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Question
Posted by: Charles | 2011-06-15

Will your body stop producing melatonin if you take melatonin tablets?

I work till late at night at sometimes have difficulty sleeping.
I often take melatonin tablets.
I read on the internet that there is a possibility that the body stops producing melatonin if you take melatonin tablets.
Is this true?
Thanks so much
Charles

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Our expert says:
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The real answer is we don't know, but it certainly is at least a theoretical possibility.

The problem with melatonin is that it has been marketed as a food additive, rather than as medication (which it clearly is). In this way, the regulations pertaining to the research needed have been avoided. In some countries, for example the UK, the licence to sell it was withdrawn, pending further quality research.

For example, we don't yet know the correct dosage for any particular condition, we are not sure about what time of day one should take it, and we have no real clue about the potential side-effects, especially if taken over a long period.

It is a hormone produced by the body, with certain important physiological functions. It stands to reason, considering the way every other similar system in the body works, that taking additional melatonin could well suppress the body's own production, with what consequences we have no idea.

Ultimately we will be measuring the melatonin levels in people, and will simply replace it in people who have a deficiency. This is coming, but is not yet commercially available.

However, in young people (under age 65) who get enough sunlight exposure, there is no earthly reason why one should give additional melatonin.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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