LATEST! New Study Reveals That Melatonin Supplements Can Aid In Treating Certain Long COVID Symptoms
Long COVID Treatments
: A new multinational study involving researchers from Pontificia Universidad Católica - Argentina, University of Toronto - Canada and Saveetha University, Chennai – India has found that melatonin supplements can aid in relieving and treating certain Long COVID symptoms. Being a cheap generic supplement that is easily available, the study team suggested that melatonin can easily be included in Long COVID treatment protocols.
The clinical sequelae and symptoms for a considerable number of COVID-19 patients can linger for months beyond the acute stage of SARS-CoV-2 infection and is commonly known as “long COVID”.
It has been found that among the long-term consequences of SARS-CoV-2 infection, cognitive issues (especially memory loss or “brain fog”), chronic fatigue, myalgia, and muscular weakness resembling myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) are of importance.
According to the Long COVID Treatments
study team, melatonin may be particularly effective at reducing the signs and symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection due to its functions as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immuno-modulatory agent. Melatonin is also a chronobiotic medication effective in treating delirium and restoring the circadian imbalance seen in COVID patients in the intensive care unit.
Furthermore, as a cytoprotector, melatonin aids in the prevention of several COVID-19 comorbidities, including diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and ischemic and non-ischemic cardiovascular diseases.
The study findings discuss the application of melatonin as a neuroprotective agent to control cognitive deterioration (“brain fog”) and pain in the ME/CFS syndrome-like documented in long COVID. Further studies on the therapeutic use of melatonin in the neurological sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection are warranted.
The study findings cum review were published in the peer reviewed journal: Biomolecules.
This is the first study to discuss the potential uses of melatonin in treating brain fog and chronic fatigue syndrome or myalgic encephalomyelitis symptoms associated with long coronavirus disease (COVID).
Long COVID is becoming a growing concern associated with COVID-19 pandemic as it is now projected that as much as about 3 billion people around the world have been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus knowingly or unknowingly with many experiencing post-infection chronic fatigue, memory loss, muscle weakness, reduced pulmonary capacity during exertion, persistent fever, myalgia, epileptic seizures, stroke, and other cardiovascular complications. Patients who have recovered from severe COVID-19 experience these debilitating symptoms for months or years after recovery and even those who were initially asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic are witnessing a variety of Long COVID manifestations.
Interestingly, recent studies that examined vaccinated individuals who experienced breakthrough severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections found a hig
h incidence of long COVID symptoms such as deteriorated musculoskeletal, neurological, and mental health among these individuals after recovery. This indicates that vaccination provides only limited protection against long COVID contrary to claims by those controlling the COVID-19 narratives.
It has been found that melatonin is a cryoprotective hormone and chemical that exhibits anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immunoregulatory activity and has been seen to impair viral infections, play a role in circadian rhythm maintenance, and be effective against diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular diseases. It is also involved in the activation of glutathione-synthesizing enzymes. Melatonin could potentially be a therapeutic agent in treating long COVID symptoms.
In long COVID, brain fog is a general term used to define impaired cognitive function, such as difficulty concentrating, loss of working and short-term memory, and difficulty with verbal and non-verbal methods of learning and mathematical problem-solving.
Although brain fog can be a consequence of various factors such as sleep deprivation, malnutrition, pregnancy or menopause-related hormonal changes, or even chemotherapy, it was the most reported symptom among COVID-19-recovering patients with no history of other diseases or hypoxia.
Interestingly, an intelligence test in the United Kingdom detected cognitive impairments in a significant number of individuals with COVID-19. Symptoms included memory loss, disorientation, and reduced mental energy.
Another common symptom of Long COVID, myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is characterized by excessive and persistent fatigue, inability to perform physical exercise, and autonomic dysregulation. ME/CFS is also associated with disruption of circadian rhythms and the gut/mucosal barrier, mitochondrial dysfunction, and a pro-inflammatory state. Studies indicated that 45% of COVID-19 patients who were hospitalized and required intensive care unit admission exhibited ME/CFS symptoms up to six months after recovery.
The hormone, melatonin is naturally produced in all aerobically respiring life forms, and it performs antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunostimulant, and neuroprotective functions in the body.
Typically, It reduces the pro-inflammatory response of macrophages, activates nuclear erythroid 2-related factor 2, and suppresses the activation of nuclear factor (NF)-κB. Melatonin is also known to balance inflammatory responses by decreasing the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukins (IL) 1β, 6, and 8, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, and increasing anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10.
It has been found that Warburg’s effect during viral infections causes a shift from mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation to glycolysis which occurs in the cytoplasm. This is accompanied by inflammation-promoting mechanisms such as an increase in NF-κB and hypoxia-inducible factor-1α. Consequently, the anti-inflammatory M2 macrophages are converted to pro-inflammatory M1 macrophages, causing a cytokine storm known to cause endothelial tissue and organ damage in severe COVID-19 patients.
According to the study team, the anti-inflammatory effects of melatonin in preventing pro-inflammatory profiles or macrophages and suppressing NF-κB activation can help reverse Warburg’s effect in long COVID patients.
Furthermore, melatonin also regulates the amyloid β (Aβ) metabolism associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Studies with transgenic Alzheimer’s disease models have shown that melatonin can control neuroinflammation by interacting with Aβ40 and Aβ42 and increasing protein degradation.
Also, the ability of melatonin to regulate circadian rhythms and sleep patterns has been shown to improve cognitive function and sleep in patients in the early stages of cognitive decline.
The hormone melatonin is also known to exhibit therapeutic activity against the various symptoms of ME/CFS, such as oxidative stress, pro-inflammatory state, mitochondrial and bioenergetic dysregulation, and disruption of the gut/mucosal barrier.
The study findings a whole showed the significant potential for the use of melatonin supplements in long-COVID and COVID-19 therapy. Studies have shown melatonin is more effective in reducing COVID-19 inflammatory markers than commonly used SARS-CoV-2 antivirals.
The study team believes that although melatonin exhibits anti-inflammatory and immunostimulant properties that many studies have reported being effective against COVID-19, it has not been promoted as a therapeutic option, possibly due to its easy availability and non-patentability, which makes it an unattractive target for pharmaceutical industries.
The study team recommend clinical trials to explore the use of melatonin as a treatment for long COVID symptoms.
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