Melatonin: Not Just For Sleep

By: Karl Zarse, MD

As with Vitamin D, melatonin is a hormone and not a vitamin. It is made in the brain during sleep. It increases during darkness, and turns off with light. Unfortunately, our melatonin declines naturally with age, and this is why I am a huge proponent of nightly melatonin supplementation. 

Of all the supplements that benefit the immune system, Melatonin has some of the broadest and far reaching. Here are some of my favorites. 

  1. There is a ubiquitous distribution of Melatonin receptors throughout all the cells of the immune system. 
  2. Melatonin has been shown to modulate stress response and the damaging inflammatory mediators produced during stress states and sickness. 
  3. Current studies are showing that it helps “up regulate” the immune system early in infections, and “down regulate” it during severe inflammatory states such as sepsis, thereby reducing excessive damage from the bodies own response. 

I take at least one mg and hour before bed, with my magnesium supplement. The two together exert a nice calming effect that sets you up for a great night sleep. Anywhere from 1-3 hours before bed is perfect. 

The most regenerative phase of your day is during sleep. In addition to releasing melatonin, you secrete growth hormone and other sex hormones, and your body repairs itself from the days activities and abuse. 

But most people do not really view it with any degree of intention, they just go to bed and hope they fall asleep fast and make it through the night. I strongly encourage you to read my article on sleep routines, and if you add this to your daily regimen you will see much more benefit from the  supplement routine, strength training, and exercise than you would without a routine. 

Make this a priority and you will be far healthier in the long run. 


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