Your Melatonin Level

What Causes Abnormal Melatonin Levels?

To successfully treat and prevent recurrence of abnormal melatonin levels we need to understand and — if possible — remove the underlying causes and risk factors.  We need to ask: "What else is going on inside the body that might allow abnormal melatonin levels to develop?"

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Accurate diagnosis of the factors behind abnormal melatonin levels consists of three steps:

Step 1: List the Possible Causative Factors

Identify all disease conditions, lifestyle choices and environmental risk factors that can lead to abnormal melatonin levels.  Here are eight possibilities:
  • Stress
  • Lack Of Sleep
  • Caffeine Intoxication
  • Premature Aging
  • Alcohol Consequences
  • Drug Side-Effects
  • Overtraining
  • Cigarette Smoke Damage

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

Identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
severe eyelid twitch
difficulty getting out of bed
heart racing/palpitations
much reduced sense of smell
much secondhand smoke exposure
regularly feeling unusually cold
paying great attention to detail
physical abuse during childhood
dark areas under eyes
regular drowsiness
regular episodes of diarrhea
severe muscle atrophy
... and more than 100 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of abnormal melatonin levels:
Cause Probability Status
Drug Side-Effects 98% Confirm
Alcohol Consequences 25% Unlikely
Overtraining 27% Unlikely
Premature Aging 5% Ruled out
Stress 5% Ruled out
Lack Of Sleep 0% Ruled out
Cigarette Smoke Damage 0% Ruled out
Caffeine Intoxication 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate having had recent lab tests, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
What are your melatonin levels when you are not using supplemental melatonin?
Possible responses:
→ Don't know
→ Very low
→ Low
→ Normal
→ Elevated
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate having very low melatonin levels, having low melatonin levels, having normal melatonin levels or having elevated melatonin levels, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
(Prescription) Drug Side-Effects

Certain drugs, for example MAO inhibitors, Fluvoxamine and Desipramine, can increase melatonin levels.  Some drugs, including NSAIDs, beta-blockers, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medications, steroids, sleeping pills, and tranquilizers, can deplete melatonin levels.

Alcohol-related Problems

One of the things that impair melatonin production is alcohol.

Caffeine Intoxication

Caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine deplete melatonin levels.

Premature/Signs of Aging

Melatonin declines rapidly as we age, with levels generally minimal by age 70.

Stress

Chronic stress causes the production of too much cortisol, which in turn lowers melatonin.

The Effects Of Overtraining

Exercise impairs the production of melatonin and exercising in the evening decreases melatonin for up to 3 hours afterwards.

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