Melatonin is a hormone secreted by Pineal glands in the brain and it helps regulates other hormones and circadian rhythm disorder. Melatonin supplements are available in the markets in the form of tablets/capsules and should be taken only after consulting your doctor.
Melatonin though naturally produced by human body can also be found in the form of health supplements or dietary supplement. Melatonin has been used as a drug to restore your sleep cycle disturbed by sleep cycle disorder (insomnia) or time changes (jet lag). Melatonin is also useful to make one sleep faster and reduces the number of times a person is awoken during sleep. Apart from its usefulness in sleep disorder, Melatonin is studied to be used for Cancer, immune disorder, cardiovascular diseases, anti-aging, sexual disorders and seasonal affective disorder. Melatonin has also been researched for its positive effect in treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, mood disorders, headaches, obesity, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and gallbladder stone. Initial research shows that Melatonin has been found to effective in modulating the effect the abusive drugs like Cocaine.
Melatonin taken as a health supplement does not carry any likely side effects when taken by mouth or applied to the skin over a short term. Some unwanted side effects in some people with high dosages (usually 3 mg/day or more) have been noticed like headaches, nausea, dizziness, irritability, hormone fluctuations, stomach cramps and vivid dreams. Melatonin may make you drowsy or less alert during the day hence when taking the medicine you should avoid driving or operating machines etc. In case of any side effects, one should immediately consult the doctor.
However, pregnant and breast feeding women should not take melatonin dosages. Small children should not be given external dosages of Melatonin since it might interfere with the hormonal growth. Patients suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes, cardio-vascular disorder should avoid Melatonin supplements. In any case, consult our doctor before starting on Melatonin diet and ask the doctor to prescribe the right dosages. It is also better to get it prescribed since in most countries Melatonin is available only against a valid prescription.
Melatonin tablets often contain three to ten times the amount needed to produce natural blood melatonin levels for a more rapid sleep onset. Studies suggest that smaller doses (for example 0.3 mg as opposed to 3 mg) are just as effective. Large doses of melatonin are often counterproductive.