Did you know that melatonin is being administered as part of the FDA's 'emergency authorized COVID cocktail?' Yes, really.
New exciting studies show that melatonin might play a powerful role in helping COVID sufferers fight viral infection in the short, mid, and long term and alleviate the lingering COVID-19 long haul symptoms - particularly the neurological ones.
Often overlooked, melatonin is so much more than just a sleep aid. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, anti-apoptotic (reducing cell death), and neuroprotective - which is becoming more important than ever as we start to see the onset of brain-related neurological long-haul symptoms.
Let's get into it.
The science behind melatonin
Best known for sleep, melatonin is a hormone produced by the body that helps with the timing of your circadian rhythms (your 24-hour internal clock that plays out every day). The body produces it in response to darkness (it says to the body - 'hey, it's time to sleep')
Mostly known to be created in the pineal gland in the brain, new studies and research also show that melatonin is created in your gut and even reproductive organisms.
Melatonin and short / mid-term COVID-19?
Many of the COVID-19 clinical symptoms are caused by the body's exaggerated immune response to the virus, known as the 'cytokine' storm. This over-ambitious immune response leads to damaging reactive oxygen species (ROS) that drive inflammation and oxidative stress within the body. As well as elevated levels of cytokines, viral infection also leads to increased neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio, decreased oxygen saturation, and alteration of blood structure.
Due to its ROS-scavenging and anti-inflammatory properties, melatonin has been proposed as a treatment to help in the fight against COVID-19.
It is being shown to reduce and inhibit the cytokine storm within the body, as well as stimulating the creation of anti-oxidative enzymes within the body to help fight against this storm.
It also is immune-boosting which is important because it is now understood that viruses that create a cytokine storm further decrease melatonin synthesis and the strength of your immune system at a time when you need it the most.
It is also thought that melatonin reduces acute lung oxidative injury and can also help to fight against pyroptosis (a highly inflammatory form of cell death) that contributes to severe lung pathology in cases like COVID-19.
Let's talk science
Most scientific research at present focuses on the short and mid-term symptoms of COVID-19.
A study early on in the pandemic by the Cleveland Clinic found that melatonin consumption led to a 28% lower chance of getting infected with COVID in the first place (tying back to the immune point), and in October, a small-scale clinical trial in Iraq found that taking 10mG of melatonin each evening before sleep reduced the risk of COVID-related blood clots and also death and a study out of Spain went one step further, concluding that administering melatonin led to a 40% reduction in the risk of death.
And Melatonin and Long COVID?
We are starting to see more on this. Dr Navaz Karnija, a scientist and neurologist at UC San Diego, has been quoted saying that approximately 55% of COVID-19 patients will experience at least one lingering symptom for around six months after the infection. These long-COVID symptoms can be things like fatigue, shortness of breath, headaches, or brain fog.
How does this happen?
The COVID-19 virus is thought to generate very high levels of neutrophil myeloperoxidase in the body, contributing to the development of neutrophil extracellular traps. Entirely simplified, these play a part in driving many of the deficiencies associated with long-COVID, particularly nitric oxide, oxygen, and vitamin B12.
And the neurological ones? It is thought that things such as brain fog are caused by coronavirus entering the brain cells via a receptor known as the ACE-2 receptor.
Is Melatonin neuro-protective?
Just this week, researchers in France have released a study concluding that high doses of melatonin may work to block the coronavirus from entering the brains of mice, as well as working to reduce swelling and virus-induced damage of the small vessels in the brain. The French study found melatonin changed the shape of the ACE-2 receptors, preventing the virus from being able to bind to the receptor and access the brain.
Did someone say neuroprotective?
Note, however, that this study has not yet been peer-reviewed.
Where do we go from here?
First, understand the potential power of melatonin as a safe and cost-effective therapeutic support agent in the short, mid, and long-term battle with COVID.
Second, be prepared if you want to have it as part of your armor. Doctors in Texas published a study suggesting that newly infected COVID patients should start self-dosing melatonin daily as soon as they test positive, so having some melatonin on hand is a smart move.
Three, think about sourcing. Supplementing with high-quality liposomal melatonin is critical, and at Agent, we love sublingual melatonin for optimal absorption. Jena uses this brand
Four, talk with your doctor or research your dosing, so you are well-informed and prepared for when you start to take it. There are no clear guidelines or rules around consumption at the moment - but some studies suggest that if you are fighting the virus, you should self-administer 2.5 to 10mg as early as the first day of diagnosis.
As ever, if you're considering self-dosing, always speak with your doctor.
***THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN APPROVED OR REGULATED BY THE FDA. WE ARE NOT DOCTORS, THEREFORE ALWAYS CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR FIRST.