Melatonin is a hormone that the human brain produces naturally. Almost all Melatonin supplements provide a synthetic version of the hormone that is bioidentical, which means it is chemically identical to the version produced by the brain.
Melatonin supplementation is well known for effectively regulating sleep, and for that use it appears in my list of top tier nootropics. But it also has some surprises up its sleeve -- benefits that most people have never heard about.
Before revealing the surprises, let's review the evidence for Melatonin's core benefit. Supplementation may promote sleep, according to multiple peer-reviewed, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies:
Evaluation of sleep, puberty and mental health in children with long-term melatonin treatment for chronic idiopathic childhood sleep onset insomnia. In 2011, this study found that "Melatonin treatment in children can be sustained over a long period of time without substantial deviation of the development of children with respect to sleep quality, puberty development and mental health scores, as compared with the general Dutch population".
The effect of prolonged-release melatonin on sleep measures and psychomotor performance in elderly patients with insomnia. In 2009, this study found that "nightly treatment with [Melatonin] effectively induced sleep and improved perceived quality of sleep in patients with primary insomnia aged > or =55 years", "daytime psychomotor performance was not impaired and was consistently better with [Melatonin] compared with placebo", and Melatonin "was well tolerated with no evidence of rebound effects".
Prolonged-release melatonin improves sleep quality and morning alertness in insomnia patients aged 55 years and older and has no withdrawal effects. In 2007, this study found that Melatonin improves "quality of sleep and morning alertness in primary insomnia patients aged 55 years and older -- suggesting more restorative sleep, and without withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation".
The effects of melatonin on tinnitus and sleep. In 2006, this study found that "the impact of melatonin on sleep was greatest among patients with the worst sleep quality".
- Melatonin for the prevention and treatment of jet lag. In 2002, this study found that "Melatonin is remarkably effective in preventing or reducing jet-lag, and occasional short-term use appears to be safe".
Now let's take a look at the surprises! First, Melatonin supplementation may support stomach and esophageal function, according to these studies on humans:
Effects of melatonin and tryptophan on healing of gastric and duodenal ulcers with Helicobacter pylori infection in humans. In 2011, this study found that Melatonin "added to omeprazole treatment, significantly accelerates healing rate of H. pylori infected chronic gastroduodenal ulcers over that obtained with omeprazole alone".
Melatonin or l-tryptophan accelerates healing of gastroduodenal ulcers in patients treated with omeprazole. In 2011, this study found that Melatonin, "when added to omeprazole treatment, accelerates ulcer healing".
Role of melatonin in mucosal gastroprotection against aspirin-induced gastric lesions in humans. In 2010, this study found that "melatonin and its precursor tryptophan given orally significantly reduce gastric lesions induced by ASA".
- The potential therapeutic effect of melatonin in Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease. In 2010, this study found that "melatonin is a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of GERD [and] It is an effective line of treatment in relieving epigastric pain and heartburn".
Next surprise? Melatonin supplementation may reduce ringing in the ears, according to these studies on humans:
Melatonin: can it stop the ringing? In 2011, this study found that "Melatonin is associated with a statistically significant decrease in tinnitus intensity and improved sleep quality in patients with chronic tinnitus".
Treatment of central and sensorineural tinnitus with orally administered Melatonin and Sulodexide: personal experience from a randomized controlled study. In 2009, this study found that "Melatonin in combination with Sulodexide is, in our opinion, a viable treatment option for patients suffering from central or sensorineural tinnitus".
The effects of melatonin on tinnitus and sleep. In 2006, this study found that "Melatonin may be a safe treatment for patients with idiopathic tinnitus, especially those with sleep disturbance due to tinnitus".
- Effect of melatonin on tinnitus. In 1998, this study found Melatonin "to be useful in the treatment of subjective tinnitus".
And there's a third surprise! In addition to being a nootropic, Melatonin may be a geroprotector. Supplementation may decrease oxidative stress, according to these studies on humans:
Melatonin administrated immediately before an intense exercise reverses oxidative stress, improves immunological defenses and lipid metabolism in football players. In 2012, this study found that "treatment with melatonin in acute sports exercise reversed oxidative stress, improved defenses and lipid metabolism, which would result in an improvement in fitness".
Melatonin supplementation ameliorates oxidative stress and inflammatory signaling induced by strenuous exercise in adult human males. In 2011, this study found that "melatonin supplementation before strenuous exercise reduced muscle damage through modulation of oxidative stress and inflammation signaling associated with this physical challenge".
Melatonin treatment improves blood pressure, lipid profile, and parameters of oxidative stress in patients with metabolic syndrome. In 2011, this study found that "Melatonin administered for 2 months significantly improved antioxidative defense".
- Melatonin in the treatment of cancer: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials and meta-analysis. In 2005, this study found "great potential for melatonin in treating cancer".
In fact, Melatonin may be a more potent antioxidant than other well known antioxidants like Vitamin C, Resveratrol, or EGCG, according to this study:
- Melatonin, xanthurenic acid, resveratrol, EGCG, vitamin C and alpha-lipoic acid differentially reduce oxidative DNA damage induced by Fenton reagents: a study of their individual and synergistic actions. In 2003, this study found that, "among the antioxidants tested, melatonin was the most effective ... Melatonin reversed the pro-oxidant effect of resveratrol and vitamin C, had an antagonistic effect when used in combination with EGCG and it exhibited synergism in combination with vitamin C and with LA."
Supplementation with Melatonin may also provide a subtle decrease to blood pressure, as well as a subtle increase to sleep quality, blood flow, and memory. Evidence for these effects may not be as reliable. See the Melatonin article at Examine.com for more studies and details.
This information is provided for educational purposes only. It is not provided to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult a physician before and during use of any dietary supplements.
Based on these and other studies, Thrivous developed Serenity, a nootropic dietary supplement for nightly use. Serenity's ingredients include 5 mg of Melatonin. Accordingly, supplementation with Serenity may help you sleep, and be more productive the next day. Talk to your doctor about starting Serenity today!