As the medical community works around the clock to develop ways to fight COVID-19, certain discoveries are being made. One of the latest discoveries is the potential of melatonin to help fight COVID. To understand why, we first have to examine what role melatonin plays in our body, and what happens to it as we age.
You are probably familiar with melatonin and it’s role in sleep. As the sun beings to set, your pineal gland starts to secret melatonin, then as the sun beings to rise melatonin production decreases. This hormone is crucial in aiding our sleep cycle. However, that is not melatonin’s only function. In fact melatonin has been used to treat sleep disorders, delirium, atherosclerosis, respiratory disease and viral infections. Studies have found that melatonin also protects the brain, it is in fact an antioxidant by fighting free radicals, and stimulates the nervous system. One of the best things about this hormone is that it is incredibly safe as a supplement, can be purchased without a prescription.
As humans age, our body naturally begins to produce less and less melatonin. This is important when considering that older adults are the primary risk group for COVID fatality. Older people who take melatonin supplements have been found to helpful in aiding the brain to fight off neuro-degenerative diseases. One study found that individuals with Alzheimer’s who were administered melatonin were found to have decreased symptoms and less cognitive decline.
Another point to note is that males naturally produces 1.5x less melatonin than women, and men are more likely to die as a result of COVID than women. Now this is not to say that there is in fact a causation between melatonin and COVID, however there is a correlation that needs to be considered.
Melatonin and COVID
The most deadly affects of the coronavirus have been caused by inflammation. Specifically respiratory failure tied to inflation. This is where melatonin, a natural anti-inflammatory, come into play. While melatonin itself is not viricidal, it does posses some antiviral properties. By enhancing the immune system, and acting as an anti-inflammatory, its allows the body to create a less hospitable environment for the virus.
Melatonin has also been found to slow down apoptosis , that is a process wherein cells infected with a virus actually kill themselves. This is the body’s way of attempting to stop the spread of a disease. This can be helpful in some diseases, but unfortunately it can cause more issues than it solves in some illnesses, such as coronavirus. By stopping this process, melatonin can actually be helping, by allowing your bodies immune system to kill off the virus on it’s own.
We can see that melatonin has a wide range of properties that are essential in fighting off COVID, anti-inflammatory, immune enhancement, and anti-oxidant. At this time we can not say for certain that melatonin should be used as a treatment for the coronavirus. However, given the fact that there is virtually no risk of adverse side effects, and it has been show to be effective in animal testing, we can reasonably assume that it would be highly beneficial, especially for older adults, and men, both of whom are lower in this hormone.
Melatonin is the principle hormone produced and secreted by the brain’s pineal gland and is responsible for maintaining circadian rhythm (the body’s biological clock), regulating the endocrine (hormone) system and supporting the immune system. Low levels of melatonin could result in poor sleep patterns, low mood, delayed sleep phase syndrome, insomnia associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, irritability, learning disorders, poor concentration, seasonal affective disorder, menstrual disturbances and headaches.
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Dr. Jenny P. Wilkins, NMD, CRA
Dr. Jenny is a Naturopathic Doctor and clinical research associate. She is a successful entrepreneur as the CEO/Proprietor of AgeVital Pharmacies in Sarasota, Florida. She is a charismatic media personality and television producer with regular appearances on ABC, NBC, TBN, CBS, the CW and Lifetime. As a health and wellness expert and educator, Dr. Jenny lectures all around the world at various conferences about the endocannabinoid system and functional integrative healthcare and how natural solutions work to treat a multitude of diseases and illnesses. She authors books for healthcare practitioners and consumers and educates the healthcare community and individuals using her extensive research and findings about the endocannabinoid system.
She is the President and Chairman of The American Academy of the Endocannabinoid System (AAECS) and sits on the Executive Board of Directors for the American Board of Medical Marijuana Physicians (ABMMP). Her expansive credentials include a Board Certification at The American Board of Anti-Aging Health Practitioners – (ABAAHP), a Diplomate of the AAIM College of Nutrition and a Board Certification with the (AAIM) Board of Integrative Medicine. Dr. Jenny is also a member of the American Academy Of Anti-Aging Medicine, serves as a senior business and financial advisor for Nuvusio, Conference Advisory Board Medical Chair of the Florida Medical Cannabis Conference & Exhibition (FMCCE) and the medical director for Biom-Pharmaceuticals and Chief Scientific Officer And Medical Director for M3-Biodynamics and M3-Innovations.