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Melatonin: effect on overall serotonin levels


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#1 hamishm00

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 12:24 PM


This question might have been asked before, but:

What is the current thinking on what effect supplementation with Melatonin, say 5mg a night, might have on overall serotonin levels. Is this something to take into account when supplementing with Melatonin for a healthy 30-40 y/o person.

Any other thoughts on the pros and cons of melatonin supplementation, and dosages would be welcomed.

#2 lucid

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 04:41 PM

Its is (I believe) well agreed that melatonin is better @ a dose range of .3-.6mg. And from personal experience that is plenty. I tend to have next day drowsiness if I take more than 1mg.
*edit* Oh and it gives me crazy dreams too, which I rather like except that sometimes they wake me up. *edit*

Edited by lucid, 05 August 2008 - 05:05 PM.


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#3 elwalvador

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 05:00 PM

I take 6mg per night. It helps me sleep and is one of the few antioxidents that can cross the blood-brain-barrier and protect my brain from rusting. I have no problems waking up the next morning and it doesn't really affect my dreams, at all.

#4 niner

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 04:04 AM

In last week's sunday evening update (which happened on wednesday), Terry Grossman recommended 0.5 mg.

#5 Johan

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 04:35 AM

In last week's sunday evening update (which happened on wednesday), Terry Grossman recommended 0.5 mg.

IIRC, he didn't say anything about time-released melatonin, right? He just recommended 0.5 mg instant-release.

#6 Ben

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 06:49 AM

lol, none of you have answered the OP's question (which is also in the topic's title).

#7 hamishm00

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 10:58 AM

Hehehe well, I also asked about dosages, thanks for the responses.

I cycled off melatonin for a week recently after a solid 6 or 7 years of uninterrupted habitual use of melatonin (dosages ranging from 3mg to as high as 15mg sometimes), then returned to my usual regime but with a high dose of 10mg a night. Oh my goodness did I have some wierd dreams - same as the first time I started taking the stuff all those years ago, and I would also wake up after 5 hours sleep feeling like I had a marathon sleep (and pretty refreshed actually). This has gone away now after 1 week of supplementation, as it did the first time I started taking Melatonin.

I felt groggier in the mornings when I stoppped taking the stuff. Now that I'm back on it, I'm very fresh in the mornings and I have totally uninterrupted sleep.

I've returned to a 5mg dose which seems to be the right one for me. I could go lower, but there is not enough evidence to convince me that 'less is more', but I wouldn't be suprised if the common belief is true, namely that less is just as good (and probably a 'safer bet').

As far as safe bets go and lower doses go, I've been thinking about this. Amongst other things I'm worried about the effect that Melatonin supplementation might have on your seratonin levels in your waking hours. I don't want to screw with that too much without knowing what I'm doing.

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#8 Wulf

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 11:17 AM

This question might have been asked before, but:

What is the current thinking on what effect supplementation with Melatonin, say 5mg a night, might have on overall serotonin levels. Is this something to take into account when supplementing with Melatonin for a healthy 30-40 y/o person.

Any other thoughts on the pros and cons of melatonin supplementation, and dosages would be welcomed.


Really interesting question. Since melatonin is synthesized from serotonin in the the brain, it would seem possible that exogenous melatonin would reduce the brain's turnover of serotonin. I managed to find a couple studies that examined this in rats:

Effects of neonatal melatonin administration on the extra-hypothalamic regions in rat brains: effects on the serotonergic system.
Muneoka K, Ogawa T, Takigawa M.

Department of Neuropsychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Kagoshima University, Japan. KHB20641@nifty.ne.jp

The effects of 100microg melatonin injection at postnatal day 5 (PD 5) on the development of the central serotonergic systems in male and female rats were investigated. The contents of serotonin (5-HT) and 5-hydroxy-3-indolacetic acid (5-HIAA) were measured in several extrahypothalamic regions at 3, 10 and 42 weeks of age. The neonatal melatonin administration increased both 5-HT and 5-HIAA levels in the striatum throughout the examined period. In the hippocampus, an increase in 5-HIAA contents by neonatal melatonin administration was found at 3 weeks but not 10 or 42 weeks of age. There were no significant differences in the effects of melatonin between male and female rats. These results indicated that exogenous melatonin administration during the early neonatal period influenced the development of the serotonergic systems in extrahypothalamic regions including the hippocampus and the striatum.

PMID: 10944000


Melatonin effects on serotonin synthesis and metabolism in the striatum, nucleus accumbens, and dorsal and median raphe nuclei of rats.
Míguez JM, Martín FJ, Aldegunde M.

Laboratorio de Fisioloxia Animal, Facultade de Bioloxia, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Spain. fsmiguez@uscmail.use.es

This work examined the influence of the pineal gland and its hormone melatonin on the metabolism of serotonin (5-HT) in discrete areas of the forebrain, such as the striatum and the nucleus accumbens, and the midbrain raphe. The content of 5-HT and its major oxidative metabolite, the 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA), as well as the in-vivo tryptophan hydroxylation rate were examined after long-term pinealectomy (one month) and daily melatonin treatment (500 micrograms/kg; twice daily for ten days) in pinealectomized rats. Pinealectomy did not alter 5-HT content in any of these brain areas, but it significantly increased the content of 5-HIAA in striatum and the 5-HIAA/5-HT ratio in nucleus accumbens. The normal values of these parameters were recuperated after administration of exogenous melatonin, but it also increased the rate of tryptophan hydroxylation in both areas. In addition, melatonin treatment decreased the levels of 5-HIAA in dorsal raphe nucleus. These data suggest that the pineal gland, through the secretion of melatonin, modulates the local metabolism of 5-HT in forebrain areas by acting on the oxidative deamination. Moreover, melatonin injected in pinealectomized rats derives in a more extended effect than pinealectomy and induces a stimulation of 5-HT synthesis in the striatum, probably due to a pharmacological effect. These results point to the striatum as a target area for the interaction between pineal melatonin and the serotonergic function, and suggest a differential effect of the melatonin injected on areas containing serotonergic terminals and cell bodies, which may relevant for the mode of action of melatonin and its behavioral effects.

PMID: 9021768


Not exactly the most conclusive data, but it seems to indicate that yes, exogenous melatonin has the potential to increase serotonin the brain.




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