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Oxidative Stress and Inflammation


In a systematic review and meta-analysis of thirteen clinical trials, melatonin supplementation was found to decrease inflammatory compounds (TNF-alpha, IL-6, C-reactive protein), although with a more significant lowering effect on TNF-alpha and IL-6, especially with studies ≥ twelve weeks and at a dosage ≥ 10 mg/day (1). Athletes may be a population that experiences bouts of inflammation for which melatonin could help reduce proinflammatory mediators. In a study of oxidative stress markers in those who ran a 50 km (31 m) course, those who took melatonin had reduced levels of stress markers (2), underscoring not only the mechanism of antioxidant protection but also a practical use in athletes who are exposed to oxidative stress and inflammation that may increase their risk for vascular incidents.


Another clinical application of melatonin may be environmental toxicity. Melatonin may be one of the many antioxidants to help mitigate oxidative stress from human exposure to toxicants such as bisphenol A (3). However, much more research is needed to understand how melatonin provides benefit relative to other antioxidants.


Authors: Deanna Minich, Ph.D., Melanie Henning, ND, Catherine Darley, ND, Mona Fahoum, ND, Corey B. Schuler, DC, James Frame

Reviewer: Peer-review in Nutrients Journal

Last updated: September 22, 2022



1. Zarezadeh M, Khorshidi M, Emami M, Janmohammadi P, Kord-varkaneh H, Mousavi SM, et al. Melatonin supplementation and pro-inflammatory mediators: a systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials. Vol. 59, European Journal of Nutrition. 2020.

2. Ochoa JJ, Díaz-Castro J, Kajarabille N, García C, Guisado IM, de Teresa C, et al. Melatonin supplementation ameliorates oxidative stress and inflammatory signaling induced by strenuous exercise in adult human males. J Pineal Res. 2011;51(4).

3. Mączka W, Grabarczyk M, Wińska K. Can Antioxidants Reduce the Toxicity of Bisphenol? Vol. 11, Antioxidants. 2022.

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