As a relatively new form of natural treatment for insomnia, a growing number of people are relying on a daily melatonin dose. It is not just for insomnia, however. Earlier uses of melatonin were centered on pets suffering from anxiety, especially around thunder storms and other loud noises. In humans, it has shown useful in treating the symptoms of anxiety and panic disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and as prevention for epileptic seizures. Additionally, deficient melatonin production has been found in breast and prostate cancer patients. It is believed that melatonin plays a critical role in neutralizing sex hormones during sleep, which prevents these cancers.
What is the Optimum Melatonin Dosage?
The human body makes between 5-25 micrograms of melatonin, which is moderated by the dark and light cycles of the Circadian Rhythm. Production increases with darkness, and light causes production to fall. Even a bathroom light in the middle of the night has been shown to cause a drop in melatonin production. Additionally, the primary ingredient used by the pineal gland to manufacture melatonin is the amino acid tryptophan. Considered to be an essential amino, tryptophan must be ingested for melatonin production to be optimized. Digestive irregularity, poor diet, and after-hours exposure to artificial light are all problems that inhibit melatonin production.
Even under the worst conditions, the pineal gland does its best to make some melatonin. For this reason, it is impossible to prescribe the optimum melatonin dosage for each individual. The best suggestion is to start with a low dosage, generally .3 milligrams, and step up this gradually each day until symptoms are corrected. Melatonin is best taken at least one hour before bedtime. If side effects appear, maintain the same dosage to see if they pass or lower the dosage. Most people will end up taking around 3 to 5 milligrams each evening to achieve the proper melatonin dose, begin with a liquid supplement, and switch to a capsule or pill form only after stabilizing a dose that relieves symptoms.
What are the Effects of a Melatonin Overdose?
Melatonin side effects are most commonly referred to as an overdose. Basically, it means that the body’s production and intake of supplement have together provided too much melatonin for the excretory systems to handle safely. There is as of now no long lasting symptoms of a melatonin overdose. Short term symptoms may include:
- daytime grogginess
- abdominal cramps
- mood swings
- feelings of depression or confusion
- declining libido and loss of male potency
- blood thinner
Melatonin overdose is rarely life-threatening, and following the dosage protocol will help prevent the vast majority of side effects. However be sure to consult with your physician before taking melatonin as it can interact with medications you may be taking, such as blood thinning medication. All in all you will be the one to determine the right dosage of melatonin for you.