COVID-19: The Potential Effectiveness of Melatonin

Can Melatonin Disrupt the Virus’ Pathology?

One of the most dangerous aspects of this novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is its newness. We have never experienced this virus before and thus have to start from scratch when looking at treatment options.

Thankfully many new studies are rapidly arising to answer this question. One such study was recently published one from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences looking at melatonin as a potential adjuvant treatment.

Typically, the SARS-CoV-2 pathology causes excess inflammation, oxidation, and immune responsiveness through activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome. This results in an abundance of cytokines in the body including IL-1B and IL-18 due to upregulation of NF-kB.

Normally, cytokines in small amounts are helpful with fighting off infections, but in abundance, these proteins can cause harm to the body. In the case of SARS-CoV-2, this cytokine storm can progress into acute lung injury or acute respiratory  distress. 

You may recognize melatonin as the hormone that helps us fall asleep, but researchers have found evidence to suggest that it may also help disrupt the pathology of SARS-CoV-2 and put a stop to it before it causes damage to the lungs and health of a patient.

Melatonin is a well-known anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative. Specifically, melatonin suppresses the production of NF-kB in T cells and lung tissue as well as restraining pro-oxidative enzymes in the body. Additionally, it’s sedative effects may help with patient anxiety and improve sleep quality, which further improves immune function.

Furthermore, melatonin has been shown to be extremely safe as a treatment, with few adverse side-effects even at higher doses. 

All in all, melatonin is a safe, naturally occurring hormonal supplement, that shows promising results in regulating cytokine levels in patients as well as disrupting the natural progression of the SARS-CoV-2 pathology.

More research is required before moving into using melatonin as an adjunctive therapeutic treatment for symptomatic patients who have tested positive with SARS-CoV-2, but preliminary findings are promising.