I remember the first time I started a ketogenic diet; it felt as I had insomnia for the first time in my life. I wondered if I could take sleep aids like melatonin on keto and this is what I found.
Melatonin supplements can safely be taken while following a keto diet without disrupting ketosis. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone produced by various tissues in the body. The supplement form should not contain any carbohydrates unless it is in candy or a flavored beverage.
One of the first supplements I tried to help me with my keto insomnia was melatonin, and it worked. Naturally, I wondered if melatonin would hinder my weight loss progress and dug into melatonin research.
In this article, I will delve deeper into melatonin, what it does, other benefits, the best brands to take, and whether or not you SHOULD be taking it long term.
Can I Take Melatonin On Keto?
The good news is that you can supplement melatonin while following a ketogenic diet. The only caveat here is that you don't purchase a melatonin supplement such as a sugar-filled candy or drink.
Otherwise, melatonin is perfectly safe and can be useful and help you fall asleep much quicker while following a ketogenic diet.
Will Melatonin Kick You Out Of Ketosis?
What most people don't realize is that ketosis is a metabolic state. Meaning, it's a process that occurs in your body when there is a lack of carbohydrates.
Furthermore, this means that to get into AND stay in ketosis, it merely requires you severely reduce the number of carbohydrates you consume. This also means that this process also doesn't depend on how much fat you eat.
You heard that correctly.
You can get and stay in ketosis while consuming very little if any, fat.
Though I wouldn't recommend going that route for most individuals.
Since melatonin doesn’t have any carbohydrates, it is considered safe and keto-friendly. Of course, if you are eating melatonin gummies or drinking a melatonin drink of some sort, chances are it may have added sugars.
What Is Melatonin?
Most people don't realize that melatonin isn't a mineral, vitamin, or ingredient found in some exotic plant; it's a hormone.
The hormone melatonin is made by your pineal gland in response to darkness and helps regulate your circadian rhythm (internal 24-hour clock).1
How Is Melatonin Made?
You may be wondering, how is melatonin made if it's a hormone our body produces?
And that's a fair question.
Melatonin supplements are made in two different ways, naturally or synthetically.
The natural form of melatonin is made from the pineal gland of animals. Remember, it's your pineal gland that creates the hormone for you.
The other form of melatonin is synthetically made in a lab.
What Does Melatonin Do?
Naturally, you're now wondering how does melatonin work exactly?
Another fair question.
When your body senses darkness, as when the sun begins to set, your pineal gland begins to produce and release melatonin into your bloodstream.Melatonin acts to regulate your circadian rhythm (internal 24-hour clock) and helps you fall asleep.
Your circadian rhythm is why you may naturally wake up at a certain time without an alarm clock because technically, you have one internally. 2
Benefits of Supplementing With Melatonin
Besides helping those who may have trouble falling asleep, melatonin does have other benefits for those who wish to supplement with it.
Help with jet lag
You have a hard time falling asleep at the same time when switching time zones because your circadian rhythm is aligned with your time zone at home.
This effect is more pronounced when traveling eastward vs. westward.3
May reduce pre and post-operative anxiety
When compared to a placebo, melatonin helped to reduce pre and post-operative anxiety.4
Delayed sleep-wake phase disorder
Delayed sleep-wake phase disorder is considered the most commonly encountered circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorder.5
Essentially, as the name implies, there is a delay in when the body senses it is dark and prepares itself for bed. As a result, the individual is forced to sleep later and want to wake up later.6
Melatonin can be useful to help initiate the onset and subsequently assist with falling asleep.
May support eye health
Melatonin boosts antioxidant benefits that may help lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). 7 Some individuals experience dry eyes on keto.
May help with heartburn and stomach ulcers
Do you experience heartburn on keto? Melatonin's potent antioxidant properties may help alleviate heartburn and treat stomach ulcers. 89
May increase growth hormone levels in males
Human growth hormone is a hormone that is released while you sleep. Studies have shown that melatonin can influence pituitary hormone secretion, one of those being HGH. 1011
As mentioned previously, melatonin is a powerful antioxidant. Melatonin has different anti-cancer properties and general neuroprotective effects.
How Much Melatonin To Take?
There is currently no standard dose of melatonin that is widely prescribed.
For helping regulate your sleep cycle and falling asleep, you can uses doses between 0.5mg and 5mg. Some supplements do contain higher amounts of melatonin, but the benefits of melatonin are not dose-dependent.Taking more melatonin WILL NOT help you fall asleep faster.
Is It Bad To Take Melatonin Every Single Night?
There have been a handful of large scale studies. Both studies, which lasted as long as a year, found that melatonin's continued use did not result in tolerance build up. 121314 This means melatonin still exerts its effects after prolonged usage. Unlike caffeine, no tolerance build-up requires increased dosage or withdrawal associated with prolonged use.
Is Melatonin Safe?
Supplementing with melatonin is considered safe and not associated with any negative feedback.
Is Melatonin Addictive?
Supplementing with melatonin isn't considered addictive.
Are Melatonin Gummies Keto?
As I mentioned previously, all melatonin supplements are considered keto-friendly. However, the exception to that statement is if the supplement is delivered in a way that includes added carbohydrates to the mix.
In this case, melatonin gummies or melatonin sleep mixes are generally flavored and have added sugars to make them more palatable.
Are melatonin gummies keto? Melatonin gummies are generally filled with added sugars and should be avoided. However, if the supplement is sugar-free or very low in carbohydrates, it should generally be safe to include.
Recommended Brands of Melatonin
When it comes to melatonin supplementation, there is a large discrepancy in what the label claims it has and what it has. Meaning, what the label says it has and what it has are two different things.What's ecven scarier is that more than 70% of melatonin supplements weren't within 10 percent of what the label claimed it had. Certain melatonin supplements had as low as 83 percent less and high as 478 percent more than the label claimed.15
For this reason, it's best to stick with supplements that have been third-party tested. i.e., tested by an independent lab.
Here are a few brands of tested melatonin supplements that have what they say they have.
- Puritan's Pride Premium Super Strength Melatonin
- Nature Made Melatonin
- NOW Foods High Potency Melatonin
Keto Melatonin Takeaway
Melatonin is considered a safe supplement to take to help those who struggle to fall asleep or switch time zones and shouldn't affect getting in and maintaining a state of ketosis.
As it currently stands, melatonin is considered safe and non-habit forming. Another plus is that people don't seem to develop a tolerance to melatonin that would require doses to be increased.
It's best to start with a low dose of melatonin ~0.5mg and gradually make your way up to 5mg if results are not seen with lower doses. Just remember, a higher amount doesn't mean you'll fall asleep quicker.