Current Evidence for the Benefits of Melatonin


Summarized from the Mayo Clinic.


Alzheimer's Disease (sleep disorders)
Extent of Studies: Limited       Level of Evidence: Unclear
Results: Unclear if beneficial

Antioxidant (free radical scavenging)
Extent of Studies: Over 100 laboratory and animal       Level of Evidence: Unclear
Results: Suggest the prevention or treatment of conditions associated with oxidative damage

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Extent of Studies: Limited       Level of Evidence: Unclear
Results: Unclear

Benzodiazepine Tapering
Extent of Studies: Small       Level of Evidence: Unclear
Results: Promising

Bipolar Disorder (sleep disturbances)
Extent of Studies: Limited       Level of Evidence: Unclear
Results: Unclear

Cancer Treatment
Extent of Studies: Several       Level of Evidence: Unclear
Results: Mixed, promising

Chemotherapy Side Effects
Extent of Studies: Several       Level of Evidence: Unclear
Results: Promising early results include reductions in nerve injury, mouth sores, wasting, and platelet count drops, heart and lung damage.

Circadian Rhythm Entraining (in blind persons)
Extent of Studies: Multiple       Level of Evidence: Unclear
Results: Suggest that melatonin, administered in the evening, may correct circadian rhythm.

Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS)
Extent of Studies: Several, Small       Level of Evidence: Good
Results: Promising.

Depression (sleep disturbances)
Extent of Studies: Limited       Level of Evidence: Unclear
Results: Limited

Glaucoma
Extent of Studies: Limited       Level of Evidence: Unclear
Results: Preliminary evidence that melatonin may actually decrease intraocular pressure in the eye

Headache Prevention
Extent of Studies: Several, small       Level of Evidence: Unclear
Results: Suggest possible benefits in all three types of headache

High Blood Pressure (hypertension)
Extent of Studies: Several, mostly small       Level of Evidence: Unclear
Results: Small reductions in diastolic and systolic blood pressure

HIV / AIDS
Extent of Studies: Lacking       Level of Evidence: Unclear
Results: Melatonin should not be used in place of more proven therapies, and patients with HIV/AIDS are advised to be treated under the supervision of a medical doctor.'

Insomnia (of unknown origin in the non-elderly)
Extent of Studies: Several, small       Level of Evidence: Unclear
Results: Inconsistent.

Insomnia in the Elderly
Extent of Studies: Several       Level of Evidence: Good
Results: Suggest short-term benefits.

Jet Lag
Extent of Studies: Several       Level of Evidence: Strong
Results: Strong evidence. Suggest benefits of melatonin in up to half of people taking melatonin.

Parkinson's Disease
Extent of Studies: Very limited       Level of Evidence: Unclear
Results: Unclear

Periodic Limb Movement Disorder
Extent of Studies: Very limited       Level of Evidence: Unclear
Results: Unclear

Preoperative Sedation / Anxiolysis
Extent of Studies: Small number       Level of Evidence: Unclear
Results: Promising

REM Sleep Behavior Disorder
Extent of Studies: Limited case reports       Level of Evidence: Unclear
Results: Some benefits

Rett Syndrome (female children)
Extent of Studies: Limited       Level of Evidence: Unclear
Results: Unclear

Schizophrenia (sleep disorders)
Extent of Studies: Limited       Level of Evidence: Unclear
Results: Unclear

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Extent of Studies: Several, small       Level of Evidence: Unclear
Results: Not well reported

Seizure Disorder (children)
Extent of Studies: Several case studies, limited animal research       Level of Evidence: Unclear
Results: Controversial, suggests possible anti-seizure effects. However, melatonin may actually lower seizure threshold and increase the risk of seizures.

Sleep Disturbances Due to Pineal Region Brain Damage
Extent of Studies: Several       Level of Evidence: Unclear
Results: Improvements in sleep patterns in young people. Consideration of melatonin in such patients should be under the direction of a qualified healthcare provider.

Sleep Disturbances in Children with Neuro-Psychiatric Disorders
Extent of Studies: Multiple       Level of Evidence: Good
Results: Reduced time to fall asleep, increased sleep duration.

Sleep Enhancement in Healthy People
Extent of Studies: Multiple       Level of Evidence: Good
Results: Suggest decrease the time it takes to fall asleep, increases the feeling of 'sleepiness,' and may increase the duration of sleep.

Sleep in Asthma
Extent of Studies: Preliminary       Level of Evidence: Unclear
Results: Possible improvements

Smoking Cessation
Extent of Studies: Small       Level of Evidence: Unclear
Results: Promising in reducing symptoms associated with smoking cessation, such as anxiousness, restlessness, irritability, and cigarette craving.

Stroke
Extent of Studies: (none listed)       Level of Evidence: Unclear
Results: Unclear. Possible reduction of neurological damage and melatonin levels.

Tardive Dyskinesia
Extent of Studies: Limited, small       Level of Evidence: Unclear
Results: Mixed

Thrombocytopenia (low platelets)
Extent of Studies: Some cases studies       Level of Evidence: Unclear
Results: Unclear

Ultraviolet Light Skin Damage Protection
Extent of Studies: Several, small       Level of Evidence: Unclear
Results: Reductions in erythema (skin redness)

Work Shift Sleep Disorder
Extent of Studies: Several       Level of Evidence: Unclear
Results: Mixed

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