I have had a few friends tell me to try taking “Melatonin” for menopause symptoms. It is a supplement that is available over the counter in health food stores. Before I tried it I decided to research it. After my research, I can tell you that I will not be taking it any time soon. Here is what I found out.
Melatonin is a hormone made by a part of the brain called the pineal gland. Melatonin helps our bodies know when it’s time to go to sleep and when it’s time to wake up. It is at its highest level in our bodies just before we fall asleep.
Melatonin supplements are available in two types: natural and synthetic. Natural melatonin is made from the pineal gland of animals. This form can be contaminated with a virus and is therefore not recommended.
Since insomnia is one of the more frustrating and distressing symptoms that women experience during menopause, melatonin has long been used as a temporary remedy to help establish a normal sleep pattern. There is also evidence that it may have a positive effect on cholesterol levels, increasing the HDL cholesterol, which is the good kind.
But before you go running out to start yourself on melatonin, check with your medical provider. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate sleep cycles, but it is also very active in immune response and blood clotting, among other important processes. If you are on steroid hormones, blood pressure medication, blood thinners, antidepressants or other medications, you will want to check to be sure melatonin won’t interact in a way that could harm you.
Other reported side effects are:
- Daytime sleepiness
- Abdominal discomfort
It’s thought that taking melatonin for longer than two months may be harmful, and the best dose of melatonin is not known. So……I don’t think I am willing to try this supplement. But I am interested in hearing from anyone that uses it.