Daily OTC Pearl: Melatonin

Natural melatonin sends messages to the receptor agonist in the brain and other areas of the body to help control the sleep and wake cycles.

OTC/Lifestyle Pearl of the Day: Melatonin

Indication: Melatonin is the natural hormone the body secretes that helps to maintain the wake-sleep cycle (also called biological clock).

Insight:

  • Melatonin is also made synthetically and available without a prescription as an OTC dietary supplement in the United States.
  • The wake-sleep cycle is the process of sleep and wakefulness. In humans, the average is 8 hours of nighttime sleep and 16 hours of daytime activity.
  • Mechanism of action: Natural melatonin is a highly lipid soluble hormone produced in the pineal gland in the brain. It sends messages to the receptor agonist in the brain and other areas of the body to help control the sleep and wake cycles.
  • Effective starting doses of melatonin for jet lag range from 0.3 to 0.5 mg.
  • One milligram tablet can be cut in half to achieve a 0.5 mg dose of melatonin if smaller doses are not available for purchase.
  • Adverse effects may include bedwetting, headache, dizziness, nausea, and diarrhea.
  • Dosages available are at 0.125 mg, 0.3 mg, 0.5 mg, 2 mg controlled release, 3 mg, 5 mg, 10 to 50 mg.

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