COVID-19: Can Melatonin Help Protect Against Coronavirus? [Study]
New research shows sleep aid supplement can reduce COVID risk by 30%.
This week Wisconsin’s new COVID-19 cases surpassed the numbers posted by New York at the height of the spring outbreak, and the surge here continues to accelerate at an alarming rate.
Since the beginning of September the daily average has risen more than eightfold, putting Wisconsin at the top of the list of states for the rate of virus transmission. In fact, so much of Wisconsin is so far past the DHS’s highest classification for cases that it needed to create a brand new category: ‘Critically High’. And although its minimum cutoff is nearly three times higher than the old top category, nearly every county in the state has already surpassed that threshold.
We’ve talked recently about the importance of supplemental Vitamin D3 in reducing your risk of contracting the virus – especially as days get shorter and we get less sunlight. Now surprising new research from the Cleveland Clinic suggests that another common, inexpensive supplement can also significantly reduce your risk: melatonin.
The study, published last week in PLOS Biology, found that melatonin was “associated with a nearly 30% reduced likelihood of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) after adjusting for age, race, smoking history and various disease comorbidities,” suggesting that the over-the-counter sleep aid may be a viable prophylactic (preventative) treatment option for COVID-19.
Notably, the protective benefit of melatonin against the virus improved to 52% for African Americans when adjusted for the same variables.
Don’t Sleep on Melatonin
Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and is commonly used as an over-the-counter sleep aid. But the benefit of melatonin against Covid might not be from helping us get better sleep, but rather how it interacts with our immune systems.
The research suggests that melatonin can help modulate inflammation — or the reactions that spring up in our bodies when our immune systems detect a problem. A certain degree of inflammation is helpful for healing, but the response can also become excessive. In COVID-19 patients, experts suspect that an overzealous immune response is the cause of the most severe cases. The proper immune response allows your body to react appropriately and eliminate the virus quickly.
The study was retrospective, and clinical trials are still in progress, so there’s a lot of learning left to do about melatonin’s efficacy on Covid, including how much someone would have to take to make a difference. Most current guidelines for prophylactic use suggest taking slow-release melatonin before bed at a starting dosage of 0.3mg and increasing as tolerated to 2mg.
While melatonin is generally regarded as safe for most people, as always, consult your primary care physician before beginning any supplement.
As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the world, particularly with cases rising during the fall surge, repurposing drugs already approved by the FDA for new therapeutic purposes continues to be the most efficient approach to treating or preventing the disease.
The Bottom Line
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said last week that a vaccine is coming – but that doesn’t mean you should let your guard down. During a recent Instagram Live interview he recommended against taking so-called “immune-boosting” supplements – which mostly do nothing to stop the coronavirus – and embrace what science has shown to be effective, namely vitamin D3.
“If you are deficient in vitamin D, that does have an impact on your susceptibility to infection. So I would not mind recommending, and I do it myself taking vitamin D supplements.”
– Dr. Anthony Fauci
The most important thing we can do is make smart decisions to keep our immune system functioning optimally. So talk with your doctor about adding vitamin D3 and melatonin to your daily regimen, and make sure you continue to exercise, reduce your stress levels, eat right and keep up with your regular health care.
The Ascent Chiropractic Difference
At Ascent Chiropractic, we’re committed to keeping our community healthy and optimizing your body to function better than it ever has before. Our unique, low-force, evidence-based approach to treatment allows us to correct biomechanics, restore normal function, and get you out of pain and on the road back to optimal health. Ready to get started? Schedule an appointment by calling us at 262-345-4166 or use our online scheduling app.