You have probably heard of melatonin, the supplement that can help you sleep. But have you heard that melatonin has a lot of other actions that help improve your health, and may enhance your lifespan?

We have discussed telomeres and how they affect the aging process. As you age, your telomeres shorten. If you have long telomeres you are “younger” than if you have longer ones. Hormones have a major effect on the length of your telomeres, and one hormone that you normally don’t think of doing this is melatonin.

There now are many studies that demonstrate melatonin’s antioxidant power to prevent telomeres from shortening.[1] This may be partly due to stimulation of telomerase activity. In a recent study on using melatonin to improve eye health, researchers discovered that melatonin protected the eyes by increasing telomerase, the enzyme that rebuilds telomeres.[2]

A different study using rats demonstrated that when melatonin was given to rats, it appeared to activate telomerase synthesis. Whether they were young rats or old rats, melatonin had significant increases in telomerase.[3]

It is postulated that when melatonin levels are high, it helps signal telomeres through their hormone receptors to increase telomerase production. This would subsequently lengthen the telomeres and make the cells younger at any age.

In order for you to benefit from melatonin’s telomere lengthening actions you must have a higher amount of melatonin in your blood than most people suggest. Thus, to optimize your melatonin levels, take high dose of melatonin, 10-20 mg per night. This amount is usually enough to help lengthen your telomeres plus do its other anti-aging functions. In addition, studies have shown that melatonin is totally safe.[4]

Recent studies have demonstrated another action of melatonin: as a potent anti-oxidant. It thus has neutralizes free radicals, decreasing destruction caused by inflammation,[5] which inhibits the oxidation of LDL-C and subsequently helps decrease the formation of atherosclerosis.[6] It has been shown to be effective in preventing ischemic damage during a heart attack when given in high doses intravenously.[7]

Thus, melatonin in high dose can help your health on several fronts: increases telomerase activity to lengthen telomere length; improves eye health; increases your deep sleep quality; and is an anti-oxidant to protect your cells. Consider taking one or two capsules of melatonin 10 mg every night for your health and a good night’s sleep.


[1]Rastmanesh R. “Potential of melatonin to treat or prevent age-related macular degeneration through stimulation of telomerase activity.” Med Hypotheses. 2011;76(1):79-85.

[2] ibid

[3]Akbulut K, et. al. “The role of melatonin on gastric mucosal cell proliferation and telomerase activity in ageing.” J Pineal Res. 2009; 308-12.

[4]Dean, Ward M.D. “Melatonin: Unique, Potent Life-Extending Nutrient.” Vitamin Research News: Anti- Aging Supplement Review and Update Part 3, August 2004, p 14.

[5] Dominguez-Rodriguez A et al. “Clinical aspects of melatonin in the acute coronary syndrome” Curr Vasc Pharmacol. 2009 Jul;7(3):367-73.

[6]Rodriguez A et al. “Prognostic value of nocturnal melatonin levels as a novel marker in patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction” Am J Cardiol. 2006 Apr 15;97(8):1162-4

[7] Castagnino HE, et al. “Cytoprotection by melatonin and growth hormone in early rat myocardial infarction as revealed by Feulgen DNA staining” Neuroendocrinol Lett 2002 OctDec;23(5/6):391-395