Melatonin Affects Thrombosis, Sepsis, and COVID Mortality Rate

Melatonin can reduce the rate of severe COVID outcomes, help regulate sleep, promote genomic stability, and protect against neurodegeneration

Melatonin Affects Thrombosis, Sepsis, and COVID Mortality Rate
Melatonin’s multiple actions as an antiinflammatory, antioxidant, and antiviral (against other viruses) make it a reasonable choice for use. (AlessandraRC/Shutterstock)
Joseph Mercola
Two key studies have identified the role that melatonin plays in reducing the risk of a positive test for COVID-19 and lowering the incidence of severe symptoms.
That new finding adds to a list of benefits linked to melatonin since it was first discovered in 1958 by Dr. Aaron Lerner, a dermatologist who was able to isolate it from the pineal gland in a cow.

Scientists began studying melatonin in the 1980s, and by the 1990s, it received more attention. Research data showed that melatonin influences a number of bodily processes, including calcium-dependent metabolism, immune modulation, and tumor growth—which it can restrain.

Although melatonin is produced in a variety of tissues, the major source is the pineal gland, a tiny endocrine gland found in the center of the brain. One of melatonin’s initial functions is likely as a free radical scavenger. Interestingly, melatonin also functions in plants to reduce oxidative stress and promote seed germination and growth. The necessary precursor in plants and animals is tryptophan.
Your body controls the release of melatonin through a master circadian clock, located in an area of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nuclei.
This area synchronizes the secretion of melatonin through a complex pathway in the nervous system affected by the light input through the eyes. Since melatonin helps control the sleep-wake cycles, it became popular to use it to help control jet lag or support sleep.
Now data demonstrates that melatonin may be beneficial in preventing complications in people with COVID-19.

Lower Incidence of Severe COVID-19

A study published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases in October was initiated to look at the effect melatonin may have on adult patients with severe COVID-19 infection. They engaged 158 patients with severe disease in a single center, prospective, randomized clinical trial conducted in Mosul, Iraq, from Dec. 1, 2020, to June 1, 2021.

The patients were split into two groups. In the control group, there were 76 who were given standard therapeutic care only. There were 82 in the intervention group who received standard therapeutic care plus 10 milligrams (mg) of melatonin per day. Physicians then evaluated the incidence of sepsis, thrombosis, and mortality in patients on days 5, 11, and 17.

When the researchers compared the data in the control group to the intervention group, they found there was a significant reduction during the second week in thrombosis and sepsis in those that took melatonin. They also found that mortality was significantly higher in those that didn't take melatonin.

Men made up 72.2 percent of the patients and the mean age was 56.3 years with a range of 32 to 78 years. Researchers split the intervention and control group with no significant difference in relationship to comorbidities that increase the risk of COVID-19, such as high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, and heart disease.

When measuring the individual endpoints, the researchers found that there was a significantly greater number of patients with thrombosis in the control group on day 17 than there were in the group taking melatonin. No patient developed sepsis in the first five days in either group. However, by day 11, two patients in the group taking melatonin developed sepsis and eight patients in the control group developed sepsis.

At the end of the study, the researchers found there was a significantly higher mortality rate in the control group of 17.1 percent than in the melatonin group of 1.2 percent. Melatonin was administered orally.

The researchers declared that the results of their study signal a need to look closer.

Improved thrombosis, sepsis, and mortality rates support the adjuvant melatonin's efficacy in mitigating this infectious disease,” they wrote.

From this data, they identified conditions that were similar and that had approved drugs for treatment. Using this information, the researchers identified 34 FDA-approved drugs used to treat similar conditions that may be considered for repurposing in the treatment of COVID-19.

After identifying these drugs, the researchers used the information alongside data from nearly 27,000 inpatients at Cleveland Clinic. They adjusted for confounding factors such as age, smoking history, race, and a variety of disease comorbidities when they found melatonin use reduced the likelihood of a positive COVID-19 test by 28 percent.

Interestingly, when these same adjustments were made to a population of black Americans in the registry, the reduction rose to 52 percent. The study's lead scientist, Feixiong Cheng, talked about the results in a statement from Cleveland Clinic:
“It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean people should start taking melatonin without first consulting with their health care provider. We’re excited about these results and to study that connection more, but large-scale observational studies and randomized controlled trials are essential to confirm what we’ve found here.”

Melatonin Is Integral Part of Front Line Protocol

Early in 2020, the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) developed preventive, outpatient treatment and inpatient protocols based on the insights of the founding critical care doctors. Dr. Paul Marik, critical care doctor at Eastern Virginia Medical School, also known for his work for improving the outcome of patients with sepsis, is one of those doctors.

“Although the adoption of MATH+ has been considerable, it largely occurred only after the treatment efficacy of the majority of the protocol components (corticosteroids, ascorbic acid, heparin, statins, Vitamin D, melatonin) were either validated in subsequent randomized controlled trials or more strongly supported with large observational data sets in COVID-19.”

“Despite the plethora of supportive evidence, the MATH+ protocol for hospitalized patients has not yet become widespread.”

The team developed an algorithm to help physicians identify the type of treatment based on the patient's symptoms. However, all patients are advised to use vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D3, and melatonin.

More Health Benefits of Melatonin

Your body uses melatonin to help protect your overall health in several ways. Melatonin is best known for the relationship it has with your circadian clock. Although scientists are still discovering some of the benefits of sleep, it's known that melatonin is an underlying regulating molecule for sleep.

While there are likely benefits to supplementing with oral melatonin, it also helps to optimize your body's own production. It's relatively simple and inexpensive, and at the same time, you will help to optimize your vitamin D levels. Optimizing melatonin production begins with getting enough bright sunlight during the day, since this helps to set your circadian clock.

As the evening approaches and the sun sets, you'll want to avoid artificial lighting. Blue light from electronic screens and LED lights is particularly problematic and inhibits the production of melatonin. If you do need lighting, use incandescent light bulbs, candles, or salt lamps. The blue light from electronic screens can be counteracted by using blue-blocking software or wearing blue-blocking glasses.

My decision to personally use melatonin supplementation makes even more sense now that we understand that melatonin is not only produced in the pineal gland (which would benefit from circadian optimization), but also in our mitochondria. So, it appears that additional melatonin could serve as a useful adjunct in modulating your immune response.

Dr. Joseph Mercola is the founder of An osteopathic physician, best-selling author, and recipient of multiple awards in the field of natural health, his primary vision is to change the modern health paradigm by providing people with a valuable resource to help them take control of their health.