Melatonin Supplement Review

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Melatonin
  Evaluated for:
Effectiveness Rating Effectiveness Rating
Jet Lag
+2 (Moderate Evidence)
Adjunctive cancer therapy
+2 (Moderate Evidence)
Insomnia
0 (Effectiveness Unclear)

PRO

  • Melatonin decreases jet lag when taken starting several days before eastward travel, especially when crossing 5 or more time zones.
  • Melatonin improves sleep onset and duration in children with ADHD and in the elderly.
  • The side effects are usually mild. There aren't many risks in trying melatonin to see if it helps you.
  • Melatonin is relatively inexpensive.
  • Melatonin appears to have a role in palliative care. It may decrease the toxic side effects of chemotherapy and increase survival time for patients with incurable metastatic cancers.

CON

  • Melatonin increases drowsiness if taken too early in the day, so don’t take melatonin early unless you want to fall asleep before dinnertime.
  • Some people may experience fatigue or a “hangover” effect the following morning.
  • There is a theoretical concern that its antioxidant properties may make cancer treatments less effective. Future studies are needed.
  • Melatonin hasn’t consistently shown itself to be of help to everyone who has trouble falling or staying asleep. Especially for insomnia associated with shift work, the overall effect is somewhat weak and results are mixed.

* *ADVISORY* *
Melatonin can interact with medications and supplements. If you are already taking another sleep medication, please discuss its use with your doctor before you add melatonin or any other additional sleep medicines.

DOSAGE:For the treatment of insomnia or jet lag, doses range from 0.5 to 5 mg. To prevent jet lag, begin melatonin several days prior to eastward travel (at the anticipated bedtime in the new time zone). For many sleep conditions, small doses seem to be as effective as larger doses. Doctors treating metastatic cancers usually use doses around 20 mg. We suggest dosing as directed on the label.

CONCLUSION:We conclude that melatonin is a safe and effective product for the treatment of jet lag, metastatic cancers and some sleep-related problems. While it shows promise for the treatment of insomnia, there is not enough evidence for us to support its use for this indication. Another way to increase your melatonin levels is by meditating, avoiding computer and TV screens in the evening, and eating certain fruits and vegetables (notably cherries, bananas, corn, wine and red grapes). If you elect to try it, remember to include it in your list of medications when you visit your doctor and other health care providers.

REFERENCES
“Melatonin.” ConsumerLab.com. ConsumerLab.com LLC, 2013. 27 November 2011
“Melatonin.” Natural Standard –The Authority on Integrative Medicine. Natural Standard, 2013.
“Melatonin.” Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Therapeutic Research Faculty, 2013. 8 November 2013.
Lissoni, P. et al. Neuroimmunomodulation in medical Oncology: Application of Psychoneuroimmunology with Subcutaneous Low-dose IL-2 and the Pineal Hormone Melatonin in Patients with Untreatable Metastatic Solid Tumors. Anticancer Research (2008) 28: 1377-1382
Lissoni, P. et al Decreased Toxicity and Increased Efficacy of Cancer Chemotherapy Using the Pineal Hormone Melatonin in Metastatic Solid Tumour Patients with Poor Clinical Status. European Journal of Cancer (1999) 35(12):1688-1692
Hill, S. et al. Molecular Mechanisms of Melatonin Anticancer Effects. Integrative Cancer Therapies (2009) 8(4): 337-346
Vijayalaxmi, B. et al. Melatonin: From Basic Research to Cancer Treatment Clinics. Journal of Clinical Oncology (2002) 20(10): 2575-2601
Lissoni, P. et al. Biochemotherapy with standard chemotherapies plus the pineal hormone melatonin in the treatment of advanced solid neoplasms. Pathologie Biologie (2007) 55, 201-204
Lissoni, P. et al. Is there a role for melatonin in supportive care?. Support Care Cancer (2002) 10:110-116
Lissoni, P. et al. Five years survival in metastatic non-small cell lung cancer patients treated with chemotherapy alone or chemotherapy and melatonin: a randomized trial. Journal of Pineal Research (2003) 35:12-15
Grant, S. et al. Melatonin and breast cancer: cellular mechanisms, clinical studies and future perspectives. Expert Reviews in Molecular Medicine (2009) 11(e5): 1-5
Martinez-Campa, C. et al. Melatonin inhibits both Era activation and breast cancer cell proliferation induced by a metalloestrogen, cadmium. Journal of Pineal Research (2006) 40:291-296
Schernhammer, E. et al. Urinary 6-Sulfatoxymelatonin Levels and Risk of Breast Cancer in Postmenopausal Women. J Natl Cancer Inst (2008) 100:898-905
Schernhammer, E., Hankinson, S. et al. Urinary Melatonin Levels and Postmenopausal Breast Cancer Risk in the Nurses’ Health Study Cohort. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev (2009) 18(1):74-9


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