Are Melatonin Supplements Safe?

Are Melatonin Supplements Safe?

[Music] if you’re crossing three more time zones and you plan on staying at your destination long enough to make it worthwhile you can adjust your body clock to the new time with behavioral methods or pharmacological methods the behavioral method is light exposure and light avoidance at specific times of the day based on which direction you’re going and how many time zones you cross you may want to take a snapshot of this table for future reference the pharmacological intervention is melatonin the so called darkness hormone it’s secreted by little gland in the center your head as soon as it gets dark and shuts off when the Sun comes up in the morning thereby helping to set your circadian rhythm now there’s been a lot of research done on treating jetlag but most of it has come from like lab rats instead of people but most of the handful of human trials that have been done have found taking melatonin close to the target bed time at the destination to try to sink your body to the new time can effectively decrease jetlag symptoms after long flights now unlike most or really all other drugs the timing of the dose is critical and determines the effect giving us a long time it can make your jetlag even worse for example if you were to take melatonin at bedtime when traveling west dose wise taking between 0.5 and 5 milligrams it seems to be similarly effective in terms of helping with jetlag symptoms but the higher dose does seem to have more of kind of a sleeping pill type effect which appears to plateau at about 5 milligrams but massive doses even just taking a 3 milligram dose produces levels in the bloodstream 50 times higher than normal nightly levels yeah works but we don’t know how safe that is after all melatonin in the early days used to be known as the anti gonad hormone with human equivalent doses of just a milligram or two reducing the size of sex organs and impairing fertility and laboratory animals now obviously rats aren’t people but making scissoring the pronounced effects of melatonin on reproductive physiology and other mammals to assume that it would not have some sexual effects and humans would almost seem naive in fact they speculate maybe melatonin one day play a role of some sort of contraceptive agent wouldn’t we know about these effects though Wow melatonin is available over-the-counter as a dietary supplement so there’s no you know post marketing surveillance like there is with prescription drugs and then there is the purity problem as supplements are so poorly regulated they can never really know what’s actually in them for these reasons melatonin supplements cannot be recommended as the purity issue just theoretical though you don’t know until you put it to the test and indeed due to the poor quality control of over-the-counter melatonin what they say is often not what you get melatonin is not only one of the most popular supplements among adults but children too which makes it even more egregious that actual melatonin content varied up to nearly 500 percent compared to what it actually said on the label based on an analysis of 31 different brands and most had just a fraction of what they said and the most variable sample was a chewable tablet which is what kids might take it said it had one point five milligrams but actually had nine which could result in like a hundred times higher than natural levels in short there was no guarantee of the strength or purity of over-the-counter melatonin believing these researchers suggest it should be regulated as a drug so that by law at least it would have what it says on the bottle okay but that’s strength what about purity four of six melatonin products from health food stores two-thirds contained unidentified impurities with no exclusive patent no pharmaceutical company wants to pay for the necessary toxicological studies I mean this stuff is just sold so dirt cheap they recommend buying it from some large reputable pharmacy chain and just hoping for the best but this study suggests it’s not worth the risk contaminants present in tryptophan supplements were reported to be responsible for a 1980s outbreak of a disease that affected more than a thousand people and resulted in dozens of deaths given the structural similarities of tryptophan and melatonin maybe when you’re trying to synthesize melatonin those same toxic contaminants could be created and indeed here’s the contaminant blamed on the tryptophan epidemic and here’s what they found in melatonin supplements adds a little too close for comfort suggesting melatonin supplements may just be another accent another epidemic waiting to happen [Music] you



  • Shari T

    Scary stuff– thanks for researching and posting!!

  • A Wolff

    Finally I can give a good reason why my dick has gotten so small I take about 20 to 40mg every night

  • nanomyou5

    Please run your IF then IF then IF then IF through bayesian probability analysis.

  • Van Allen

    I take melatonin maybe once or twice a week. It doesn't help me fall asleep much at all… that I can tell. But it DOES keep me from waking up multiple times a night. So I'm going to occasionally keep taking my 3mg tabs as there is nothing in this video that frightened me enough not to.

  • Van Allen

    4:56 Can someone with an actual chemistry background tell me if this is something that is actually alarming? From my basic chemistry knowledge these compounds seem quite different from each other.

  • Dr. King Schultz

    safe and useless

  • Ben Wilson

    A whole bunch of "I don't knows" does not add up to avoid

  • Emma T

    The tryptophan was genetically modified, that might be why people had a bad reaction.

  • Ron Gunz

    I occasionally take it. No issues here.

  • Matthew Tao

    You're harshing my mela.

  • Digger D

    I used it almost daily to get to sleep off night shifts. I'm also close to 60 so my body doesn't make it as much anymore. Seems to help me.

  • Maureen K

    Another convincing video.

  • Anthony Llabres

    Watch dr Russel Reiter as he is the worlds expert on Melatonin. He has been studying this master Antioxidant for decades.

  • Peggy Harris

    Melatonin gave me restless-leg syndrome. As soon as I stopped it went away.

  • White Kita

    hardly ever is it a good idea to mess with your endocrine system….Hormones are powerful, and should never be taken lightly.

  • Valentino Rusky

    Plz do a video on ecdysteroids , they are extracted from plants (vegan) and they do seem rather healthy but cant find enough info on their performance encancing properties and health bennefits (lowering blood sugar)

  • Jewels

    I have a script for some of this was just holding of cause it’s $40 ..I won’t bother know.

  • Andrew Driedger

    That's pretty scary actually. might avoid the melatonin from now on!

  • Jennifer Jones

    Wow. Now I know that I have been right all these years NOT taking any non-USP supplements. Thank you Dr. G!!!!!

  • Flying Angel

    I have some questions.
    I am a nurse and I am currently working with neurologists and psychiatrists. My boss often offer us seminars, so we can stay up to date.

    I have just finished a 2 days seminar about multiplesclerosis. We nurses are educated in accompanying patients with multiple sclerosis.

    My questions would be, can multiple sclerosis be cured with a plant based lifestyle? If so, why is nutrition not a topic in those special seminars about ms?

    The seminar where I went , they were more promoting certain medicine like Aubagio, rather than really inform people about it.

    They praised the product, the medicine Aubagio, told how safe and amazing it is, how sure it is and it’s the most safest and best drug on the market.

    They told that people with ms can not be healthy without the drugs. They never once mentioned nutrition, but what they did was to say that it’s ok for the patients to drink rather water or MILK with their medicine 😳 which surprised me a little bit🤔

  • Geordie Butterfield

    Dr Greger what information is available on pasta made from beans? ie Banza brand chic pea pasta, Tolerant brand Simply Legumes red lentil pasta. Are they as good as eating the beans alone?

  • Khabe Fox

    Fuck it’s messing with our pineal glands

  • theo

    who knew

  • D L

    "Consumer Reports said melatonin supplements helped users fall asleep “only 7 minutes faster and sleep 8 minutes longer on average,” according to a 2013 analysis. And the same report notes that “about 20 percent of users in our survey reported next-day grogginess,” and recommended that users exercise caution before driving the next day."

  • D L

    These are from the Huffington Post. "According to a 2005 meta-analysis of melatonin studies from MIT, also led by Wurtman, researchers found that the widely available high doses of melatonin are ineffective. “After a few days, it stops working,” wrote Wurtman, in a press release accompanying the study. When the brain’s melatonin receptors are exposed to too much of the hormone, they become unresponsive, he said."

  • D L

    To respond to Justin Morgan, here is a link with the 2017 Melatonin still "varying wildly" in content. 71% tested in 2017 didn't meet the label within 10% and 1/4 of the supplements had other substances.

    "Melatonin content was found to range from -83% to +478% of the labelled content.

    Additionally, lot-to-lot variable within a particular product varied by as much as 465%. This variability did not appear to be correlated with manufacturer or product type.

    Furthermore, serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine), a related indoleamine and controlled substance used in the treatment of several neurological disorders, was identified in eight of the supplements at levels of 1 to 75 μg. Melatonin content did not meet label within a 10% margin of the label claim in more than 71% of supplements and an additional 26% were found to contain serotonin."

  • D L

    Also from the Huffington Post "But, ironically, with prolonged use, it can actually amplify insomnia. Having too much melatonin in the system, the theory goes, overwhelms the receptors, changing how a patient reacts to the hormone — whether it’s endogenous or exogenous.

    According to Dr. Wurtman, melatonin supplements may work at first, but soon “you’ll stop responding because you desensitize the brain. And as a consequence, not only won’t you respond to the stuff you take…you won’t respond to the stuff you make, so it can actually promote insomnia after a period of time.”

  • D L

    Also from the Huffington Post "More importantly, melatonin is a hormone. With children, according to Grander, it can affect puberty, disrupt menstrual cycles and impede normal hormonal development.

    Excess melatonin can also induce hypothermia, as body temperatures reduce during melatonin release, and stimulate overproduction of the hormone prolactin, which can cause hormonal problems and even kidney and liver issues in men."

  • D L

    SEPTEMBER 2ND, 2018 AT 11:55 PM
    John Hopkins says: Do not use melatonin if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or have an autoimmune disorder, a seizure disorder or depression… Melatonin supplements may also raise blood-sugar levels and increase blood pressure levels…

  • D L

    PubMed: “Some of potential harmful effects of exogenous melatonin therapy include immunomodulatory effects which confers the risk of worsening certain rheumatologic condition such as rheumatoid arthritis [30]. It might also result in amenorrhea when used in large doses, which is likely due to suppression of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH)”

  • D L

    [14]. Melatonin may also be unsafe in people with orthostatic hypotension, bleeding disorders, diabetes, depression, autoimmune diseases, seizure disorders, and transplant recipients [15]. In elderly patients with dementia, melatonin treatment has been shown to worsen caregiver ratings of patient mood [16]. It may also interfere with the action of other drugs.

  • Negator

    This is not a good snapshot of anything more than basic (and old) research and basically says what can be applied generically to any supplement. Yes, purity and quality are issues. No surprise. What it most noticeably fails to mention is that there is no known risk for even stupidly massive doses of melatonin. There have been case studies of young children and elderly women taking hundreds of milligrams (usually due to some accident or ignorance), only for the worse side effects being some bizarre dreams and a very good rest.

    Beyond the purity issues (which are indeed very important), melatonin consumption does not have any clear downside. There is of course a bunch of usual cautioning and scientific hedging from medical sources about the "unknown health effects" of long-term consumption, especially since it seems melatonin regimens tend have diminishing returns after a few months to half a year, but I frankly see no theoretic concern about doing so (much less any evidentiary one!). Case studies and anecdotes likewise exist of people who have taken melatonin for years for health, recreation (i.e., dream enhancement), and as one of the safest ways to treat sleep problems, all to no discernible downside.

    Unless and until any such evidence (or even plausible theory) arises, I see no reason to worry about melatonin "supplementation". There's no addiction, no physiologic or hormonal damage, and no negative side effects beyond occasional nightmares, all while being a potent antioxidant and sleep enhancer. Yes, better regulation and higher quality ought to always be a issue to address, but that's nothing new. If that really is the biggest red flag here, then it seems to me to be a ringing endorsement of melatonin as one of the safest pharmacologic agents one can acquire.

  • D L

    Dr. Michael Breus, “The Sleep Doctor,” believes melatonin is a bad answer to insomnia.
    He was on Dr Oz and said:

    This is the really important thing you should understand about melatonin: Melatonin is a sleep and body clock regulator – NOT a sleep initiator. Melatonin works with your biological clock by telling your brain when it is time to sleep. Melatonin does not increase your sleep drive or need for sleep.

  • Nick Hahn

    I trust everything this guy says, but i feel like he was reaching here

  • Karen Shumate

    How about eating cherries? It’s a much more natural form of melatonin.

  • El principe Disla

    I been drinking melatonin for years

  • wakeupnow

    Dr Greger is sold?

  • wakeupnow

    Dr Greger is bought over?

  • Marco Serra

    I take 1mg melatonin so "Anti-gonad hormone" scared me at first but then I read this:
    "Acute low doses of melatonin restore full sexual activity in impotent male rats"

  • Cast Iron Cooking

    My doctor said it was great and promotes brain health. I take 5 mg for sleep and it works wonders. Anybody can draw those graphs and type those articles that you were going from. For all I know you made those graphs. I am 50 years old and I had memory problems now I am starting to get back my short term memory. Trust your doctor not somebody that has a blog or YouTube channel.Everybody believes what they read on the Internet without doing the research.

  • Ivan B

    Isn't melatonin a hormone? How in the world did that make it to the shelves as a supplement?

  • gabrielle4731

    This seems like a pretty vague and unbalanced argument. "Anti-gonad" hormone for whom? Because there is a LOT of promising evidence in the last 20 years that melatonin can be hugely beneficial for infertility and the female reproductive system, even reversing menopause and perimenopause with 6 months of supplementation.

  • Nicholas West

    I love NutritionFacts but this one smacks of fear-mongering without adequate evidence. I'll need to see more studies before I consider not taking Melatonin pills twice a week to help me sleep.

  • The lower life

    I once got a terrorizing itch in my feet for 3 days straight from melatonin. It would force me to scratch me feet until it bled and blistered.

    This stuff is dangerous and doesn't help with sleep, you're better off using a half glass of milk.

  • Karoger1987

    Melatonin raises the pressure in my head for some reason, I have Intracranial hypertension. I took melatonin for years with no troubles, now I stay away from it. FYI, there's a website that tests some supplements quality, it's called LabDoor 🙂

  • Kairos

    400k subscribers getting close

  • Just Rouie

    Not all supplements are created equal, find the best company out there.

  • Luis Rich


    long term effects for hormonen system…

  • Vladimir Dobrovolskiy

    Thanks for content. But please add russian subs often please

  • Kurt Phillips

    I'm troubled by the fact that the time I first remember having minor erectile dysfunction and symptoms of low testosterone, was the same age that I was taking Melatonin.

    I was on a repeat prescription for a few years since the age of 17 until my new doctor noticed and said it should only have been used for something like 6 weeks (can't remember exactly).

  • WisdomTooth

    Eat a handful of pistachios, tart cherries or feverfew tea, all the melatonin you need. Also wear blue-blocker glasses at sundown. Studies show 300ug(Micrograms) per night is optimal.

  • Jim Roth

    I am age 67. I sleep well with or without melatonin. However, I have noticed that I have better overnight recovery from exercise when I take melatonin at bedtime. Maybe I get more deep (non-REM) sleep time using melatonin?

  • K N

    How about diphenhydramine? Worse?

  • Veyron640

    hey you theorists and realists….
    you keep freaking out over "1.5mg" … etc. xxx times over "noromal" (lol who IS NOROMAL???)

    how about 60mg of melotonin 2 years straight!! What now?
    where is your theories now?

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