Most people have heard of melatonin as a supplement that helps with sleep and resetting circadian rhythms.
Did you know that melatonin is also found in the fluid of ovarian follicles? As the follicles that will become mature eggs grow, the amount of melatonin increases. This makes Melatonin an important supplement for not only sleep, but also for fertility.
Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant that can restore mitochondrial function and regulate calcium levels so it’s not too high or too low within the egg.
Melatonin for Fertility: A Powerful Antioxidant
Melatonin also reduces the oxidative stress burden of aging cells, or cells that have been exposed to toxins. As we age, our melatonin levels decrease. Researchers have also discovered a correlation between decreased melatonin levels and decreased ovarian reserve (determined by anti-mullerian hormone, FSH, and follicle count).
Higher melatonin levels correspond to more eggs retrieved in an IVF cycle and more high-quality embryos after fertilization. In one study of IVF patients, melatonin supplementation doubled the chances of becoming pregnant compared to patients who didn’t take melatonin.
Oxidative stress is a disturbance in the balance between reactive oxygen species (free radicals) and anti-oxidants. ROSs are generated as byproducts of natural biological processes and anti-oxidants normally keeps the ROSs in check.
Just a quick note: ROSs do good and important things in the body; the problem comes when the balance is off: It can damage proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids which are important to healthy body functions. Oxidative stress comes from inflammation, over-exercising, too much mental stress, aging, as well as environmental factors like pollutants, heavy metals, cigarette smoke, alcohol, and radiation.
Over time, oxidative stress can lead to disease processes like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, inflammatory conditions, and cancer. So, well after your fertile years, melatonin is still your friend!
Back to fertility, there are some fertility-related conditions where melatonin has an especially beneficial effect: Endometriosis and PCOS. Both endometriosis and PCOS result in a higher oxidative stress load.
Melatonin for Fertility: It can Shrink Endometriosis and Reduce Pain
In patients with endometriosis, melatonin can shrink endometriosis and reduce pain. In patients with PCOS, melatonin can restore normal menstrual cycles by reducing the hormonal disruption characteristic of PCOS. When melatonin is combined with a supplement called inositol, they work together synergistically to improve egg and embryo quality.
Since sleep is crucial for overall health and allows the body the chance to repair tissues and organs, as well as improve immune function, using melatonin to help you sleep better can improve the general state of your body.
If melatonin makes you groggy in the morning, you can reduce your dose, or use some of the other powerful antioxidants available.
As good as melatonin sounds, it’s best to make sure it’s right for you before taking it. Before starting any new supplement, always check in with your provider on whether it’s a good choice for you, and how much you should take.