatonin release causes the body temperatures to decrease and stimulate overproduction of another hormone, prolactin. Excess of prolactin is known to result in hormonal problems along with liver and kidney issues in men. The US FDA identifies melatonin as a dietary substance and therefore, its packet does not have warning signs of overdose risks. This classification also allows companies to sell melatonin supplements at variable doses. More importantly, people should remember that melatonin is a hormone. If it is taken by children, it can adversely affect normal hormonal development, onset of puberty and regularity of menstrual cycle.

Side Effect 3: Nausea

Nausea is the sensation of an urge to vomit. Nausea can be acute and short-lived, or it can be prolonged. When prolonged, it is a debilitating symptom. Nausea can be psychological or physical in origin. Nausea symptoms are frequently difficult for people to describe. Nausea symptoms are not painful but very uncomfortable feelings that are felt in the chest, upper abdomen, or back of the throat. Melatonin when ingested in high doses can result in nausea. People sensitive to the drug experience reactions similar to motion sickness. Taking counter measures for the nausea leads to excessive sleepiness as they both have sedating effects.

Side Effect 4: Stomach Problems

Melatonin also causes stomach discomfort in some people. This may include cramps, and diarrhea. Stomach cramps and lower abdominal pain are common side effects of melatonin. The severity of these cramps varies depending upon the person’s sensitivity to melatonin drugs.


Side Effect 5: Headache and Irritability

People who consume high doses of this supplement or people who are are extremely sensitive to melatonin are the ones who develop headaches when using melatonin. Melatonin affects the serotonin levels in the brain, which when interfered with, may induce headaches.
Irritability is a feeling of agitation and annoyance. People who take high dose of melatonin or are sensitive to it are more likely to feel irritable on a daily basis.

Side Effect 6: Mild Tremors

A high dose of melatonin is also capable of inducing mild tremors. Tremors are movement disorders i.e. they cause uncontrollable shaking of the body.

Side Effect 7: Dizziness

Consumption of melatonin in higher dosage causes dizziness, which is a term used to describe a range of sensations, such as feeling faint, woozy, weak or unsteady. Some people who take melatonin report mild dizziness, lightheadedness, or vertigo.

Side Effect 8: Depression

Melatonin can make symptoms of depression worse. Studies have shown that people who consumed melatonin to induce sleep during depressive phases reported that it made the condition worse. It also becomes an unhealthy habit of taking sleeping aids to induce sleep.

Side Effect 9: Insomnia

When melatonin is used occasionally and at the apt time, melatonin can work as wonder in encouraging better quality sleep. However, with prolonged use, melatonin can also amplify insomnia. If you take less dose, it would not produce the desired results whereas more dose can cause side effects, including an interference in the sleep-wake cycle. Therefore, the trick is to take just optimum amount of the supplement that will produce the required effects without compromising on the quality of sleep and the rhythm of sleep-wake cycle.
When there is too much melatonin in the system, the receptors get overwhelmed, thereby altering the way in which body reacts to the hormone, irrespective of its endogenous or exogenous nature producing Insomnia.

Side Effect 10: High Blood Pressure

Melatonin on its own doesn’t affect the blood pressure of the body by itself. Drugs affecting the blood pressure upon interacting with melatonin can cause high blood pressure. Melatonin can raise blood pressure in people who are taking certain medications to control blood pressure.

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