Because of the common problems in falling asleep, many people are looking for a solution and it is not uncommon to find melatonin supplements. They are cheap and over-the-counter, so they can be an alternative to help us improve our rest.
However, we should not overlook that even this type of supplementation carries certain risks, so we must be cautious with its use.
How melatonin works
To understand what these risks are due to, it is necessary to understand how these supplements work. Melatonin is actually a hormone that our body secretes naturally and is also present in other natural sources, such as certain plants.
In the human organism, it plays a fundamental role in the regulation of circadian rhythms (which, among other things, mark the succession between the states of sleep and wakefulness). Thus, as reported by MedicalNewsToday, melatonin supplements are designed to correct interruptions in these cycles.
In reality, it is a fairly safe supplement, although perhaps less effective than we might expect. It can indeed help normalize circadian rhythms, but it is not a hypnotic or sedative medication, so we should not expect such a potent effect.
However, regular use does have some possible side effects: dizziness, stomach cramps, headaches, nausea, confusion, disorientation, depression, irritability, anxiety, lowered blood pressure and tremors. Even so, it should be emphasized that their frequency is low, and it is very rare that they occur to a severe degree.
More worrying is the fact that, because its manufacture is not regulated under the same standards as drugs (it is considered a food supplement), there is still a certain risk that melatonin concentrations may exceed the labeling or even vary greatly from pill to pill, making it difficult to predict its effects.