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Melatonin: Warning To All

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  • Melatonin: Warning To All

    Hello all,

    Last year, I made a post advocating 3mg melatonin nightly as a way to relieve GERD pain. After a very negative personal experience with this treatment, I wanted to make a post to clearly warn everyone: DO NOT USE MELATONIN.

    It can cause very serious autoimmune disorders. In my own case, it worked great for 8 months, but then I found out that it stimulated an autoimmune reaction in my body. My immune system is now attacking my thyroid, so in addition to taking Nexium for life, I will now be taking Synthroid (thyroid replacement) for life.

    If you doubt the danger of melatonin, google "melatonin rheumatoid arthritis" or "melatonin crohn's" or "melatonin lupus" to find out all of the horrible diseases that melatonin has been known to worsen, and sometimes cause.

    Please take this post to heart if you use melatonin for GERD or for other reasons. It's not worth it.

  • #2
    So sorry to hear your news. It just goes to show you that just because you can get something over the counter or at a health food store, doesn't mean that it has a mild effect on your body. Thanks so much for letting us all know.

    Again, I am so sorry. b


    • #3
      Some of your problem may be the fact that you were taking 3mg for most of 2010. Most doctors that recommend the use of melatonin for sleep issues recommend less than 1mg for short term use. I know people that have been taking .3mg-1mg for quite a while with no adverse affects . I don't think I have ever seen it professionally recommended for GERD.


      • #4
        Don't get me wrong, the melatonin worked well for GERD, much better than any other treatment I had tried. Surprisingly the GERD hasn't really come back for the 7 or 8 months that I've been off of the melatonin. However, and this is a big however, the only reason the GERD hasn't come back is the fact that my immune system remains hyperactivated attacking my body. Pretty scary stuff, and obviously not a good trade off given how terrible autoimmune diseases tend to be.

        I am pretty confident that there is a relationship b/t the immune system and the function of the LES. Whenever I was sick in the past, the GERD would stop. No heartburn, no acid in the mouth, nothing. But if I was not sick, I would have GERD 24/7, burning chest, acid taste in the mouth, the works, even on double dose nexium. I've heard other people report a similar phenomenon when they get sick.

        Personally, and this is just me, I wouldn't touch melatonin with a ten foot pole given the autoimmune risks. It's not clear that the risks are eliminated with low doses or short-term use, though that surely reduces them. I've found a guy on the net, for example, who developed ongoing autoimmune problems taking ~1-2mg for two months for poor sleep. His joints and knees became so swollen with fluid that he needed crutches to walk. And he still hasn't found relief, despite coming off the melatonin. At the same time, I've also found plenty of people who have had no problems taking 3mg a night every night for 10 years. It really depends on the individual's body and how it reacts, and unfortunately sometimes you don't know what the effects are going to be until its too late. It appears that older people can take melatonin without too many problems because the body produces less natural melatonin with age. The cases of autoimmune side effects that I've come across involved younger people. I'm 31.

        Bottom line for melatonin for GERD is that melatonin is unlikely IMO to work for GERD unless it activates the immune system and alters the function of the LES (tightening the sphincter and reducing TLESR's). That's the mechanism through which it has its effect IMO. If you chronically hyperactivate the immune system long term, you're going to cause an autoimmune disease. So melatonin is not even worth bothering with as a treatment, unless you want to trade in GERD for something much worse (like Crohn's or Lupus or RA.)

        Some new researchers are publishing trials on melatonin as a treatment for GERD. The most recent article is from Oct 2010. It will be interesting to see if they start to see autoimmune effects.


        • #5
          I'm interested in trying melatonin for my GERD.

          Ratobranco, did you know you had an autoimmune disorder before you took the melatonin? Maybe you never knew you had it. Melatonin is not recommended for people that have autoimmune, but if you don't have it, you will be fine taking melatonin. It's one of the most studied and used supplements.


          • #6
            Uh, yeah. After reading what Ratobranco posted here, you flippantly reply with:
            I'm interested in trying melatonin for my GERD.
            You do that and let us know how that works out for you a year from now. We'll wait and let you be the guinea pig. How's that sound?

            In the meantime, for those of us actually responding with the scare that we should take from what Ratobranco had to say, I'll certainly pass on ever taking Melatonin. Obviously Rato did NOT know that there was an autoimmune issue (or simply did not have one) prior to taking the meds. The same can be the case for any of us. We all already have something (GERD) that we don't know from whence it came or why we have it. So that puts most of us in the high-risk pool like Rato. People who take it for sleep may not have any other physical issues, so their odds may be better.

            Rato, I'm so sorry to hear about this. I hope things level off and you do better from here on in.


            • #7

              Really wanted to tlk to you about the melatonin..I too was taking the melatonin but I stopped after reading your postt please email or post here on this site....

              Just want to know further details if u can provide...

              Like whwat were your total symptoms before...

              Is it possible you had an autoimmune disease that was silent and was awaken byt he melatonin?

              Please i have stopped the treatment due to the nature of your condition...


              • #8
                Symptoms are mainly joint pain and redness in eyes at night. Final status is still undiagnosed, but it's definitely autoimmune, as my ANA and anti-thyroid antibodies are elevated.

                No, I did not have any autoimmune condition before taking melatonin.

                Neither did any of these people:

                [url][/url] (see last post in the thread)

                [url][/url] (see part towards bottom that begins with "I'm a supplement buyer for a Natural foods store.")


                [url];_ylt=As89lQUfqVGB.iYU4QAXnYIhBgx.;_ylv=3?qid =20110504212114AA3WVBJ[/url]

                who seems to have been found to have thyroid problems, maybe more:

                [url];_ylt=Ahf4oH4Jp_TuUWB5C_SU8o8gBgx.;_ylv=3?qid =20110620221329AA4NFbG[/url]

                There is a lot of research on the impact of melatonin on the immune system. The fact that it worsens autoimmune diseases is well established in animal research. But if it worsens autoimmune diseases, it should be expected to be able to cause them by the same mechanism, at least in certain people.

                If this wasn't for real, or the melatonin link were purely coincidental, I obviously wouldn't have posted anything on it. I'm glad you are off the treatment, hopefully you will be spared of the misery of an additional and potentially more problematic condition.

                Best of luck,


                • #9

                  I am not being a hardass or anything I am just curious if you could have a silent autoimmune an you just didn't know.

                  For instance did you ever test your thyroid before you started melatonin?

                  Did you ever test ANA or fr RA before melatonin?

                  I saw the posts but like you said you and I've seen many other posts where ppl took it for years and they are k.

                  I know you said your dad took it for 2 years how is he?

                  Is your GERD gone?

                  I tested my thyroid before anything and it was okay, same with Celiac, chrohns.

                  I mean I'm just trying to figure out of you tested yourself.

                  I stopped taking it after I saw your post. Didn't really help, I took for 25 days and felt no different. I mean don't you think tere has to be a reason why a few ppl develop it and many others don't?

                  I know u researched a lot so please don't think I'm questioning your knowledge o just don't know what have you done and what you haven't?



                  • #10
                    I understand, but there is no such thing as a "silent" autoimmune disease. Or rather, everyone has a "silent" autoimmune disease in the sense that anyone's immune system is capable of producing antinuclear antibodies (antibodies that attack native tissue) under the right set of stimuli. Some people are more susceptible than others, of course.

                    Did I have a susceptibility to *develop* an autoimmune disease under certain stimuli? Probably. Do you have the same susceptibility? Maybe not. The problem is that you won't know until it's too late. So you have to weigh the treatment decision accordingly.

                    Remember, autoimmune diseases are not necessarily or entirely genetic. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, for example, your identical twin (same genes) only develops the condition in 15% of cases. That's not a very strong genetic correlation at all.

                    If melatonin is working for a person, and they want to take the risk of an autoimmune disease, which may be small, then fine. But it is a risk. Unfortunately, whenever you find a treatment modality that actually makes something better, it frequently messes something else up.

                    My GERD is gone b/c my immune system is chronically stimulated. Maybe the fact that melatonin didn't work for you means that your immune system was not as stimulated by it as mine was, which would suggest that you are not at the same risk of an autoimmune disease as I was. At the same time, if the melatonin is not stimulating your immune system, that may explain why it isn't doing much for your GERD.

                    If you do a search on this board, you will find many people, including myself, whose GERD symptoms (which were otherwise chronic and constant) completely abated whenever they had a cold virus (not allergies, but a cold virus). This suggests that there is a relationship b/t the activation of the immune system and the function of the LES. Doctors have found that melatonin works very well for GERD for many people, reducing TLESR's, increasing LES pressure, and reducing ph > 4 time. There is objective evidence to support the treatment. Not coincidentally, melatonin is well known to activate the immune system. Personally, I think that is the modality through which it works on GERD. It stimulates the immune system, and that alters the functioning of the LES making it less susceptible to inappropriate relaxation, etc (I suspect it has something to do with NO signaling). But if it is doing that to a person that is taking it, then it is very likely to eventually cause an autoimmune disease.


                    • #11
                      Hey Rato

                      What other supplements were you taking with melatonin...

                      I was doing the supplements based on the study that they did and they only did it for 40 days. I was only going to do it for the 40 days and then stop because in the study ppl GERD went away after the 40 days, they improved in 7 days but mine never did.

                      I was taking tryptophan with melatonin and multivimanins, like the study.

                      I have stopped since like 2 weeks ago, just waiting on some DNA test results on my intestines...

                      The only way to know if this will cause an autoimmune is to try it huh?

                      What about your dad?

                      Like I said anything I say is not offend your knowledge I am sure you done extensive research but want to know how we compare or what have you done.

                      Thanks again for respondng, you might have save me from an autoimmune but need to save myself from GERD any advise on what could work for GERD?


                      • #12
                        I was not using any other supplements. It may be a 1% kind of thing, it may be a more potent correlation. But I showed you five people on the internet who never had autoimmune disease and then developed it shortly after melatonin use. That can't be a coincidence.

                        Consider some more published evidence:











                        If you're worried about your situation, I wouldn't worry, because you only used it for 29 days and you are not having any autoimmune symptoms, and it didn't even work for you. Most people that use melatonin, especially for short periods of time, have no problems, otherwise melatonin would be a regulated substance. As for my dad, he's probably one of those people. But my dad also never developed any kind of GERD/HH in his life either ;-)


                        • #13

                          I was just wondering how you were doing and if you still had autoimmune issues?
                          I too find Melatonin to cure my reflux and I too notice my reflux disappears after I get a cold or virus.
                          I just started melatonin (2.5mg nightly) and do not want to experience the immune issues you speak of, so I wondered how you were doing.