Low doses of melatonin and diurnal effects on thermoregulation and tolerance to uncompensable heat stress
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This study examined whether the reported hypothermic effect of melatonin ingestion increased tolerance to exercise at 40 degrees C, for trials conducted either in the morning or afternoon, while subjects were wearing protective clothing. Nine men performed four randomly ordered trials; two each in the morning (0930) and afternoon (1330) after the double-blind ingestion of either two placebo capsules or two 1-mg capsules of melatonin. Despite significant elevations in plasma melatonin to over 1,000 ng/ml 1 h after the ingestion of the first 1-mg dose, rectal temperature (T(re)) was unchanged before or during the heat-stress exposure. Also, all other indexes of temperature regulation and the heart rate response during the uncompensable heat stress were unaffected by the ingestion of melatonin. Initial T(re) was increased during the afternoon (37.1 +/- 0.2 degrees C), compared with the morning (36.8 +/- 0.2 degrees C) exposures, and these differences remained throughout the uncompensable heat stress, such that final T(re) was also increased for the afternoon (39.2 +/- 0.2 degrees C) vs. the morning (39.0 +/- 0.3 degrees C) trials. Tolerance times and heat storage were not different among the exposures at approximately 110 min and 16 kJ/kg, respectively. It was concluded that this low dose of melatonin had no impact on tolerance to uncompensable heat stress and that trials conducted in the early afternoon were associated with an increased T(re) tolerated at exhaustion that offset the circadian influence on resting T(re) and thus maintained tolerance times similar to those of trials conducted in the morning.
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