Overdosing on melatonin is quite improbable. Melatonin supplements are generally well-tolerated, however they may cause mild adverse effects in some persons.
Melatonin is a hormone that occurs naturally in the body, though some people choose to supplement with it.
Since 1997, only two cases of melatonin poisoning have been reported (Reliable Source). Excessive ingestion might result in drowsiness, confusion, and a drop in blood pressure.
Users of melatonin should be aware of the potential for side effects and should start with the smallest effective dose.
Melatonin’s benefits and potential drawbacks are discussed below.
What is melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the body naturally that plays a role in controlling when we go to sleep and when we wake up. Melatonin is made by the pineal gland in the brain.
The levels of melatonin fluctuate up and down during the day. The sleep-inducing hormone melatonin tends to peak in the evening and stay elevated throughout the night.
The levels naturally return to normal in the morning as a result of sunlight entering the eye.
Melatonin is found in trace amounts in several fruits and vegetables and is sometimes sold as a dietary supplement.
Supplemental melatonin increases melatonin, which signals the body to sleep, but only in the short term. Jet lag is where it really shines, but it could also help with other sleep issues.
How Much Melatonin Is Safe to Take?
In the U.S., you can buy melatonin over-the-counter in any quantity. However, the best way to take this supplement has not been formally agreed upon as of yet. Dosages as low as 0.1 milligram and as high as 10 milligrams are commonly used in research, with initial doses of 1 to 5 milligrams being generally accepted as safe and effective.
Finding the right dose of melatonin for an individual can be difficult for a number of reasons. Age, gender, specific sleep disorders, other health concerns, and timing of administration are just some of the unknowns that can affect how each individual responds to this supplement.
To add insult to injury, not all melatonin supplements are the same. The effectiveness of melatonin can be drastically changed by how it is prepared. Taking 1–10 milligrams of melatonin can increase melatonin blood levels by 3-to-60-fold, depending on the formulation.
Users of melatonin should also be aware of the amounts recommended on supplement labels, since these have been proved to be shockingly wrong. Most melatonin pills, as confirmed by a random sample of 31 brands, do not contain the dose that is stated, with the real quantity varying from less than 80% to roughly 500% as much. Even more interesting, serotonin was present in more than a fifth of the supplements.
Melatonin is widely regarded as safe and is generally well tolerated in healthy adults, despite a dearth of data and inconsistency around dose regimens. Mild headache, dizziness, nausea, and tiredness are some of the possible adverse effects.
Can You Overdose on Melatonin?
There is now no clinical proof that using melatonin for short periods of time causes any kind of long-term difficulties in persons who are otherwise healthy. However, before using melatonin supplements, it’s best to talk to your doctor about the right dosage for you. It is usually advised to begin treatment with the minimum effective dose. This may reduce the likelihood of negative reactions.
It’s also worth noting that there’s a dearth of high-quality research on melatonin dosages higher than 3 mg. Small studies and case reports predominate in the present corpus of evidence. Twelve adult males participated in a trial where melatonin (10mg, 100mg, or placebo) was given intravenously. In addition, no adverse events or variations in sedation levels were recorded across groups. Five participants in a second research were given 1,000 milligrams of oral melatonin once daily for around four weeks. No harmful consequences were detected despite the fact that alterations in pituitary hormones were noted.
What Are the Symptoms of a Melatonin Overdose?
Even though a supplement has a generally good safety record, it is still possible for it to have unwanted or troublesome side effects in certain people. Higher doses of melatonin have been linked to certain worrying side effects.
Excessive levels of melatonin could cause the following symptoms:
- Hypotension (low blood pressure).
- Hypertension (high blood pressure).
- Alopecia areata aggravation (an autoimmune disorder causing hair loss).
Others may be at greater danger from the effects of melatonin on the cardiovascular, dermatological, and central neurological systems. There is some evidence that taking a melatonin supplement can bring on depression, especially in those who are already vulnerable to or experiencing it. However, research on the topic are contradictory, with some showing that melatonin can be effective in treating depression while others finding no such link.
It is possible for benzodiazepines and blood thinners to interact, therefore anyone taking both medications should exercise caution. Melatonin has been linked to an increase in seizures, therefore it’s best to avoid it if you have epilepsy. Before using melatonin, people who are already taking drugs or supplements should talk to their doctor about any possible interactions.
Elderly persons may respond more strongly to melatonin supplementation since their natural melatonin levels are lower. As a result, the elderly should consult a physician before beginning melatonin treatment and should begin with the lowest effective dose.
What Do I Do if I’m Experiencing Symptoms of a Melatonin Overdose?
While it may help you fall asleep, melatonin won’t keep you asleep for long because it’s swiftly eliminated from your system. Negative reactions to melatonin usually subside on their own as the body adjusts to the hormone. However, it is always wise to consult an expert when in doubt. Consult your doctor or local poison control center if you’re unsure whether or not your current symptoms warrant medical attention.
When to Worry and Seek Medical Assistance?
Even if you have some mild overdose symptoms such a headache, nausea, or sleepiness, you usually don’t need to consult a doctor. If you stop taking the supplement altogether or lessen the amount you take each night, you may find that your symptoms subside.
An overdose or serious side effect, such as dangerously low blood pressure, requires immediate medical attention. If you think the supplement is interacting with your medication, you should see a doctor. Your blood sugar may still be high despite regular use of your diabetes medication.
The primary goal of medical care is to restore health stability. If your doctor determines that your blood pressure has dropped due to excessive melatonin, he or she will strive to restore a normal reading.
Talk to your doctor about the safety of melatonin to be sure it won’t cause any unwanted side effects. If that’s the case, consult your doctor about appropriate dosing to forestall any potential issues.
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Taking Melatonin?
There is scant evidence supporting the use of melatonin for more than a few months. As a result, we know relatively little about its long-term impacts. The definition of “long-term use” of melatonin is a point of contention.
Extended use of melatonin has raised concerns due to its possible impact on reproductive hormones. While the precise mechanism of action of melatonin is yet unknown, recent research suggests that it may block reproductive hormones.
Is Melatonin Safe for Children?
Concerns have been raised over whether or not melatonin is safe for youngsters, and further study is needed on the topic.
As a result, melatonin is increasingly being used by parents to aid their children, of whom about 25% have trouble sleeping. Use of melatonin among children increased sevenfold between 2007 and 2012, making it the second most popular natural supplement among children.
A lot of parents use melatonin, but there are some cautions about doing so. In particular, it suggests that children may be more susceptible to the supplement’s potential effects on reproductive hormones. Puberty delays, menstrual irregularities, and excess prolactin secretion have all been linked to melatonin. However, it should be noted that there is a lack of consensus among specialists and that the research on this topic has produced contradictory results.
Melatonin can lower blood pressure and serum glucose, which is something parents should know. Before introducing melatonin, a doctor should be consulted by parents of children on other medications or who have disorders affecting these systems.
Children should only take melatonin when prescribed by a doctor. Behavioural modifications, including better sleep hygiene and cognitive therapy, are usually effective treatments for pediatric sleep disorders. Melatonin shouldn’t be administered before other treatments have been exhausted.
When Should I Talk With a Doctor?
Although melatonin has a relatively low risk profile, there are still some drawbacks to consider. The fact that so much is yet unknown about this supplement poses the greatest threat. Though you probably won’t do any lasting harm by using melatonin, it’s still smart to tread carefully. If you’re having trouble sleeping, seeing a doctor for an appropriate diagnosis is the first step in determining if melatonin will help.