1

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Supplemental melatonin and natural production

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 07, 2013 at 12:44 AM

Should we worry about taking melatonin supplements? in Lights Out the author doesn't recommend it because it supposedly shrinks the pineal gland and reduces our natural production. Is there any evidence for this?

1ac8e976f84cb2566ecfbbcce1817351

(211)

on April 09, 2011
at 03:48 AM

Google NourishingHope, for helping with autism. I actually just heard a podcast with the author. Great info.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on February 23, 2011
at 09:03 AM

Thanks Bill, I've got a lumie full spectrum light box, but not a specifically blue box. I might make the switch once my current one breaks, since blue light seems to be where it's at.

Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2539)

on February 23, 2011
at 01:09 AM

David, have you tried Philips Golite Blue? Apparently it is very good at correcting DSPS

5be844214037850c304c1e6a05dc5277

on October 21, 2010
at 01:29 AM

cheers for the article

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on October 19, 2010
at 05:41 PM

Not at all, always better to discuss it.

Cf1189fc2e0acdd49ce566e43238ffb6

on October 19, 2010
at 05:19 PM

thanks Stephen! I wonder if melatonin level decrease as much with age in HGs

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on October 19, 2010
at 05:10 PM

David, I have always been a late sleeper and have had an inordinately difficult time pushing my schedule earlier, etc. I am just now discovering "DSPS." Do you mind if I put up a very skeptical question about it here on the site?

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on October 19, 2010
at 05:02 PM

http://www.benbest.com/nutrceut/melatonin.html

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10 Answers

best answer

3
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 19, 2010
at 04:39 PM

Apparently, in many people, the pineal gland shrinks and produces less as we age. I don't see any long term studies on supplemental melatonin though. I would not be surprised if regular long term use caused the body to produce less melatonin on its own. Such compensation is a common activity of the body. Eat more cholesterol and the body produces less of its own to compensate, thus keeping body levels stable. I would be surprised if the same did not occur with melatonin. But I see no evidence that consuming melatonin actually shrinks the pineal. In fact, the pineal secretes other things besides just melatonin and much of what it does is not well understood. But melatonin is only one of its jobs.

1
9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

on October 21, 2010
at 12:54 AM

Melatonin also has powerful antioxidant effects and is used in the gut for some functions.

Paul and Shou-Ching from the perfect health diet have a positive attitude towards the use of supplemental melatonin and it does seem to make sense.

Here is a post where they talk about it: http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?cat=71

5be844214037850c304c1e6a05dc5277

on October 21, 2010
at 01:29 AM

cheers for the article

1
Aa5e411ac90ac543cdb7d06a812a908d

on October 20, 2010
at 06:29 PM

I took melatonin for about six months straight, when I had trouble sleeping because of a mental illness. It worked fine, but getting off of it was hard! It definitely felt like my body had forgotten how to produce its own melatonin. Fortunately this was only temporary, and now after a couple of months I sleep just fine without melatonin or any other sleeping aids. I wouldn't recommend supplementing melatonin if you can sleep without it.

1
9d741bcbe702044635f2ce3078043054

(1435)

on October 20, 2010
at 04:45 PM

Many hormones have a feedback loop wherin the hormone level is sensed in the bloodstream and then the gland that produces it is told through a chemical signal whether to produce more or less. So supplementing a hormone can cause your own natural production to decrease. In the case of testosterone, the reduction can become permanent, so when artificial testosterone is taken, it's important to also take another drug that stimulates the testicles to continue their own production so they don't shut down.

I'm assuming (but don't know), that the same could be true for other glands. So proceed with caution.

1
E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on October 19, 2010
at 04:48 PM

I have to take prescribed melatonin for a sleep disorder (delayed sleep phase syndrome), otherwise I wouldn't be able to function in normal society. As a rule though it would certainly be advisable not to self-medicate with hormones and to just assume that the body (in most cases) knows what it's doing. All the studies on the implications of supplemental melatonin seem to be equivocal so far, but as many mild goods as mild harms.

Regarding the shrinking of the pineal gland and/or reduction in natural production of melatonin, this would obviously be a problem if you were taking varying, on-off doses of melatonin, such that you down-regulated production and then intermittently didn't take supplements, but this problem at least would be vitiated if you took a regular, small dose indefinitely.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on October 19, 2010
at 05:41 PM

Not at all, always better to discuss it.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on October 19, 2010
at 05:10 PM

David, I have always been a late sleeper and have had an inordinately difficult time pushing my schedule earlier, etc. I am just now discovering "DSPS." Do you mind if I put up a very skeptical question about it here on the site?

Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2539)

on February 23, 2011
at 01:09 AM

David, have you tried Philips Golite Blue? Apparently it is very good at correcting DSPS

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on February 23, 2011
at 09:03 AM

Thanks Bill, I've got a lumie full spectrum light box, but not a specifically blue box. I might make the switch once my current one breaks, since blue light seems to be where it's at.

0
B4b7e96adb72ccb165652182c43831d2

on June 10, 2013
at 03:43 PM

BW, are you a Sleep Medicine MD or qualified Sleep Medicine Therapist RN PhD? I've been under the care of both for several years now. I have Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea, and a severe form of a Sleep Disorder . I have also been under the care of a Board Certified Pain Management Physician for many years after I underwent very major surgery for removal of a spinal cord tumor (malignant) which caused major nerve damage, and left me in chronic pain, as well as other issues. This ended a great career, that I loved, had invested 30 years in as an OR RN Clinical Specialist, and Team Leader in Neurosurgery, and Orthopedic Surgery. I was getting ready to persue my Masters degree in Nursing, possibly followed by a PhD. I was leading a vital, and dynamic life which provided well for my family, and I. At age 49 that was literally gone overnight.

I now take two powerful narcotics just to be able to not be in complete misery, I still have a certain level of pain that I have to live with. I take another med for neuropathic pain, and one for muscle spasm. I take a maintenance med to help prevent, or at least lessen the occurrence of, chronic migraine, as prescribed by a neurologist. And, I take an SSRI antidepressant, and a benzodiazapenes antianxiety medications for depression, and severe anxiety, as prescribed by my long time Internal Medicine Primary Care Physician. The gist is that I am on so many meds that depress respiration that the Sleep Specialist does not want to take a risk of a "stacking effect" by giving me a prescription sleep aid. Melatonin does not have this effect. And, melatonin was recommended to help me get to sleep, stay asleep, and to get my sleep patterns regulated. This was along with Sleep Hygiene practices that were recommended, and taught to me by the Sleep Therapist. I started with the sleep hygiene first, and followed this rigorously. Once I got my bedtime, and waking time regulated, I was still having issues with sleep quality as well as having trouble falling asleep, and waking several times a night. So, I started with a low dose of melatonin, and increased the dosage slowly until I found my effective dose. My sleep disorder became well under control. I was able to stop taking melatonin on a regular basis.

Late last year I was hospitalized with a neurological event of still as yet unknown cause. This totally threw my sleep off schedule, and have been having issues with it since then, and recently we suffered the sudden loss of our 30 year old daughter which has even deepened my sleep issues. I only get from one to four hours of poor quality sleep per night. I'm working hard to resolve this with the tools I was given.

0
Dc8ec73989c7b37c006f2031dd648a61

on February 06, 2012
at 11:42 AM

i have had amazing results being able to "get to sleep" with some blue-blocker glasses... I'm from the UK but they seem much easier to obtain in the US (majorly cheaper)

http://www.amazon.com/Uvex-S1933X-Eyewear-SCT-Orange-Anti-Fog/dp/B000USRG90

these are the ones i have (from langton uk)... I wear them 1-3 hours before the time i want to sleep (usually 40mins-1.5 hours) and the improvement has been immense. I have a "zeo" sleep monitor and since using these blue-blocker glasses my "time to Z" time is usually between 3-10minutes, sometimes a little longer... considering it could take me 30minutes+ to get sleep every time before..

sorry, that was a little off-topic.. I don't have anything to add on melatonin supplementation

0
61ff86be603d2508d10eedb1997b3532

(400)

on February 22, 2011
at 08:27 PM

Here's a link to an interesting article, saying that supplementing melatonin isn't all that it's cracked up to be anyway.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sleep-newzzz/201102/melatonin-not-magic-bullet-sleep

0
34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on October 19, 2010
at 04:38 PM

I hadn't heard that before - my son has high functioning autism and has always had trouble getting to sleep. His pediatrician recommended Melatonin back when he was 5 years old. He still takes it at 14 but only on occasion, not every night.

1ac8e976f84cb2566ecfbbcce1817351

(211)

on April 09, 2011
at 03:48 AM

Google NourishingHope, for helping with autism. I actually just heard a podcast with the author. Great info.

-1
4c9c4d3b6de06c4ac282e7e40ec5992f

on February 06, 2012
at 10:24 AM

Melatonin will not help you get to sleep. It's role as a hormone is to regulate sleep. Anyone prescribing it to 'help you sleep' is misinformed at best, and a dangerous idiot at worst. I'd be wary of it unless you have a severe issue such as a hormonal disorder. BW

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