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Is There a Connection between Melatonin and Headaches?

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  • Written By: K.C. Bruning
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2016
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The primary connection between the supplement melatonin and headaches is that it has shown in some studies to prevent or lessen the symptoms of several kinds of pain. This includes cluster headaches, migraines, headaches related to sleep problems and frequent, stabbing pains in the head. Melatonin is a hormone that occurs naturally in the body and that can be purchased as a supplement. It also can be taken for other purposes.

In the human body, there is a close connection between naturally produced melatonin and headaches. If an individual does not produce enough of the hormone, some research has shown that headaches tend to occur with more frequency and intensity. This is partly because the hormone is responsible for regulating the sleep cycle, and interruption of the sleep cycle can cause headaches.

Although the link between melatonin and headaches has increased with various studies, there has been no standard dosage for supplements containing this hormone. It has historically not been regulated by government or medical organizations. For that reason, the amount of the hormone in different products varies. Finding the correct dose might take some experimentation, so it is advisable for it to be used in moderation until the patient’s tolerance of the supplement is established.

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There are several potential side effects associated with taking melatonin, so experts typically advise consulting with a medical professional before taking it. Some patients report having more or intensified headaches while taking melatonin. This symptom often will not appear until the patient has been taking the supplement for a while.

Other potential side effects of melatonin include daytime sleepiness, dizziness and stomach cramps. The supplement also is believed to be potentially risky for pregnant or nursing women. It can intensify the symptoms of patients who suffer from depression as well. Too much melatonin can cause anxiety or irritability. Many doctors will measure levels of melatonin in the blood to determine whether there is enough of a deficiency to make supplementation safe.

In addition to the connections found between melatonin and headaches, there has been some evidence that the hormone can be useful in other ways. When taken regularly, it might help normalize the body’s internal clock and thus promote healthy sleep. It also is believed to be able to restore the regularity of menstruation cycles. There have even been studies to examine the potential strong antioxidant properties of this hormone.

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