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Melatonin is safe to take daily | To Your Good Health | stltoday.com

Dear Dr. Roach • In a recent column, you responded to a reader asking about the link between Benadryl and dementia, and near the end you mentioned that melatonin is “very safe.” I’ve heard that taking melatonin can affect your body’s natural production of melatonin, causing a loop — the more you take, the less your body will produce — thus necessitating a person to continue taking it indefinitely. Would you speak to this? — L.P.

Answer • Many hormones do have what is called a feedback loop, where high blood levels of the hormone will prevent the body from making more. That is the case, for example, with thyroid hormone. High levels of thyroid hormone, whether made by the body or taken as a medication, will shut off production of more thyroid hormone, preventing excess. However, if you stop taking thyroid hormone, the body will sense this and restart production of thyroid hormone. In some cases, it takes a period of time to restart synthesis, during which the body has low hormone levels.

This does not appear to be a major issue with melatonin, which has a very short lifetime inside the body, and whose secretion is largely regulated by the length of daylight. As such, it is less likely than other treatments to cause a “rebound” — a worsening of insomnia after stopping it. However, the situation is complex, and some people certainly might notice such an effect. It is also true that melatonin levels tend to decrease with age.

Melatonin, at low dose — such as 0.5 to 1 mg — is indeed thought to be very safe. There are no perfectly safe substances: Anything can be dangerous at the right dose. Headache, confusion and fractured sleep have been reported in people taking melatonin at doses up to 36 mg.

Dear Dr. Roach • We know that human urine has healing benefits to the body. If you are camping and get a bad gash, would your urine help heal it? — V.Z.

Answer • I have increasingly read that some people believe in the healing powers of urine, but I am not one of those people. There is no good scientific evidence of any beneficial power of urine. Urine is a waste product.

In the case you mention, cleaning and covering the wound is key. Campers should bring a first-aid kit (it doesn’t need to be big or heavy) and use clean water (drinking water is fine) to irrigate the wound as best as possible then dress it, and get to definitive help as soon as possible.

Dr. Roach regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but will incorporate them in the column whenever possible. Readers may email questions to ToYourGoodHealth@med.cornell.edu or request an order form of available health newsletters at 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, Fla. 32803. Health newsletters may be ordered from rbmamall.com.

Article source: http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/health-med-fit/health/to-your-good-health/melatonin-is-safe-to-take-daily/article_59c1c055-32e9-5278-a9bd-992a060d1258.html

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