Is Melatonin Useful for COVID-19?

The hormone may reduce the severity of infection.
a diagram of a melatonin molecule

Researchers are looking at sleep-inducing melatonin as a possible immunity enhancer in the fight against COVID-19. While the hormone has not shown antiviral activity, it may reduce the severity of infection.

“Melatonin’s beneficial effects derive from its anti-inflammatory properties, free radical scavenging activity, and immunomodulatory functions,” according to an article by neuroendocrinologist Russel J. Reiter, PhD, and others.

The researchers suggest using it as a preventive or in treatment, either alone or with other therapies. “Melatonin is readily available, can be easily synthesized in large quantities, is inexpensive, has a very high safety profile and can be easily self-administered.”

Clinical psychologist Michael J. Breus, PhD, cites “indications that melatonin may reduce the severity of the disease, and the overblown immune response and subsequent severe damage to the lungs” that may happen to the most severely ill COVID-19 patients.

A clinical trial, which researchers expect to complete by the end of 2020, is investigating whether a daily dose of 2 milligrams of melatonin might prevent exposed healthcare workers from becoming infected with COVID-19. Investigators also hope to discover whether “melatonin might prevent the more severe forms” for those who develop the disease.

Click to See Our Sources

“Could melatonin help protect against COVID-19?” by Michael J. Breus,, 5/8/20

“Efficacy of melatonin in the prophylaxis of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) among healthcare workers,”

“Therapeutic algorithm for use of melatonin in patients with COVID-19” by Russel J. Reiter et al., Frontiers in Medicine,, 5/15/2020


Nan Fornal

Nan Fornal has experience with fiction, nonfiction, and technical publications, working closely with book and magazine publishers from from first edit to final proofing. She has worked with Exeter Press, Boston magazine, and self-publishers alike.