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What Is the Connection between Melatonin and Weight Gain?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated May 17, 2024
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The primary connection between melatonin and weight gain is that some studies have shown that melatonin may help to prevent weight gain. How this works isn’t entirely understood, but it has been shown that melatonin may help lower risk factors for obesity and may also help prevent certain health conditions related to being overweight. Even with this evidence, melatonin is not commonly prescribed for weight gain.

Melatonin is naturally manufactured by the pineal gland in the brand. It is the hormone responsible for inducing sleep, and it is made in greater quantities in response to darkness. Supplement versions are sold and they are often taken in order to treat insomnia. Although melatonin is generally considered safe for most people, it is not recommended that consumers start taking it without consulting with a doctor.

Many of the studies performed linking melatonin and weight gain were originally done with rats. In these studies, it was noticed that melatonin helped to remove body fat. Later studies were done with human volunteers, and these results were still seen. Other health-boosting effects have also been linked with melatonin consumption. Participants taking this supplement noted a decrease in triglycerides, cholesterol, and blood sugar.

These health conditions also link melatonin and weight gain, since each of them is heavily linked with being overweight or obese. Taking melatonin is has also been linked with a reduction in heart attack risk, and it may prevent diabetes. The exact reasons for this are not known. Additionally, because melatonin impacts blood sugar, those who are diabetic should only take it under supervision. This is especially true for people with a tendency toward hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.

Despite the positive studies involving melatonin and weight gain, it is not recommended that consumers attempt to medicate themselves. Those with certain health conditions shouldn’t take these supplements, and even people with conditions that melatonin may help should consult a medical professional before starting any new treatments. There are certain medications that aren’t compatible with melatonin.

Most pharmacies and some drug and health food stores carry melatonin supplements, which usually come in doses of 1 mg up to 10 mg. There are also slow-release options intended to help those with insomnia fall and stay asleep. Since more studies are needed to determine how effective a melatonin regimen for weight loss would be, it is not typically recommended for this reason in particular.

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Discussion Comments

By anon992038 — On Aug 08, 2015

I took Melatonin to sleep but I gained weight. I always had difficulty in gaining weight. I could eat as much as I wanted, but not gain much weight.

Now, after using Melatonin, my weight has increased, even though I don't eat much. My period also stopped after using Melatonin. I am going to stop because I do not feel OK when my period does not come on time. It does help me to sleep. - Lilly

By anon950551 — On May 11, 2014

I started taking Melatonin to help me sleep six months ago and gained 20 pounds. I quit last week because I knew intuitively there was a connection. I have lost five pounds in one week so far. I never knew how harmful this supplement was. I also read where it can increase chances of blood clots, and I had a deep vein thrombosis four years ago. In no way is this hormone safe to take without a doctor's permission.

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