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HomeUSCheap melatonin supplements may fight childhood DEPRESSION, study suggests

Cheap melatonin supplements may fight childhood DEPRESSION, study suggests


Cheap melatonin pills before bedtime may help combat childhood depression, study suggests.

Researchers in Sweden followed 25,500 children ages 6 to 18 who took a pill every night for about six months.

The risk of self-harm incidents was cut in half in the year after they started taking the pills, compared to the year before.

The researchers suggested that the drop may have been driven by participants getting more sleep, which has mood-enhancing benefits. But the study was observational and couldn’t prove that the pills were definitively behind the lower rates of self-harm.

Taking melatonin pills before bed may help combat childhood depression, study suggests (Stock)

Experts discourage parents from rushing to buy melatonin tablets for their children because there aren’t enough studies to show the benefits.

Melatonin is a crucial hormone for the body’s sleep-wake cycle, with levels rising at night as the sun goes down, signaling it’s time to go to bed, and dropping to near zero during the day.

Hormone supplements have been available without a prescription in the US since the mid-1990s and are available at most pharmacies and health stores for around 12 cents a pill.

More than four million American adults now use the supplements regularly, estimates show, a fivefold increase from two decades ago.

This is despite some evidence to suggest that melatonin may cause cognitive problems when taken for a prolonged period, although this is not definitively proven.

But in Sweden, where the research was carried out, melatonin supplements were not available without a prescription until 2020.

For the study, the researchers reviewed the national database of children ages six to 18 who had been prescribed melatonin.

The young people included in the study were born between 1989 and 2008.

Among them, the most common disorder was ADHD, which affected 14,000 participants, followed by anxiety and depression, with about 5,500 each.

In the study, each child took a melatonin pill at bedtime for about six months.

The boys were on average 13 years old when they received the prescription, while the girls were 15 years old.

It was most common to get the prescription in November and least common during July and August, or the summer vacation.

The researchers then tracked the number of injuries recorded in the group the year before and the year after the start of treatment.

Overall, they recorded a 12 percent decrease in injuries.

There were 5,696 in the year before melatonin started compared with 5,011 afterward, suggesting that melatonin had helped participants struggling with depression or other conditions.

Poisonings, including those from drugs and personal care products, saw the largest decline, with levels dropping 21 percent from 778 to 615 events over the two years. This was driven by girls, among whom events were down by 23 percent. It was not clear if these poisonings were intentional because this was not recorded.

It was followed by falls, which fell 15 percent, from 1,970 to 1,669, and bodily injuries, which fell from 4,585 to 4,056.

The researchers also carried out an injury risk analysis which showed that the risk of self-harm events, such as poisonings, had been cut in half.

The scientists suggested that melatonin might have helped the participants by improving their mood.

Lack of sleep is known to raise levels of the stress hormone cortisol and disrupt long wave restful sleep, causing someone’s mood to turn negative.

It can also make someone more sensitive to pain, by increasing activity in areas of the brain involved in interpreting pain, such as the somatosensory cortex at the top of the brain, while reducing it in those that work to dampen perception. of pain, such as the striatum. and insula in the center of the organ.

Research also shows that lack of sleep among people with ADHD can exacerbate symptoms, including impulsive behavior, inattention, and hyperactivity.

Dr Sarah Bergen, a psychologist at the Karolinska Institutet who led the research, said: “Our findings support the hypothesis that sleep interventions may reduce self-harm in this population, especially girls.”

“This suggests that melatonin could be responsible for the reduction in self-harm rates, but we cannot rule out that the use of other psychiatric medications or psychotherapy may have influenced the findings.”


Melatonin is a hormone that controls how people feel asleep or awake.

The hormone is produced in the pineal gland in the brain, and its release in the body is controlled by light.

During the day, when light is absorbed by the eye, melatonin levels in the body are low, and as a result, we feel awake.

But when darkness sets in and the amount of light absorbed by the eye is reduced (although this is interrupted in modern societies due to artificial light), more melatonin circulates through the body.

Melatonin prepares the body for sleep by slowing the heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and changing the way heat is stored in the body: core body temperature drops while the outside of the body and extremities heat up.

The hormone also makes people feel sleepy.

Melatonin supplements can be taken to help people who have problems with it sleep, as well as for certain medical conditions such as tinnitus or Alzheimer’s disease.

Sources: today’s medical news and Applied Physics Journal

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