Taking Melatonin: Can You Mix Melatonin and Alcohol

Melatonin and Alcohol WebMD states that “The combination of these two drugs may increase your risk of liver damage.” They go on to say that combining them increases the risk of death from cirrhosis or other types of liver disease. However, there are many factors which affect your chances of dying. For example, it’s not just whether you have been taking melatonin before drinking alcohol, but also how much you’ve already taken and how much alcohol you’re actually having. Some people have died even though they had no previous history of alcoholism. There are also studies which show that people who regularly consume alcoholic beverages do not get sicker than those who don’t.

So, does this mean that mixing melatonin and alcohol increases your chance of dying?

No! It simply means that combining them could cause harm. But, the risk is still small compared to other risks you might face while using alcohol and melatonin together.

How Does Melatonin Work?

Melatonin works by affecting the production of certain chemicals in your body. These chemicals include serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Serotonin is responsible for feelings of well being and happiness. Norepinephrine helps regulate blood pressure and heart rate. Dopamine is involved in movement, sensation, appetite, sexual behavior and mood. If you think about it, all these things depend on the balance between serotonin and norepinephrine (and possibly dopamine). Melatonin can change the effects of these chemicals in your body. It is thought that melatonin supplementation may help reduce sleep disorders, depression, and other bodily functions.

Is Melatonin safe?

Melatonin is generally considered safe when taken short-term (a few days or less). Long-term effects are unknown, however, there are reports of blood disorders while using it for an extended period of time. Melatonin can also increase sleepiness in some people while having the opposite effect on others. Melatonin supplements should not be used by people who are diagnosed with autoimmune diseases (like Lupus, MS, or Rheumatoid Arthritis) and certain types of cancer. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take melatonin either.

Melatonin and Alcohol: Are They a Dangerous Combo?

It’s generally not a great idea to mix melatonin and alcohol. The reason for this is that melatonin makes you more sleepy and alcohol has the opposite effect. They’re two very different substances which affect your brain in opposite ways. So, combining them can make you feel a little weird and possibly sleepy.

Sources & references used in this article:

Melatonin inhibits alcohol-induced increases in duodenal mucosal permeability in rats in vivo by A Sommansson, WSW Saudi… – American Journal of …, 2013 – journals.physiology.org

Melatonin present in beer contributes to increase the levels of melatonin and antioxidant capacity of the human serum by MD Maldonado, H Moreno, JR Calvo – Clinical Nutrition, 2009 – Elsevier

Melatonin administration: effects on rodent circadian rhythms by SM Armstrong, J Redman – … , melatonin and the pineal, 1985 – Wiley Online Library

Can melatonin improve adaptation to night shift? by M James, MO Tremea, JS Jones, JR Krohmer – The American journal of …, 1998 – Elsevier

Alcoholic fermentation induces melatonin synthesis in orange juice by …, S Medina, G Herrero‐Martín, I Cerrillo… – Journal of pineal …, 2014 – Wiley Online Library