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Melatonin supplementation improve mitochondrial function - more than just sleep.

This 2019 study is free to access.

Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Skeletal Muscle of a Fibromyalgia Model: The Potential Benefits of Melatonin ( https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/20/3/765 )

Discussion points of study - melatonin is:
"useful to improve mitochondrial performance"

Came across this research after trying to understand my own recent experience with prescribed melatonin 2mg nightly.

I went from 30%-0% then back to 30%.

Patient run-down:

Age 27, ME/CFS, fibromyalgia diagnosis first at age 22, ill possibly life-long, MTFHR gene, ADHD now treated with dexamphetamine, un-diagnosed connective tissue problems (suspect EDS or similar).

I have been taking melatonin long term, on an off, for sleep. At different stages I stopped taking it, because it didn't seem to be helping me get to sleep. I wanted to trial honouring my "night owl" sleep schedule without forcing myself into bed with melatonin.

6 weeks ago stopped taking melatonin.

Began to decline in function. Attributed it to my body trying to adjust.

2 weeks later, crashed, became bed bound.

Seeping 10-12 hours a night, resting and not moving during the day except for bathroom.

I decided to begin melatonin again to see if it would help me sleep better - at that stage I thought it couldn't hurt. I had been reluctant as I didn't want to be dependent. I've stopped and started at different times.

Back on melatonin script - I went from 2% to 20% function within two days.

After a few days back at 30% as before.


I couldn't believe that only 2 days could make such a vast difference from catching up on sleep alone, especially as my sleep was poor those two nights by chance.

I researched and found the above study.

I think perhaps many of us dismiss melatonin when we don't register effects on our sleep. The understanding I have of the study is that melatonin is also a powerful antioxidant that may have an effect on mitochondrial function, so even if sleep isn't improved, health may still improve. I feel that this is what I experienced, which was why I was surprised by finding the study after the improvement.

Have considered my own past experiences - when I have stopped and started taking melatonin and health fluctuated rapidly. Keeping a close eye, and considering my bias and will review medical notes and my own notes. This might take a while.

I am taking Circadin (melatonin) 2mg every night. In Australia. Not covered by PBS. I get it for $33 from Chemist Warehouse. Far more expensive from other chemists (up to $50). Prescribed by GP.

Final thoughts:
- would taking more melatonin each night be helpful?
- would taking other antioxidants be helpful, eg Resveratrol*?
- despite being conscious of it, how much is my hope bias affecting "self experiments"? I was not expecting any kind of change with cessation or recommencing taking melatonin. Had not even considered melatonin as culprit of health crash until 5 weeks in. Had not expected improvement when I began taking it.
- have emailed author of study. If I get a response I will update.

*Re: Resveratrol as antioxidant possibility:
- where Resveratrol personally made me feel anxious in the past, is it worth considering again now that I am medicated for ADHD and have a clearer understanding of my baseline and better awareness of hope bias, my health, function tests etc.
- Was this anxiety I felt in the past in fact an increase in energy resulting from Resveratrol which then compounded anxiety/ADHD? Was it the brand that I had a strange effect to? A few years ago now so unclear.
- Will attempt again after more research - considering uptake pathways etc.


Senior Member
United States, New Hampshire
@crat - Very interesting finding. Melatonin crosses the blood brain barrier, so it has direct effects in the brain. It's antioxidant properties could help reduce neuro-inflammation for you.

Research showing that ME/CFS is primarily a neuro-inflammatory disorder is growing every year now. ME/CFS researcher Jarred Younger is on the cutting edge of research on neuro-inflammation in ME/CFS.

Congrats on finding something that really helps you!

One important characteristic of melatonin is its permeability into the brain.

It readily passes through the blood-brain-barrier and accumulates in the central nervous system at substantially higher levels than exist in the blood.

As a result, this molecule exhibits strong neuroprotective effects, especially under the conditions of elevated oxidative stress or intensive neural inflammation.


Senior Member
I've taken 5 mg of melatonin every night for nearly 10 years, primary to help me get to sleep quicker, but I am also aware of melatonin's various health benefits.

Melatonin is one of the few supplements on this list which boost the mitochondrial complexes.