A few weeks ago, I did an article about the importance of maintaining regular sleep hours, even during isolation/social distancing, not only for health but for mood reasons. But what if you have a hard time sleeping in this crazy environment we are in?
There are several sleep aids out there but most of the over-the-counter ones have some form of diphenhydramine (histamine blocker), which can cause drowsiness and lack of energy the following day. There’s one sleep aid I’d like to mention, as it is also known to be one of the strongest antioxidants in our body. Good old melatonin.
Melatonin may not only help you sleep, but it seems it help with inflammation, oxidation, and immunomodulation which could potentially be protective against viral infections. Is well known that melatonin has immune enhancing properties, as well as being a strong antioxidant and antiviral.
I could find no studies related to the use melatonin in the treatment or prevention of COVID-19; however, there are plenty of studies that show that it decreases serum levels of several cytokines related to inflammation.
Melatonin in dosages of 5 to 10 mg per day have been shown to decrease many of the same inflammatory cytokines that we see in severe infections of COVID-19. Melatonin also enhances immune response by helping immune system cells such as natural killer cells, T and B lymphocytes, granulocytes, and monocytes mature and proliferate.
It is possible for your doctor to test for melatonin levels to determine proper dosing and determine if supplementation might be of benefit for you. Although overall deemed safe in animal models and studies,
it’s always a good idea to talk to your physician prior to starting any medications or supplements. Remember to keep your normal sleeping hours every night, move as often as possible while awake and sleep well at night!
Dr. Warren Willey is a Pocatello physician. Visit his website at http://drwilley.com.