Dietary Supplements: What We Need to Learn from Melatonin


Melatonin is a naturally occurring substance that has gained popularity as a sleep aid.(1) It has other potential benefits including:

  • Improving immune system function
  • Reducing seasonal disorder, and
  • Increasing production of human growth hormone.

However, there is limited information supporting efficacy in these areas.

The one area for which Melatonin has been shown in research to have a positive benefit is in reduction of jet lag.

Evidence from randomized, placebo-controlled trials supports the efficacy of melatonin in improving symptoms of jetlag and suggests that the best effect is obtained by taking the quick-release preparation at a dose of 5 mg nightly starting the day of travel and continuing until normal sleep patterns are established at the destination. The number [of doses] needed to treat for improving outcomes of jetlag prevention has been reported as 2. Melatonin use for jetlag has been associated with reduced sleep latency, improved daytime alertness, and…

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