Is it safe to take melatonin on a regular basis?


Dr. Andrew Huberman has expressed caution regarding the use of melatonin supplements for various reasons. While acknowledging melatonin's role in inducing sleepiness, Huberman has highlighted that melatonin supplementation doesn't necessarily keep one asleep throughout the night, and people often wake up after a few hours and have difficulty falling back asleep 1. He also mentioned that the doses of melatonin found in supplements often far exceed the physiologically normal levels and warned against the potential impact on reproductive hormone systems, as melatonin is known to suppress puberty and can influence other hormones such as testosterone and estrogen 1.

He shared his concern especially when it comes to children, as melatonin is naturally higher in children to suppress puberty until the appropriate age; however, the regular intake and the high doses found in supplements may have unwanted effects 2. Furthermore, the inconsistency of dosages in melatonin supplements—some having far less and others much more than what is listed on the label—adds another layer of caution 3.

Melatonin Supplement Caution

Andrew discusses his stance on melatonin supplementation, highlighting its limited use for occasional jet lag relief. He warns against the inconsistency of dosages in supplements and the potential impact on reproductive hormone axes.

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While melatonin might have therapeutic use in elderly individuals struggling with sleep, since they are past puberty and their hormone levels are different from younger people, Huberman still urges consulting with a physician 4. Additionally, he points out melatonin's influence on a wide range of biological systems, including immune function and cardiovascular health, which necessitates a cautious approach to its supplementation 5.

In summary, while melatonin has its place in managing jet lag and may be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional for sleep issues in older adults, Dr. Andrew Huberman advises against regular use of melatonin, especially at the high doses commonly found in over-the-counter supplements due to its impact on sleep continuity and hormone systems 2. It is important to consult a healthcare professional before starting or continuing the use of melatonin supplements.