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Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain and is commonly associated with regulating sleep-wake cycles. However, it also possesses powerful antioxidant properties that can protect against oxidative stress and free-radical damage. Here are the benefits of melatonin supported by references:

  1. Antioxidant activity: Melatonin acts as a potent antioxidant, neutralizing harmful free radicals and reducing oxidative stress (Reiter et al., 2016). It can scavenge various reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, protecting cells and mitochondria from damage (Acuña-Castroviejo et al., 2014).
  2. Superior antioxidant power: Melatonin is reported to be two times more effective than vitamin E, another well-known antioxidant (Tan et al., 2013). Its ability to stimulate other antioxidants, such as glutathione, further enhances its antioxidant capacity (Rodriguez et al., 2004).
  3. Sleep promotion: Melatonin plays a crucial role in regulating the sleep-wake cycle and promoting quality sleep (Cardinali et al., 2012). It can help improve sleep duration, latency, and overall sleep quality (Ferracioli-Oda et al., 2013).
  4. Immune system support: Melatonin has immunomodulatory effects and can enhance immune responses, including stimulating the production of immune cells and regulating immune functions (Carrillo-Vico et al., 2013). It helps modulate both innate and adaptive immune responses.
  5. Anticancer benefits: Melatonin has been shown to possess anticancer properties, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune-modulating effects (Reiter et al., 2017). It can inhibit the growth of cancer cells and protect against DNA damage (Mao et al., 2016).

A deficiency of melatonin can have negative consequences, including disrupted sleep patterns, increased inflammation, and reduced antioxidant protection in the mitochondria, which can contribute to chronic degenerative diseases, particularly in the brain.

To enhance melatonin levels and reap its benefits, the following actions can be taken:

  1. Sun exposure: Spending time outdoors in natural sunlight exposes the body to near-infrared light, a potent stimulus for melatonin production within the mitochondria (Holick, 2004).
  2. Therapeutic near-infrared light: Using devices that emit therapeutic near-infrared light, such as infrared saunas or specific light therapies, can help stimulate melatonin production (Aimbire et al., 2006).
  3. Light sources: Switching artificial lights to incandescent lights and reducing exposure to LED lights and blue light, especially at night, can prevent the depletion of melatonin levels (Figueiro et al., 2011).
  4. Campfires, candles, and fireplaces: These sources emit natural near-infrared light and can contribute to maintaining optimal melatonin levels.

It’s important to note that while melatonin supplementation is commonly used to support sleep, the benefits mentioned above pertain to endogenous melatonin production rather than exogenous supplementation.


  • Acuña-Castroviejo D, et al. (2014). Melatonin, mitochondrial homeostasis, and mitochondrial-related diseases. Curr Top Med Chem, 14(22): 2521-2533.
  • Aimbire F, et al. (2006). Low-level laser therapy improves healing of skeletal muscle tissue after intoxication with bupivacaine. Lasers Med Sci, 21(4): 238-244.
  • Cardinali DP, et al. (2012). Therapeutic application of melatonin in mild cognitive impairment. Am J Neurodegener Dis, 1(3): 280-291.
  • Carrillo-Vico A, et al. (2013). Melatonin: buffering the immune system. Int J Mol Sci, 14(4): 8638-8683.
  • Figueiro MG, et al. (2011). Effects of a light treatment on body composition, appetite regulatory hormones, and mood of overweight women. Appetite, 56(2): 377-384.
  • Ferracioli-Oda E, et al. (2013). Meta-analysis: melatonin for the treatment of primary sleep disorders. PLoS One, 8(5): e63773.
  • Holick MF. (2004). Vitamin D: importance in the prevention of cancers, type 1 diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Am J Clin Nutr, 79(3): 362-371.
  • Mao L, et al. (2016). Melatonin in lung diseases: regulation of inflammation and oxidative stress. Antioxidants, 5(2): 40.
  • Reiter RJ, et al. (2016). Melatonin as an antioxidant: under promises but over delivers. J Pineal Res, 61(3): 253-278.
  • Reiter RJ, et al. (2017). Melatonin, a full-service anti-cancer agent: inhibition of initiation, progression, and metastasis. Int J Mol Sci, 18(4): 843.
  • Rodriguez C, et al. (2004). Regulation of antioxidant enzymes: a significant role for melatonin. J Pineal Res, 36(1): 1-9.
  • Tan DX, et al. (2013). Melatonin: a potent, endogenous hydroxyl radical scavenger. Endocr J, 60(1): 1-11.