Everything You Need to Know About Melatonin: Myths vs. Facts

  • Melatonin is an extremely powerful hormone that’s naturally released in the body. It helps to control sleep wake cycles and acts as a strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immuno-modulatory agent.
  • While it’s usually best to optimize your body’s own production of melatonin as much as you can, even high-dose melatonin supplements are extremely safe and show promising effects against degenerative diseases and chronic infection.
  • Higher doses of melatonin can be used alongside other therapies to naturally boost cellular detox, making it a powerful tool for your cellular health.

What if one powerful hormone could completely change the way you feel?

If you’ve been chasing whole-body wellness or fighting a chronic illness for some time, you know a single “fix-it-all” remedy simply doesn’t exist.

And we know that, too.

But if there’s any supplement that can really make a big difference in your overall wellness, it might be melatonin.

We know you’ve probably only heard of melatonin for its sleep benefits. Even then, there are some controversial opinions out there about whether melatonin supplements are actually good for you (and yes, we have all heard Andrew Huberman’s stance on melatonin).

We’ve gathered all the science so you don’t have to — and created the ultimate fact or fiction blog that addresses everything you need to know about melatonin benefits and safety.

Table of Contents:

What is Melatonin?

Melatonin, the unsung hero of our well-being, is a natural hormone produced in the brain. While it's renowned for its role in promoting restful sleep, it's a versatile powerhouse with far-reaching benefits. Beyond regulating sleep, melatonin also boasts remarkable antioxidant properties and aids in cellular detoxification.

How to Boost Melatonin Levels Naturally

The good news is, it’s incredibly easy to experience melatonin benefits through supplements. They’re proven to be safe, accessible, and high doses of melatonin can be used to fight against chronic infections and degenerative diseases (because of its antioxidant potential).

But if you don’t feel you need high-dose melatonin in your supplement routine, there are many ways to optimize your body’s own production of the hormone. Here are some things you can do to ensure melatonin levels in your body are optimized:

  • Set your circadian rhythm. Melatonin is naturally produced in the brain when it’s time to sleep (particularly, when sunlight begins to dim). But if your regular sleep patterns are disrupted, melatonin production and release may be interrupted.
  • Pay attention to your serotonin levels. Serotonin is the precursor to melatonin — so you need good serotonin levels in order to produce melatonin (and that means better gut health!).
  • Most melatonin is actually made in the gut. Sound familiar? Over 90% of serotonin is also made in the gut. Poor gut health can have a drastic impact on your melatonin levels, meaning it can also disrupt your sleep, glymphatic drainage, and brain power throughout the day.
  • Cut down on screen time before bed. Since melatonin production is triggered by darkness , screen time can negatively impact feelings of sleepiness. It’s best to put screens away at least 2 hours before bed. Blue light glasses, low ambient lighting in your home, and screen protectors can help, too.

Melatonin Myths

There’s a lot of information floating around about melatonin benefits and risks. Fortunately, a lot of the perceived fears around melatonin are just simply not true. Based on science and recent medical studies, we’re breaking down these melatonin myths.

Myth #1: Melatonin Just Makes You Sleepy

It’s true that melatonin is a key player in your sleep-wake cycle. But it does so much more for the human body. Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant, cellular detox agent, and anti-inflammatory molecule and is used throughout the body, not just the brain. It’s becoming more commonly used to treat cases of chronic infection (mycotoxin illness or Lyme disease), and it’s shown promising effects for patients with degenerative diseases, like Alzheimer's and Parkinson’s disease. 

Myth #2: You Can Take Too Much Melatonin

It’s totally safe to take higher doses of melatonin — though typically higher doses are only recommended for people fighting chronic illnesses or degenerative diseases. In one study, multiple sclerosis patients were recommended between 50-300 mg of melatonin per day.

Some things to consider before taking higher doses of melatonin:

  • Make sure you’re already supporting your melatonin levels naturally with a healthy diet and proper sleep hygiene.
  • Work with a doctor if you struggle with kidney or liver issues that may impact the metabolization of melatonin, or you simply want professional guidance on finding your ideal dose.
  • Go slowly — especially if you have a chronic infection. Detoxing too fast can cause uncomfortable symptoms.
  • It’s always best to use the lowest effective dose for your body. Try to find a happy medium instead of immediately gravitating toward the highest dose. Don’t be afraid to start low and go slow!

Myth #3: Melatonin Supplements “Shut Off” Your Natural Melatonin Production

It’s the oldest myth in the book. Seriously, a study from 1997 (and other studies since) shows that regular melatonin supplements don’t change your body’s natural production of melatonin at all. While some hormones have a feedback mechanism that slows or shuts down natural production of the hormone when it is supplied exogenously (like the birth control pill), melatonin does not have this type of feedback mechanism. We’re not sure why this myth is still perpetuated.

However, like many substances made in the body, melatonin levels decrease as you age. So melatonin supplements can offer much-needed healing benefits to those impacted by chronic infections, stress, trauma, aging, and hope for degenerative diseases.

Myth #4: Melatonin is Only Created in the Brain

Okay, melatonin is produced in the brain. But it’s also created in the gut. In fact, one study shows that there’s at least 400 times more melatonin in the gut than is present in the pineal gland (in the brain).

Here’s the thing about your gut health: it impacts everything. Poor gut health doesn’t just mean uncomfortable digestive symptoms, it can impact sleep, hormone function, and your ability to create a powerful antioxidant hormone, like melatonin.

Melatonin Benefits and Facts

Melatonin is way more fascinating and powerful than you’ve been led to believe by the mainstream health conversation. For years, melatonin has been a central focus for studies relating to sleep, hormone health, COVID-19, chronic infection, and inflammation. Let’s dive into the many melatonin benefits you’ve probably never heard about.

Fact #1: Melatonin Can Help Reduce Symptoms of Long COVID-19

“Melatonin may be particularly effective at reducing the signs and symptoms of [COVID-19] infection due to its functions as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immuno-modulatory agent.”

That’s a quote from a recent study that looked at melatonin supplements as one resource for sufferers of long COVID-19. In many patients, COVID has a lasting impact on the circadian rhythm. It can leave symptoms of brain fog and put patients at a higher risk for metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

The anti-inflammatory benefits and powerful impact on the glymphatic system (the lymphatic detox system for the brain) provided by melatonin may be crucial for those suffering from long-COVID symptoms.

Fact #2: Melatonin is Effective for Chronic Infection and a Powerful Detox Agent for Your Cells

If you have a chronic infection like Lyme disease or mycotoxin illness, then you’ve probably heard of binders. Binders are remedies like activated charcoal, chlorella, bentonite clay, and cholestyramine that bind to toxins and flush them out of the body.

In many cases, binders are absolutely necessary to restore the health of someone with a chronic infection. However, binders don’t single out just toxins. They often take key nutrients like minerals, cholesterol, essential fatty acids, and phospholipids out of the body, too.

The problem with this is that these binders deplete the cell, particularly the cell membrane, of the nutrients it needs to heal and detoxify. What if there was a way to remove toxins, while actually adding to the body’s nutritional stores?

Maybe there is. Phospholipids, fatty acids, and antioxidants (like melatonin) strengthen the cellular membrane so that it can detoxify on its own. Unlike binders, these nutrients can help the body naturally detoxify without depleting the cell, allowing it to rebuild its infrastructure while simultaneously quenching inflammation.

Fact #3: Melatonin Benefits Collagen Synthesis

Collagen is a protein that’s behind the health and formation of ligaments, muscles, skin, and tendons. In supplement form, collagen is commonly used with the intent of smoothing wrinkles, strengthening nails, weight loss, and hair growth.

But adding more collagen to your diet doesn’t necessarily help your body make more collagen. It’s important to look at collagen synthesis, too, and surprisingly — melatonin is involved. Specifically, it kicks type I collagen synthesis into gear and impacts bone health.

Melatonin may also boost the overall appearance of your skin due to antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and its natural UV protection

Fact #4: Melatonin Has More Antioxidant Power than Vitamin C or Vitamin E

Seriously, melatonin is packed full of antioxidant potential.

As a refresher, antioxidants help to banish free radicals from your cells. Antioxidants are a powerful nutrient to help prevent the development of various diseases — and one of the biggest contributors to healthy cellular function. Vitamin C and vitamin E are both well-known for their antioxidant content, but melatonin is an even more powerful antioxidant than these vitamins.

This is why it’s so important to prioritize sleep and our circadian rhythm — protecting our own melatonin production, and supplementing when needed.

Fact #5: Melatonin Benefits the Glymphatic System

It’s common for toxins and cellular waste to accumulate in the brain and central nervous system. Actually, it’s so common that your brain has a whole system dedicated to clearing and removing toxins. The glymphatic system cleanses the brain and central nervous system of toxins — but as far as we know, it only kicks in while you’re asleep.

Melatonin is well-known for its positive impact on sleep quality — but its benefits on the glymphatic system don’t just stop with a better REM cycle. In one systematic review, melatonin was observed for its impact on Alzheimer's and other degenerative disorders. They found that melatonin actually increased the amount of toxins removed from the brain through the glymphatic system. A deeper clean for your brain? Yes, please.

Harness Cellular Detox to Banish Chronic Infection

By activating cellular detox, you allow your body to fight against chronic infection to the very best of its ability. We believe that by empowering the cell, you’re empowering your whole body — and even better, you’re feeding it with vital nutrients that will continue to benefit you, even once you’re healthy.

Cellular detox helps you add to your body’s nutritional stores, rather than depleting them. If you’re using high-dose melatonin or getting antioxidant IV therapy to help your body fight against infection, we want you to meet our favorite supplement add-on for cellular detox: BodyBio PC.

Phospholipids are what make up the cell membrane. They help to support the mitochondria and eliminate brain fog. And, they naturally help your cells detox — while adding essential nutrients to the body, to give you your best shot at real, long-term wellness.

Detox Shouldn’t Hurt — Try BodyBio PC

References

Cardinali D. P. (2019). Melatonin: Clinical Perspectives in Neurodegeneration. Frontiers in endocrinology, 10, 480. https://doi.org/10.3389/fendo.2019.00480

Menczel Schrire, Z., Phillips, C. L., Chapman, J. L., Duffy, S. L., Wong, G., D'Rozario, A. L., Comas, M., Raisin, I., Saini, B., Gordon, C. J., McKinnon, A. C., Naismith, S. L., Marshall, N. S., Grunstein, R. R., & Hoyos, C. M. (2022). Safety of higher doses of melatonin in adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of pineal research, 72(2), e12782. https://doi.org/10.1111/jpi.12782

Pablos, M. I., Agapito, M. T., Gutierrez, R., Recio, J. M., Reiter, R. J., Barlow-Walden, L., Acuña-Castroviejo, D., & Menendez-Pelaez, A. (1995). Melatonin stimulates the activity of the detoxifying enzyme glutathione peroxidase in several tissues of chicks. Journal of pineal research, 19(3), 111–115. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-079x.1995.tb00178.x

Erland, L. A., & Saxena, P. K. (2017). Melatonin Natural Health Products and Supplements: Presence of Serotonin and Significant Variability of Melatonin Content. Journal of clinical sleep medicine : JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 13(2), 275–281. https://doi.org/10.5664/jcsm.6462

Bubenik G. A. (2002). Gastrointestinal melatonin: localization, function, and clinical relevance. Digestive diseases and sciences, 47(10), 2336–2348. https://doi.org/10.1023/a:1020107915919

Matsumoto, M., Sack, R. L., Blood, M. L., & Lewy, A. J. (1997). The amplitude of endogenous melatonin production is not affected by melatonin treatment in humans. Journal of pineal research, 22(1), 42–44. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-079x.1997.tb00301.x

Scheuer, C., Pommergaard, H. C., Rosenberg, J., & Gögenur, I. (2014). Melatonin's protective effect against UV radiation: a systematic review of clinical and experimental studies. Photodermatology, photoimmunology & photomedicine, 30(4), 180–188. https://doi.org/10.1111/phpp.12080

Nakade, O., Koyama, H., Ariji, H., Yajima, A., & Kaku, T. (1999). Melatonin stimulates proliferation and type I collagen synthesis in human bone cells in vitro. Journal of pineal research, 27(2), 106–110. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-079x.1999.tb00603.x

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