Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in the human body. Its chemical name is N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine. Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland, and its main function is to establish and regulate the circadian rhythm of the body. In other words, one can even say that melatonin does the re-adjustment of the biological clock of the body. The amount of melatonin in the body generally remains low during the bright hours and tends to increase during the dark. You wake up in the morning as the level of melatonin in the body goes on decreasing as sunrise approaches.
The number of insomniacs in the United States is increasing day by day, and melatonin supplement is found to be effective in the treatment of sleeplessness. It has therefore become popular. But just because a thing has become popular doesn't mean that it is fit to be used by everyone! Melatonin has been used by people when their bodies were seen to be producing sufficient quantities of it. Overriding the natural processes and calculations of the body can cause side effects in such people. Some of the side effects of melatonin supplements have been discussed below.
Various Side Effects of Melatonin
Although rare, melatonin side effects do exist. These range from sleeping disorders to malfunctioning of body systems. Have a look.
- Nausea: One of the commonly reported side effects of melatonin usage is nausea.
- Sleepwalking: Though melatonin is believed to be effective in curing sleeplessness, hyper production of melatonin causes sleepwalking. This is a type of sleeping disorder. However, sleepwalking ends on stopping the usage of melatonin.
- Dizziness: Dizziness is another side effect observed in the users of melatonin. This causes a disability in spatial perception and stability in a person.
- Abdominal Cramps: Abdominal cramps or stomach discomfort is found to be one more side effect of melatonin.
- Sexual Disorders: Apart from the above, side effects of melatonin also include adverse effects on a person's sexual health. This includes disorders such as a reduction in the sex drive of both the genders and decrease in the sperm count.
- Daytime Sleepiness: A result of excess melatonin shows up during the day, in the form of daytime drowsiness.
- Headaches: One also experiences irritating headaches which never seem to go away, especially during the day.
- Irritability: A mostly unnoticed side effect of melatonin is the tendency to get irritated at the smallest thing.
- Depression: Even though there is no apparent reason to feel down, a feeling of depression sets in, which cannot be explained.
- Confusion: Another side effect is the sense of confusion, even while doing the simplest things of day-to-day life.
- Vivid Dreams/Nightmares: Though not very common, but a person can end up having some vivid dreams or even nightmares.
- Mood Swings: Excess melatonin can result in an individual suffering from unexplainable mood changes.
- Lower Body Temperature: A lower temperature of the body may also be another side effect that is experienced.
- Breast Enlargement: This side effect is observed only in men, and is a result of excess melatonin.
- Effect on Blood Vessels: There can also be some changes in the blood vessels, which affect the blood flow in the body.
Melatonin side effects are said to be more harmful to people suffering from high blood pressure and liver diseases. Children are also found to be affected by melatonin. Bed wetting, morning sleepiness, headaches, seizures and stomach ache are the side effects of melatonin observed in children.
Lately, melatonin has been spoken of as a medicine that has anti-aging properties, while some data points that it can boost the immune system, and also prevent cancer and other diseases. This information however needs to be confirmed by specialists, as one has to take into consideration the side effects of melatonin. The intake of melatonin supplements can be justified when your body is not able to produce it in sufficient quantities, but what is the point in taking it when you actually don't need it? This is nothing but spoiling your good health and inviting other health problems. If you really think you are facing some medical problem and you need some treatment for it, consult a doctor instead of taking supplements by yourself.