Melatonin

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Question

What is melatonin?

Answer

Melatonin is a hormone that occurs naturally in the body and due to this reason, generally has no or mild side effects. Melatonin is involved in the body's biological clock, which affects your sleep cycle and your body's production of other hormones. Studies show that dietary supplements containing melatonin may help with jet lag and sleep disorders. There are also claims that melatonin supplements slow the aging process, protect the body from toxins, boost the immune system, and prevent cancer; but there is little scientific basis for these claims.

Potential for melatonin side effects

In general, melatonin is well tolerated and has very few side effects. People taking melatonin supplements have reported side effects that include headache, daytime sleepiness, drowsiness, dizziness, stomach cramps, and irritability. If you suffer from depression, taking melatonin supplements may make your depressive symptoms worse. Melatonin can also worsen blood pressure control. Because melatonin's safety hasn't been adequately studied, you should avoid it if you're pregnant or if you have diabetes, kidney or liver disease, epilepsy, or any autoimmune diseases.

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