Can one take melatonin supplements for alcohol withdrawal symptoms? What I know is that alcohol and melatonin shouldn’t mix, but what is this new information saying melatonin can help combat the damaging effects of alcohol? We have contradicting informations here and I’m getting confused.
Alcohol is considered the most common substance used in the management of stress worldwide. Ironically, it is also the most common drink in celebrations! For just about anything, alcohol is there. No wonder alcoholism is such a problem. And excessive consumption of alcohol reduces melatonin production.
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland. It is an antioxidant, an immune system booster, and plays a significant role in the regulation of our circadian rhythm. Increased consumption of alcohol, melatonin suppression, and lack of sleep brought about by both can lead to serious health problems.
First and foremost, alcohol decreases melatonin levels. Secondly, alcohol causes sleep disruption. It may make you feel drowsy at first but once the alcohol in the body is metabolized, it becomes a stimulant. Either you wake up in the middle of the night and find it difficult to go back to sleep; or you sleep but the quality of sleep you get is very poor. And alcohol causes a multitude of gastric and liver diseases.
Melatonin, on the other hand, is a natural sleep-inducing agent. When present in sufficient levels, which happens in dark environments, it produces drowsiness, weakness, and lethargy allowing us to sleep. And in the presence of light, melatonin production stops and signals our body to wake up. It helps time our sleep/wake schedules. It also is a very powerful antioxidant, more potent than vitamin C, vitamin E and glutathione. It prevents us from infections and viral diseases and boosts our immune system, and is even being considered for the treatment of cancer.
This is the reason why researchers are eyeing melatonin supplements as an adjunct treatment in controlling alcoholism and managing symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol. Melatonin can reduce insomnia, shakiness and irritability commonly experienced by alcoholics. Being a free-radical scavenger, melatonin can prevent liver diseases and gastric ulcers and other illnesses that alcoholics are predisposed to. And it can help repair cells damaged by increased alcohol concentration in the body.
This would be quite a breakthrough when thoroughly proven because problems related to alcoholism has been escalating and an additional treatment option would be very welcome. However, for people who are not alcoholics but chose to take alcohol and melatonin together for a more potent effect, you have to think twice before continuing to do so. Alcohol depresses melatonin levels so there is a possibility that the melatonin would be rendered useless when both are present in the body. Or it could increase its potency and give you a bad “hang-over” the next day. Either way, the results wouldn’t be what you initially desired.