melatonin improves symptoms and recovery time of COVID

Melatonin was identified early on as a promising treatment for COVID, but there was reluctance to follow up on the promise. Now the promise and the evidence has grown, but we still don’t hear anything about melatonin for COVID.

Way back at the beginning of the pandemic, in July 2020 (Vol.23, No.10 of The Natural Path newsletter), we wrote a section on melatonin in an article called “COVID-19: Interesting Ideas You Haven’t Heard.” We highlighted three theoretical publications that discussed the promise of melatonin for COVID. They pointed out that melatonin modulates the immune system, inflammatory response and fights free radical damage (Life Sci 2020;254:117808; (Int Rev Immunol 2020;1-10). They also pointed to melatonin’s ability to protect against acute lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome caused by viruses. They also site several studies establishing melatonin’s ability to calm cytokine storms caused by other conditions (Life Sci 2020;250:117583).

Then, in November 2020, the Cleveland Clinic identified melatonin as a promising treatment for COVID. In fact, of the 34 existing drugs they identified a potential treatments for COVID, melatonin was the most promising. It was also promising for preventing COVID.

Now the first double-blind study of melatonin and COVID has been reported. 44 people with mild to moderate COVID were given either standard care or standard care plus 3mg of melatonin 3 times a day for 14 days. The ones given melatonin had significantly greater improvement in cough, difficulty breathing, fatigue and pulmonary involvement. They also had lower levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein than the control group. Most importantly, the melatonin group were discharged from hospital significantly faster and returned to normal health significantly faster (Arch Med Res 2021 Jun 23;S0188-4409(21)00141-7). In a subgroup of patients in the same study, melatonin was also shown to reduce inflammatory cytokines and modulate the immune system (Eur J Pharmacol 2021 Aug 5;904:174193).

This double-blind study has received very little attention. The melatonin was effective and safe. It is inexpensive and readily available. And it is, as the Cleveland Clinic has said, a promising treatment for COVID. Hopefully melatonin will receive more research and more attention.

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