Melatonin related to health promotion and biological function

R. R. Watson, H. R. Matz, A. Call

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Melatonin is the main hormone secreted by the pineal gland. Bright light inhibits melatonin synthesis, so the amount of hormone present in the blood increases dramatically at night. Due to its sedative effects, melatonin has been linked to quality of sleep and may be used as a sleeping agent. In addition, there seems to be some correlation between melatonin levels and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). In high doses, melatonin is able to suppress ovulation, making it a promising birth control agent. Melatonin had been accepted as a regulator for many systems, including the immune system. For this reason, melatonin is being looked at as a supplement in the treatment of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and cancer. Melatonin may be helpful to the body because of its antioxidant qualities and may reduce the risk of heart disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1647-1656
Number of pages10
JournalExpert Opinion on Investigational Drugs
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1996


  • AIDS
  • antioxidant
  • cancer
  • heart disease
  • immunoregulation
  • melatonin
  • ovulation
  • seasonal affective disorder
  • sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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