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Melatonin For Gerd

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  • Melatonin For Gerd

    Hello all,

    I haven't posted in awhile, and that's mainly because I have found almost full relief from heartburn through the use of 3mg of melatonin nightly (along with one nexium in the morning, which was my prior regimen). I've been cycling on and off of it now for about 4 months, and have noticed that symptoms weaken and go away while I'm on it, and return when I'm off of it. So I feel pretty confident saying that it is what is doing the trick.

    It is hypothesized that melatonin reduces GERD by minimzing TLESR's, tightening the sphincter, reducing stomach acid production, and exerting a protective effect on esophageal tissue.

    Here is the published scientific research correlating the use of melatonin with GERD symptom relief and other GERD-relevant changes:

    The potential therapeutic effect of melatonin in GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease.


    Melatonin for the treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease


    Protective Effect of Melatonin Against Acute Esophageal Legions


    Regression of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Using Melatonin


    An added benefit of melatonin is that it helps you get to sleep, and to get deeper sleep.

    Research indicates that use is generally safe and non-addictive. Some may be concerned about side effects, or building up a tolerance. Personally, I haven't experienced any side effects other than feeling tired (and a headache if I don't get sleep after taking it--for example, if I take it and then something happens that requires me to stay up). It is claimed that melatonin can be used for long periods of time without building a tolerance, but there is anecdotal information that after periods on the order of years, the sleep inducing effect (by which melatonin helps you fall asleep) may wane. To address that issue, I cycle on and off. I usually go 5 days on (weekdays), then 2 days off (weekends). Sometimes I take a week off. I haven't felt any difference in terms of my ability to sleep. However, I definitely feel the heartburn worsen after a day or two.

    My main reason for feeling comfortable using melatonin is my Dad's experience. He used it for 2 years straight, never had any problems. Decided to come off of it one day and was able to sleep normally, as if he had never been on it. He hasn't used it since.

    As always, do your own research, and discuss the matter with your doctor. Given the underwhelming results of most other available treatments, and the unquestionable difficulty of living with unresolved GERD, I think melatonin might be worth a try for many here.

    Best wishes,

    P.S. I use 3mg extended release tablets, the kind you can buy at any pharmacy or grocery store.

  • #2
    This is very interesting. I too experienced relief with melatonin, which I took for about a year, two years ago. You might be able to find an old post I wrote on it. But I must add a big caveat:

    Melatonin activates the immune system! I think in my case it may have greatly aggravated my allergies. It is a hormone, and its long-term effects are simply not known. When you think about how it is a major player the endocrine system, it gives you pause. It is illegal to sell melatonin OTC in some countries.

    The mechanism for allergy activation seems to be IL-10. I stopped taking it when I developed symptoms of eosinophilic esophagitis. I have since avoided my food allergens and have had great success.

    Not trying to dampen your enthusiasm--I just want to point out a possible downside. The fact that it works on TLESRs is very interesting.


    • #3
      This is very fascinating. Thank you for posting!


      • #4
        I find the talk about Melatonin and immune system interesting. As many of you know, there is a fairly new theory about esophageal inflammation being caused by an immune response to GERD rather than acid exposure to the esophagus. I have struggled with CVID(Common Variable Immune Difficiency) for several years. I receive IVIG influsions every week now. This is an increase from the past. I have noticed a slight increase in my breathing since going weekly. I assume this is due to an increased immune system. Perhaps Melatonin could further increase my symptom relief. I think I should run it by my doctors but it may help. I've been told there are many undiagnosed cases of CVID due to the lack of clear symptoms. My symptoms were I was just getting sick too often and much more severe than most people. Anyway, I wanted to weigh in on this issue because I feel it hits home.


        • #5
          that is good news,i would like to try that, what dosage do you use?


          • #6
            He already said what dosage he takes - it's in his post: 3 mg.


            • #7
              your right i missed reading that,


              • #8
                Rato, is this still working for you? I'm thinking of trying this. I'm currently taking trytophan to help with some mild depression. I actually sleep pretty well and do not need sleep aids. I've always avoided sleep meds because I did not want to mess with my good natural sleeping skills. But if melatonin will help with my heartburn I'll chance it.

                The Brazilian study that used melantonin actually recommeded trytophan and melatonin together. It does seem like overkill.


                • #9
                  Dr. Weil on Melatonin and GERD

                  This was Dr. Andrew Weil's column today and I remembered this thread, so I'm posting it here. I have not tried Melatonin. Anyone here have any experience with it?

                  Here's the article:
                  Melatonin for Acid Reflux?

                  Is it true that taking melatonin for 40 days can eliminate acid reflux?

                  Answer (Published 11/5/2010)

                  Acid reflux is a common condition in which stomach acid flows backward into the esophagus - the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach - causing heartburn and a sour taste in the mouth. These symptoms usually last a few hours after a meal and then go away. Most people experience acid reflux from time to time, usually after eating certain foods.

                  Acid reflux that regularly occurs more than twice a week is called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

                  Melatonin is a neurotransmitter produced by a gland in the brain that regulates the wake/sleep cycle and other daily biorhythms. I recommend it in supplement form as a remedy for jet lag and insomnia, and as an immune booster. Over the past several years, various studies have investigated whether melatonin acts as an antioxidant and an antiaging supplement and have looked into its effects on sleep disturbances and seasonal affective disorder. It also is being studied for treatment of endocrine problems and some forms of cancer. Much of the research to date has been done in cultured cells, in animals or in very small numbers of human subjects.

                  The use of melatonin as a treatment for acid reflux was reported several years ago by Polish researchers who published their findings in March 2007 in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology.They recruited 60 patients with the disorder and divided them into two groups. Half of the patients took 5 mg of melatonin every evening; the others received a placebo. After 12 weeks, more than half the patients in the melatonin group no longer had reflux symptoms and 30 percent of the rest of the group reported partial improvement. Less than 10 percent of the patients taking the placebo reported any improvement in their symptoms.

                  The researchers noted that some of the patients who took melatonin weren't helped at all, and said that future investigations must explore the question of whether the benefits seen in this study will be permanent, or whether patients must continue to take melatonin indefinitely for lasting relief. I haven't found any follow up to these findings, although I did see the report of a single patient with GERD taking 6 mg of melatonin for 40 days, after which her symptoms did not recur. That lone case doesn't warrant a recommendation of melatonin as a treatment for GERD. However, while we have to regard the results of the Polish study as preliminary, I see no reason why you shouldn't try 5 mg of melatonin for a few months to see if it helps relieve your acid reflux. Aside from causing nightmares in a few people, supplemental melatonin has no known adverse effects.

                  Andrew Weil, M.D.


                  • #10
                    Aside from causing nightmares in a few people, supplemental melatonin has no known adverse effects.

                    nightmares!!!!!! thats a plus. I don't like boring dreams


                    • #11
                      Possible side effects

                      From the Mayo web site...


                      • #12
                        Maximum dose anyone should take is 3 mg. I cannot recall why this is, however. I've heard that it can be a good idea to get 1 mg doses and work up to 3 mg over time. This seems prudent to me though I don't recall doing this when I used it. But maybe I did. Who knows.

                        NYer, but I don't think it had an affect on my reflux but my memory isn't that great re: this. Ron, I did not have nightmares.


                        • #13
                          Hiya Thistle! Good to "see" you.
                          I don't know what the mechanism is as to why the melatonin is supposed to help reflux but I'm guessing it has to do with having better (tighter, if you will) control of the LES. In your case, that wouldn't have been possible, given that you didn't have an LES, so I wouldn't think it could have worked for your GERD.


                          • #14

                            Yes, it still works. I definitely recommend that you try it, if you haven't already. I've come off of it multiple times, never had a problem sleeping. The heartburn does tend to get worse again after 2 or 3 days of coming off of it, but that is to be expected, since it is what is improving the GERD.

                            I can tell that my burps seem tighter when I am on melatonin, and I suspect that is the mechanism of action through which it works. It reduces TLESR's and makes for a tighter sphincter.


                            • #15
                              definitely trying melatonin

                              Hi Ratobranco...and everyone,

                              Haven't been on the website for a while. I am the gal who has had every test imaginable and docs found absolutely nothing wrong, however, I have terrible heartburn and LPR symptoms. The docs diagnosed me with sensitive esophagus and sent me home. I don't take PPI's because they don't work.

                              I do take Cymbalta for, supposedly, pain relief...I find more for the anxiety of having constant burning...perhaps takes the edge off.

                              I have been having some periods of relief. Why?...I don't know yet. Seems slightly related to less stressful times. I have a severely disabled 14 year old son with massive difficulties, so I do have a very stressful life.

                              I am definitely going to try melatonin. I know, Rato, I was going to try before, however, I never got around to it, and I wanted to make sure I could take it with the antidepressant. Yes, I can. So...

                              Because, of course, right now, I'm having a bad flair up...The only connections is that I started a brand new job, and it's been difficult.

                              Anyway...thanks for all the great discussion, and I was very happy to read this line of posting. Another idea to try for relief.