Melatonin for Anxiety
Disclaimer: This content has been produced purely for informational and educational purposes only and is never intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical guidelines including diagnosis, advice, and treatment.
Melatonin is a hormone responsible for relieving sleep problems which can aggravate anxiety. It assists in controlling circadian rhythms which influence how the sleep and awake cycle works. The pineal glands in the brain are present which can produce melatonin.
Melatonin supplements have been used as an over-the-counter medication for sleep and anxiety. In addition to improving sleep issues, melatonin is also known to have the ability to improve anxiety symptoms.
This article focuses on melatonin's effects on anxiety and the potential side effects associated with its overconsumption.
What is Melatonin?
A hormone naturally produced in the pineal glands and its synthesis takes place from an amino acid called Tryptophan. Melatonin is mostly synthesized and secreted at night while it is dark outside. In people, the secretion reaches its peak between 2 and 4 in the morning, and then it continues to decrease steadily.
Melatonin encourages sleep by regulating the body’s sleep-wake cycle. Recent studies revealed that this hormone also plays a great role in relieving age-related cardiovascular and neurological diseases.
According to an estimate, about 20% of people experience anxiety and depression every year and it is a prevalent mental illness. It also affects children aged between 13 and 18 years.
Is Melatonin Effective for Anxiety?
Studies showed that melatonin can be used as a substitute for various sleep medications. It assists in regulating the sleep cycle and is extensively used in the treatment of various anxiety disorders.
Melatonin assists in controlling pain in addition to its other features. This may imply that it can be used to treat migraines, headaches, and even fibromyalgia.
It is purported that melatonin promotes restful sleep and lowers anxiety, while some people think it may influence anxiety symptoms to treat this mental illness.
What Does Research Say?
There is limited research on the assessment of melatonin's effects on anxiety however, some animal and human studies suggest the positive effects of this hormone on anxiety.
According to an animal study, melatonin raises the levels of Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in certain regions of the brain. Increased GABA levels in the brain help reduce anxiety symptoms. Some other medications like benzodiazepines also boost the levels of this neurotransmitter.
Moreover, human studies were conducted on melatonin effects in people undergoing some surgical procedures. Most people commonly feel anxious before any surgical procedure and they need some anxiolytic medications to make themselves calm and relaxed.
In a clinical study, melatonin effects were compared to a placebo in people before surgery. Studies revealed that melatonin worked more effectively than a placebo to reduce anxiety symptoms. Research also concluded that melatonin is also associated with reduced post-operative anxiety symptoms but some studies showed conflicting results.
Another 2018 study examined the effects of melatonin in patients who had just undergone a treatment to dilate cardiac blood arteries. In this study, melatonin outperformed oxazepam to enhance sleep and ease anxiety symptoms. In an earlier study, melatonin's effects on older persons with sleep and mental issues were also examined. In this study, melatonin improved sleep and reduced signs of anxiety and sadness better than a placebo sugar tablet.
In addition to improving sleep problems and anxiety disorders, melatonin is also associated with a multitude of other benefits.
Reduce the Symptoms of Depression
It is estimated that seasonal depression is a common mental problem affecting 10% of people around the globe. This mental health problem causes an alteration in circadian rhythm and melatonin seems to be effective in regulating the sleep-wake cycle. Studies revealed that consuming melatonin supplements helped reduce the symptoms of depression more effectively.
Regulate Levels of Human Growth Hormone
Human Growth Hormone is responsible for stimulating the growth and regeneration of cells. In a small study, individuals were instructed to consume 0.5-5 mg of melatonin and results revealed that there was a significant increase in HGH levels in the body.
May Relieve Gastrointestinal Problems
Melatonin supplements have the potential to relieve various gastrointestinal problems like GERD. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a condition in which stomach acid flows back to the esophagus causing some symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and heartburn.
It has been demonstrated that melatonin inhibits the release of stomach acids. Additionally, it decreases nitric oxide production, which loosens the lower esophageal sphincter and permits stomach acid to pass into the esophagus.
Promote Brain Health
Melatonin supplements help improve brain health due to its abilities to alleviate stress and anxiety. Moreover, this hormone regulates the circadian rhythm and manages sleep awake cycle. It helps relieve sleep problems and encourages peaceful sleep which is essential for healthy brain function.
How to Use Melatonin for Anxiety?
Melatonin supplements are found in various forms that can be used as an oral supplement in form of tablets and as a pill to use sublingually.
There is no standard dosage of melatonin for anxiety symptoms however, various clinical studies used the dosage of 3-10 mg before bed. However, it is not shown that higher doses work more effectively to reduce anxiety symptoms.
It is suggested to note the quality of supplements before purchasing these supplements. They should be verified by some reputed organization and should be free of any contaminants.
Possible Risk or Side Effects
Melatonin supplements are usually considered safe and do not cause any troublesome side effects in most people. However, in some people, they may cause some mild side effects including headache, nausea, dizziness, stomach upset, and rash. They may also cause some other symptoms like irritability, dry mouth, night sweats, agitation, and irritated or dry skin.
In rare cases, melatonin may cause some serious side effects like watery eyes, confusion, vertigo, confusion, faintness, and bruising.
Though melatonin causes sleepiness but does not impair thinking and coordination like other anxiolytic medications.
Melatonin supplements may interact with some medications like blood thinners, anxiolytic medications, and antidepressants. It is recommended to consult your health care professionals before taking these supplements if you are using any of these medications.
Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by the pineal glands found in the brain. It regulates sleep awake cycle and helps relieve sleep problems. Melatonin has the ability to increase the level of GABA in the brain which helps relieve stress and anxiety symptoms. The addition of melatonin supplements to your diet is an ideal choice for those looking for anxiety relief medications.
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