Home » Melatonin And Its Serious Long-Term Implications On Humans

Melatonin And Its Serious Long-Term Implications On Humans

by Coffee Table Science

Melatonin also known as a sleep-inducing hormone has been used to treat insomnia, and jet lag, and to cope with sleep shifts. It is sometimes also described as a “Dracula Hormone” due to its proficient role in the dark. Exposure to light at night can disrupt the effective role of Melatonin. It helps in the circadian rhythm (24-hour internal clock) and sleep cycle of humans. 

With several benefits in the treatment of anxiety, jet lag, insomnia, pre and post-surgery anxiety, and several health conditions in children, the effective response and their long-term implications are still a mystery.

Melatonin supplements in jet lag

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Increased Use Of Melatonin

People consider Melatonin as a sleep inducer and thus, have gradually increased the use of external supplements to cure their irregular sleep and anxiety. In the US, millions of people uptake Melatonin supplements from the medicine counter to cure their problems. 

A 2022-based study on the use of Melatonin has indicated that supplements in the form of liquid, capsules, tablets, and gummies have wildly increased to 150 percent in the years from 2016 to 2020. Also, the number of reports to the U.S. poison control centers, for people between the age of 19 and under, has exponentially increased from Eight Thousand in 2012 to Fifty-two Thousand in the year 2021. Hospitalization of people under 19 has also shown a  jump over these ten years. The largest hospitalizations involved children of age 5 or under. Thousands of people give their children gummies to promote good sleep at night. 

In the UK, Melatonin is being prescribed to patients aged 55 or above, for the treatment of chronic insomnia and jet lags. In the US, the use of external Melatonin supplements and doses has increased by fivefold from years 1999 to 2018. Due to its anti-depressant property, people often consider Melatonin as a boon for their health, but in reality, its long-term implications are still on the darker side of the research. 

Implications Of Extensive Use Of Melatonin

Short-term usage of Melatonin supplements is considerably safer than the high-dosed long-term implications. But still, here are some points to keep in mind before opting for it.

Melatonin supplements for jet lag and irregular sleep

Image Credit: Wikimedia

Melatonin dietary supplements are generally obtained from microorganisms or are manufactured synthetically. This can cause severe allergic reactions and irritation in the user.  The 2015 guidelines provided by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine strictly prohibited Melatonin supplements for older people suffering from Dementia. It can stay active for a longer time and can cause daytime drowsiness and nausea.

In several countries, Melatonin is considered a drug and issued only after the prescription of a medical practitioner. Around a quarter of a century ago, researchers cautioned against the “Melatonin Madness”

It is recommended to first ask the medical practitioner before giving Melatonin to kids. Short-term implications of Melatonin on children are mild and include Drowsiness, Headache, Agitation, Irritation, Increased bedwetting, and dizziness. 

Melatonin is a hormone that is released in our body, external supplements can cause hormonal imbalance and result in abnormal menstrual cycles, and overproduction of prolactin. Some other impacts of Melatonin are still unclear and yet to discover.

The research was published in the journal Cell

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