Does Melatonin Make You Gain Weight

Does Melatonin Make You Gain Weight

What is melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain. It helps control your sleep and wake cycles. As melatonin decreases, it becomes harder for some people to fall asleep.

For others, Melatonin may help them stay asleep longer or have a happier mood throughout the day, along with being an antioxidant.

Melatonin is a hormone that our body produces naturally. When we sleep, our bodies release Melatonin, and when we don’t get enough sleep for a few days or weeks in a row, the brain reduces the amount of Melatonin it produces.

When this happens, you may feel tired during the day and have trouble sleeping at night. What’s more, people who are obese tend to make less Melatonin than people with a healthier weight. (1)

In this article, we’ll discuss does Melatonin play an important role in weight gain or loss, and why.

What Is Melatonin, How It Helps?

As the amount of light decreases in the evening, your brain starts to produce more Melatonin. This process is disrupted when you are exposed to bright lights after sunset.

Not only will bright light stop you from reaching proper deep and REM sleep duration, but it can also reset your body’s inner clock so that it becomes active at times when you want to be winding down rather than revving up. (2)

Melatonin is a hormone that helps control your wake and sleep cycle. It is produced in darkness by your pineal gland.

When we are exposed to darkness for an extended amount of time, our brain recognizes that it is time to sleep, causing the hormone melatonin to be produced.

If we are exposed to sunshine or other types of light before going to bed, our Melatonin levels in the brain will crash significantly, causing troubles falling asleep.

What Is Melatonin Used For?

What is Melatonin used for

Taking Melatonin supplements helps to combat insomnia, jet lag, and other sleeping disorders. Melatonin supplementation also reduces time needed to fall asleep, on average by 22 minutes showed by the study.

In addition, it has antioxidant properties that can prevent damage to cells caused by free radicals. (3) Melatonin treatment may also have an anti-aging effect on your body’s tissues because it regulates certain genes related to aging (4).

Does Melatonin Cause Weight Gain

Finally, let’s get down to the main question of this topic. Does melatonin cause weight gain? The answer is no, Melatonin does not make you gain weight.

However, melatonin levels are crucial for regulating sleep and our circadian rhythms, which have a very strong influence on controlling our weight, hormones, insulin sensitivity, stress, and other crucial health factors.

So while melatonin does not make you gain weight, lack of it can certainly lead to gaining extra pounds or even worse.

To comprehend the importance of Melatonin to full extent, we need to understand how lack of Melatonin – which leads to deprived sleep, can cause weight gain.

Effects of sleep deprivation on our health

Effect of sleep deprivation

1. Stress

Sleep deprivation and disturbance of sleep patterns are closely linked to increased levels of the stress hormone called cortisol[4] Cortisol raises your blood sugar levels, causing insulin insensitivity/resistance [5]. Resistance to insulin makes our bodies produce more of it, which leads to increase hunger and weight gain. Also, elevated cortisol levels in our blood are causing us to crave more carbs/sugar and other caloric-dense foods.

Therefore, lack of sleep leads to increased cortisol levels, which have been concluded to have a strong effect on chances of gaining weight.

Mean±SE of baseline-adjusted changes in food cravings over 6 months using a sample-median split of high (≥762 pg/mL) and low ghrelin (<762 pg/mL). A median split was used for graphical display only.
Mean±SE of weight change (kgs) over 6 months using sample-median splits of high and low cortisol and chronic stress. The median splits were as follows: cortisol≥14.67 mcg/dL and chronic stress≥9.
Mean±SE of weight change (kgs) over 6 months using sample-splits of high and low values of appetite-related hormones. The median splits were as follows: ghrelin≥762 pg/mL; leptin≥8.56 ng/mL. A clinical-cut off was used for insulin≥15 µU/mL; glucose≥100 mg/dL; HOMA-IR≥3. Splits were used for graphical display only.

2. Effects on “feel good” hormones.

Sleep deprivation prevents your brain from releasing critical hormones such as serotonin and dopamine, which makes you feel happier and fuller for longer, causing you to eat less during a meal.

The study has shown that after 8 days of being sleep deprived our serotonergic neurotransmission, process responsible for serotonin production gets significantly disturbed (5) 

As serotonin is involved in mood and appetite, many individuals who fail to maintain normal weight and exercise schedules have insufficient levels of serotonin hormone.

3. Lack of sleep has been reported to reduce overall well-being.

Lack of sleep

Reduced sleep quality can lead to the following health issues:

  • Diabetes. According to studies, persons who sleep less than 5 hours every night have a higher risk of acquiring diabetes.
  • Reduced sexual desire. Men and women who do not receive enough quality sleep report a decrease in libido (lower sex drive) and decreased desire in sex, according to study. Men who suffer from sleep apnoea – a condition in which breathing difficulties result in intermittent sleep – also have reduced testosterone levels, which can affect their desire.
  • Increased risk of heart disease. Sleep deprivation appears to be connected with an increased heart rate, an increase in blood pressure, and elevated levels of specific chemicals associated with inflammation, all of which may place an additional strain on the heart.
  • Impaired fertility. Sleep deprivation has been linked to difficulties conceiving a child in both men and women. Regular sleep interruptions appear to contribute to infertility by decreasing the release of reproductive hormones.

Melatonin effects on hormones, mood, and sleep:

Melatonin effects

1. Melatonin Effects On Estrogen Levels:

Melatonin can be synthesized from serotonin, derived from the amino acid tryptophan. Once it’s produced, Melatonin works to regulate your hormones and keep them in balance.

It has been established that women naturally have significantly higher estrogen levels than men, which decrease with age until the lowest point during menopause.

Although lower estrogen levels are associated with many other benefits of integrative health (reduced risk of endometrial cancer, osteoporosis, etc.), they also cause sleep disturbances (8).

This is believed to occur because estrogen helps with dopamine production, a neurotransmitter that enables you to feel happy and cheerful at designated times. (9)

Also, low estrogen may also mean low serotonin levels, which can lead to mood swings and cause depression.

Melatonin has been found to help regulate estrogen and serotonin levels within the body. (10) For this reason, Melatonin levels can relieve most sleep disorders such as insomnia and delayed sleep phase syndrome (11).

Of course, if you suffer from any serious health conditions, it is always a good idea to consult your physician for advice regarding melatonin supplements.

2. Melatonin Effects On Testosterone:

Estrogen level reduction

High estrogen levels are associated with high testosterone levels – which causes excess hair growth, acne, and other symptoms that some women may find embarrassing or uncomfortable.

Estrogen level reduction also reduces these undesirable side effects and prevents heart disease. (12) Testosterone regulates muscle tissue and strength, which is why bodybuilders and weightlifters may benefit from testosterone supplementation.

In women, melatonin supplementation has been found to inhibit the release of testosterone within the adrenal glands.

As such, it can help reduce symptoms such as acne and excess hair growth in women with high estrogen levels without affecting testosterone production.

The following study showed that continuous supplementation of melatonin supplements has lead to 25% lower testosterone concentration in women. [13]

3. Melatonin Effects On Insulin:

Having a proper balance between cortisol and Melatonin is necessary for the healthy functioning of your metabolism and regulating blood sugar levels. (14)

Since cortisol helps raise blood sugar levels, having too much will result in diabetes and heart disease. It also activates body fat cells, which results in obesity if not controlled properly. (15)

Melatonin has been found to help decrease insulin secretion. (16) This may explain why people who have type 2 diabetes may benefit from melatonin supplements.

However, further studies are still being carried out in order to reach a conclusive result regarding this matter.

Bottom line:

Regulate the sleep cycle

Melatonin is a hormone that helps to regulate the sleep cycle in the human body. Irregular sleep patterns, bright light before bedtime prevents our bodies from producing enough levels of melatonin.

While melatonin supplementation will not lead to weight gain as observed in scientific studies, lack of it has a very high chance.

Lack of melatonin impacts our healthy sleep schedule and can lead to sleep-related health problems. Sleep deprivation has been shown to have an effect on the hormones that govern appetite and hunger.

Additionally, it can result in insulin resistance, which results in the accumulation of excess body fat mass. Even more, sleep deprivation results in cravings for high calorie foods making it hard to control weight gain.

Some frequently asked questions:

Melatonin Effects On Insulin

Q: Does Melatonin Gummies Make You Gain Weight?

Only if you’re consuming these gummies in large quantities, since they tend to pack some sugars. But a gummy or two per day does not carry any significance compared to overall importance of healthy diet.

Q: Side Effects Of Taking Excess Melatonin?

There is a very low risk of experiencing mild side effects such as headaches and dizziness when taking high dosages, which should be avoided. (23)

Since this hormone helps to regulate sleep, it’s recommended that you don’t take it at any time other than bedtime since there is a possibility that it will affect how much or how well you can sleep.

Q: Is Melatonin Safe To Take?

Some studies show its benefits on diseases like Alzheimer’s but only when used in small doses, so avoid its higher doses. (2425)

People who have insomnia, especially older individuals, may benefit from taking this hormone is used for the right reasons and dosage. It is not safe to use the long term due to unknown effects on fertility and children’s development. (26)

Q: When Should You Start Taking Melatonin for Weight loss?

You can start taking it as soon as puberty has occurred, usually around age 10 or 11. (27) The adrenal glands manufacture these hormones at a young age because they play an important role during this time of our life is quite different from during adulthood. (28)

Beneficial effect of losing weight in melatonin supplementation is indirect – it helps to regulate our sleep cycles, which leads to further health benefits while we try to lose weight effectively.

Anna A. Cudney

This is Anna A. Cudney. I have created “Lean Mates” website to help people lose body weight. I have faced the problem of obesity and tried many things to re-shape my body. My goal of this website is to share my experience to help others lose their weight too.

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