Melatonin Is Good for Migraine Headaches, Study Results Show
Melatonin: it's more than just a sleep aid.
Melatonin is commonly known and widely used as a sleep aid, but there may be additional benefits. It’s a naturally occurring hormone secreted by the pineal gland, which regulates our circadian rhythms. High levels of melatonin have been linked to decreased pain intensity, and some study results have shown that melatonin supplements decrease pain sensations in patients with migraine headaches, cluster headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, and fibromyalgia.1
Melatonin has been linked to a variety of mechanisms related to the pathophysiology of headaches such as its anti-inflammatory effects, toxic free radical scavenging, reduction of pro-inflammatory cytokine up-regulation, inhibition of nitric oxide synthase activity and dopamine release, GABA and opioid analgesia potentiation, glutamate neurotoxicity protection, neurovascular regulation, and serotonin modulation.2 Melatonin’s chemical structure is also very similar to indomethacin, a common NSAID used for a plethora of pain conditions.
In a clinical trial, 3 mg of melatonin reduced the overall frequency, intensity, and duration of headaches.2 Eighty percent of the participants reported a 50% decrease in headache frequency and 25% saw a complete remission of headaches.2 Women participants in this study also reported an improvement of their menstrual migraines.
Melatonin may be an effective treatment option for patients who are sensitive to other medications or who favor the use of natural products. A patient should take melatonin 3 mg, 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime on a daily basis. It’s worth a try since this supplement is relatively safe with very minimal adverse effects.
- Srinivasan V, et al. (2012). Melatonin in antinociception: its therapeutic applications. Curr Neuropharmacol 2012;10(2),167-178.
- Peres MF. Melatonin, the pineal gland and their implications for headache disorders. Cephalalgia. 2005;25(6):403-411.