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Does melatonin raise cortisol?


Rhiannon
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I thought I might be noticing a correlation between how much melatonin I was using and how intense my "cortisol mornings" were, so I Googled "melatonin cortisol" and found this:

 

http://www.eje-online.org/content/133/6/691.abstract

 

and there are some others. Basically, in postmenopausal women, the administration of melatonin supplements causes an increase in cortisol levels. This does not seem to be the case in men (at least in younger men) or in younger women.

 

Since I fall into the "postmenopausal woman" category, this is something I'll be keeping an eye on now.

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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I wonder how significant those increases are. Oh, oh -- study had only 14 subjects.

 

Melatonin has a half-life of only a few hours, so by the time morning comes, how much is it affecting your cortisol level?

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

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Serotonin converts to melatonin hormone which would trigger a cascade of events, don't you think?

Tryptophan ----> serotonin -----> melatonin. (very simplified version!)

 

This was the main illustration that caused me to ask 'HOW, in any way, can serotonin be uplifting, energizing, not depressogenic?' Tryptophan = turkey sleepiness. Melatonin=for sleep. Then i read David Healy who confirmed.

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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In testing horses ACTH for Cushings, there is a seasonal shift from fall to spring giving false positives. I wonder how that may relate.

Perhaps veterinarians can fill in in the absence of Medical Doctors. ;-/

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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Serotonin converts to melatonin hormone which would trigger a cascade of events, don't you think?

Tryptophan ----> serotonin -----> melatonin. (very simplified version!)

 

This was the main illustration that caused me to ask 'HOW, in any way, can serotonin be uplifting, energizing, not depressogenic?' Tryptophan = turkey sleepiness. Melatonin=for sleep. Then i read David Healy who confirmed.

 

The relationship between serotonin and melatonin is more complex than that. They convert into each other.

 

The sleepiness after turkey is because of the protein, not tryptophan -- that's another one of those folk wisdom things.

 

Since, normally, our bodies make melatonin at night for a sleep signal, I'm having trouble understanding why it might be a problem. Maybe supplementing it at the wrong time of day or in excessive amounts raises cortisol. But this research was done for a purpose not revealed in the abstract.

 

To properly understand what any paper is saying, one would have to read the entire paper and at least review its citations. Often the abstracts don't capture the gist. Bar, perhaps you or Rhi have the time for that?

 

In testing horses ACTH for Cushings, there is a seasonal shift from fall to spring giving false positives. I wonder how that may relate.

Perhaps veterinarians can fill in in the absence of Medical Doctors. ;-/

 

There is a seasonal shift in cortisol, the daytime hormone, and melatonin, the nighttime hormone. (That is why some of us have trouble sleeping around the changes in daylight savings time.) Secretions of these hormones follow the light cycle in sunrise and sunset.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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I will read it.

 

Major Grain O' Salt Alert!

 

My thought on melatonin supplementation: we know that half-life with SSRIs as well as non-prescription drugs is only part of the overall picture; T1/2 does not correlate directly to withdrawal symptoms. Assuming that applies to OTC supps such as melatonin, we don't know how long the other half remains in the body or what other systems it may be effecting, especially neuroendocrine (pineal). I believe the 'other half' of Prozac remains in the body for several half-lives (double digits). I don't believe there is a term for when all of the drug is washed out of the system. It seems it would be very difficult to determine based on individual pharmacokinetics, metabolism, stored in fat, etc. Marijuana comes to mind.

 

I agree that the tryptophan - serotonin - melatonin chain is far more complex. Seeing that triggered my AHA moment years ago in beginning to understand why SSRIs never helped my type of 'depression' characterized by lethargy, low energy, but not anxiety. One mode of action of SSRIs is anxiolytic (reducing anxiety IS a good feeling), similar to benzos. Fluoxetine was first looked at as a safe alternative to replace benzos, but flopped because there was not an immediate sedative effect. Then, back to the drawing board and the serotonin hypothesis was formulated and ivoila! Prozac came to market in 1987 to meet the need for serotonin in depression. :excl:

Q: is there terminology that delineates short term safety vs. long term safety? EX: SSRIs have a good short term safety profile - difficult to OD (very high dose required for most people) and/or low addiction/drug-seeking potential (relative to benzos, barbiturates, TCAs, MAOIs). However, the safety with long term use is unknown or not well documented or published.

I also wonder if there is differentiation in research between 'premeditated OD/suicide (dose/volume-related)' and 'iatrogenic suicide/homicide' (not dose-related). Trying not to use psychiatric labels :unsure:

 

I have an article outlining the different receptor profiles of the ADs. The receptor profiles are well known for APs. It may be helpful in understanding the different withdrawl symptoms (but only part of the convoluted picture). Fluoxetine is the least specific (or selective?) for serotonin, so possibly not as big of a hammer. ? Just a hypothesis.

I just posted a 2007 speech by Ashton that includes some of this info.

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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Interesting you posted this, Rhi... I recently noticed that I seem to do better OFF melatonin. I'm not positive of the correlation, since there are so many factors involved, but while I was on vacation I often forgot to take my melatonin and then pretty much just quit it and was sleeping great. Then I got back and started taking it again, and started having problems with early waking and anxiety (i.e. higher cortisol for sure) again. There were other factors involved, of course. Anyway, the past four days or so I have forgotten to take my melatonin at night, and suddenly I'm sleeping 6 to 8 hours straight again. I just realized it today... My thought is... well, if I can sleep well without the melatonin, why take it?

 

Then again, there have been other nights when I thought it helped. Who knows...

'94-'08 On/off ADs. Mostly Zoloft & Wellbutrin, but also Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, etc.
6/08 quit Z & W after tapering, awful anxiety 3 mos. later, reinstated.
11/10 CTed. Severe anxiety 3 mos. later & @ 8 mos. much worse (set off by metronidazole). Anxiety, depression, anhedonia, DP, DR, dizziness, severe insomnia, high serum AM cortisol, flu-like feelings, muscle discomfort.
9/11-9/12 Waves and windows of recovery.
10/12 Awful relapse, DP/DR. Hydrocortisone?
11/12 Improved fairly quickly even though relapse was one of worst waves ever.

1/13 Best I've ever felt.

3/13 A bit of a relapse... then faster and shorter waves and windows.

4/14 Have to watch out for triggers, but feel completely normal about 80% of the time.

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My recent short experience with melatonin - Thinking it might help with alleviating the problems of waking up early, I took 1mg (sublingual) when I woke up at 1:30am. Because it made me hyper (a cortisol issue?), I took a mag/cal pill and was able to get back to sleep until 4am.

 

But this combo never worked again and I didn't have the patience to fiddle with various forms and dosages of the melatonin.

 

It would be stupid for me to take it before going to bed since I don't have a problem with falling asleep.

 

CS

Drug cocktail 1995 - 2010
Started taper of Adderall, Wellbutrin XL, Remeron, and Doxepin in 2006
Finished taper on June 10, 2010

Temazepam on a PRN basis approximately twice a month - 2014 to 2016

Beginning in 2017 - Consumption increased to about two times per week

April 2017 - Increased to taking it full time for insomnia

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I've heard sleep problems being divided into

1) sleep induction/ falling asleep - *thought* to be anxiety related

2) sleep latency/staying asleep

Unsure how early morning wakening fit in to #2, but *thought* to be associated w/depression although my cortisol jolts sure feels like anxiety

 

I hope these random bits from my memory someday serve some purpose.

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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I wonder how significant those increases are. Oh, oh -- study had only 14 subjects.

 

Melatonin has a half-life of only a few hours, so by the time morning comes, how much is it affecting your cortisol level?

 

Yes, I noticed that, but it looks like there's more than one study showing the same association. Unfortunately (and DOH of course) they seem to be spinning it as evidence that postmenopausal women need to take hormones. Right.

 

I don't know what the time curve is, dosages, et cetera. If the cortisol is endogenous and not a metabolite of the melatonin then half-life might not be relevant. I didn't read the actual study to know how much melatonin they were taking--probably more than the very small doses usually recommended for sleep.

 

Mostly I just thought this is something to be aware of and check out for yourself if you fall into the "postmenopausal female" demographic. I use melatonin to help reset my circadian rhythms with shift work, so for me, it's worth being aware of.

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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Yeah, Rhi, my thoughts are -- why are they pursuing this line of research? Surely they don't mean to argue for a drug that *decreases* normal melatonin production? Or do they?

 

I smell an ulterior motive.

 

Melatonin doesn't work for everyone, and if you take it in too high a dosage, you may get a paradoxical reaction. Is this an increase in cortisol or some other mechanism? Who knows?

 

Research shows in normal people .33mg is enough to trigger sleep. Since the lowest tablet dosage you can find (as near as I can tell) is 1mg, most likely most people are taking too much. (It's probably easier to titrate liquid melatonin drops, I don't know, I've just cut up the 1mg tablets.)

 

Agree that taking any hormone has risks, many undefined as yet. Melatonin has a track record of being safe, but who knows.

 

If you don't need it to help you sleep, or if you get an unpleasant reaction from it, by all means, don't take it!

 

(Bar, dear, you have wandered completely off topic with the Dec 3 post! Unclear what the connection is with melatonin. Is it in the right topic?)

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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It started as a discussion of half life being only one factor in melatonin's effects (comparing to ADs). Then melatonin and serotonin conversion and.... I created my own Rubik's Cube.

In all fairness, I did begin with a salt shaker alert.

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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  • 6 years later...

I got increased anxiety when trying to taper melatonin. My dose was too high though at 3mg. 

 

I was under the impression it was a low dose, because when I shopped on amazon, it was the lowest dose they showed in search results. They do have lower doses, but they don't show when you search for melatonin supplements. And 2 drs told me it was a low dose too. I since learned it is quite high :(

 

I have since become better informed about melatonin. It's a hormone that affects many things other than sleep, and has relationships with serotonin, cortisol and dopamine. Unless someone is having severe chronic insomnia that doesn't respond to anything safer, it's probably better to avoid it (in my humble opinion). 

 

 

  • SSRIs 3-4 times in the last 14 years; would take them for 6-8 months and then taper off under dr supervision with no problems.
  • Med history prior to 2015: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6012-newbeginning-my-withdrawal-story/?p=267313#entry267313
  • 04/2015: Prozac decreased to 15mg over last 3 months; effexor held steady at 8mg; current effexor XR: 20 beads of a 75mg capsule per day (about 8mg)
  • 06/2015: Prozac: 10mg; effexor XR: 19 beads (about 7.5mg); 07/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor 18 beads; 08/2015: Prozac: 7.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • End of August: withdrawal: depressive symptoms, crying spells. Realized I was measuring prozac dose wrong for the last 2 months. Reinstated Prozac 8.5mg; Kept effexor at 17 beads. Stabilized in 5 weeks.
  • 10/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • 11/2015: Prozac: 1.9ml (7.5mg); effexor: 16 beads
  • 12/2015: Prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: 16 beads. Withdrawal: neuroemotions
  • 01/2016: prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: reinstated 17 beads, withdrawal improved; 02/2016: Prozac 1.5ml; Effexor: 17 beads; 03/2016: Prozac 1.3ml(5mg); Effexor: 17 beads (7mg)-withdrawal (flu-like malaise, lightheaded, drowsy) started end of March. April 15: reinstated Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized. 2 weeks ok. End of April: Withdrawal (neuroemotions). Eventually stabilized in April-May. Apathy improved.
  • 3 month hold until August. August 2016: apathy came back;

  • October 2016: updosed to Prozac 1.6ml. Bad reaction: anxiety, depression. End of October: went down Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized over several weeks.

  • Dec 9: tried macca for energy: anxiety/depression. Improved over several weeks, but not completely resolved.

  • Dec 31: cut Effexor 5% to 16 beads. After 9 days: withdrawal anxiety, depression; tried updosing to 17 beads Feb 7 but anxiety got worse; went down to 16 beads

    May 2017: Anxiety improved; severe depression continues

  • September 2017: finally stabilized!!!!!! 09/07/2017-12/31/2017: hold

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In my experience, melatonin is mild and causes few problems. It is easy to stop. It's easy to get nervous about not taking it, reducing can cause the worry you're not going to sleep without it.

 

However, I never took as much as 3mg, 2mg was my highest amount.

 

As we state repeatedly in Melatonin for sleep it's best to start at a very low dosage, such as .25mg, and gradually increase if needed to the lowest effective dose.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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