by Art Solbrig
February 06, 2021
Updated: February, 09, 2021
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary lung disease) is a common health issue, so I thought I would add a bit of new information to help those looking for improvement in symptoms. Given the reduced life expectancy of people with COPD, it seems a subject worth discussing and looking for answers to.
What Is COPD?
COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and is a blanket term for certain lung diseases that cause airflow blockage and breathing-related issues. Emphysema falls into this category, as does Chronic Bronchitis.
What Is The Life Expectancy of People With COPD?
Based on the article linked to below by MedicalNewsToday, people who have COPD are evaluated with a GOLD rating system, which has four levels (GOLD 1-4) that consider multiple factors that determine the individual's life expectancy.
How Do Doctors Diagnose COPD?
Doctors have several tests at their disposal to determine if a patient has COPD. These tests include lung function tests, chest x-ray, CT-Scan, arterial blood gas analysis, and lab testing to determine what might be causing specific issues.
How Do Doctors Treat COPD?
Doctors can use prescription medications to improve your breathing, quality of life and reduce your flare-ups. They can also use Pulmonary Rehabilitation involving exercise, diet, education, and counseling. Doctors can also use supplemental oxygen treatment to increase your oxygen levels and lung surgery to improve breathing in some patients.
There is no current "cure" for COPD.
What Causes COPD?
The number one cause of COPD is smoking, but exposure to hazardous chemicals that you breathe in can also be a cause, as can anything you breathe in that can be irritating to the lungs. Secondhand smoke can also cause COPD in adults. When fire fighters didn't use as much protective breathing apparatus in years past, the smoke and chemical content of the smoke could be another cause for COPD or other lung issues like cancer.
What Are Alternative Treatments For COPD That Doctors Don't (Or Rarely) Use?
This is a very broad area, and scientific testing of these alternatives is little to none.
One popular remedy on EC is hydrogen peroxide via direct inhalation to the lungs using various methods. Other options include exercise, quit smoking, keep your weight at a healthy level, aquatic-based exercises, but not in water that is heavily chlorinated as that can be damaging to the lungs, and lastly, try to reduce stress.
Melatonin for COPD
Another Idea that has not been listed on EC yet Is the use of melatonin.
You may be wondering how an inexpensive over the counter (in the US) sleep aid can be beneficial for patients with a severe disease like COPD? COPD, by definition, is an inflammatory lung disease that also presents with elevated oxidative stress.
Melatonin is a highly potent antioxidant, radical scavenger as well as being a potent anti-inflammatory. It can quickly enter your tissues, including the lungs, where it can use those three qualities to reduce inflammation and elevated oxidative stress that is doing a large part of the damage in people with COPD. Dr. Neel was well aware of these melatonin effects and are the three main reasons he chose it to treat well over 1,000 of his Covid-19 patients successfully!
Melatonin Research Studies
The following article below discusses elevated oxidative stress and inflammation in COPD in conjunction with reduced Total Antioxidant Capacity (TAC). Melatonin is well noted for reducing excess oxidative stress to redox equilibrium and lowering elevated inflammation, all while increasing TAC!
The following study illustrates how melatonin reduces oxidative stress in people with COPD, even at a very low dose.
Melatonin is also noted for lowering Inflammasomes in the lungs, as mentioned here :
The following article discusses how this same inflammasome is elevated in COPD and decreased when symptoms are controlled. Here is an interesting quote from the study:
>>> Interestingly, NLRP3 is over-expressed in the lung of stable COPD patients rather than non-smokers and smokers with normal spirometry, implying the correlation of NLRP3 mRNA expression to the severity of airflow obstruction
Melatonin for Elevated Oxidative Stress in COPD
There is more to COPD than just this, though. In COPD, Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) / oxidative stress is also elevated and damages the pulmonary system, as mentioned in the links below.
The second link also mentions how melatonin can attenuate a cough, a common symptom of COPD. *Early last year, I had a cough that I couldn't get rid of for about two months, and I ended up using melatonin to get rid of it in about 2 or 3 days, so the benefits of melatonin are not confined to COPD.
Based on the above, it is becoming more apparent how exactly melatonin is likely to be useful for reducing several of the damaging elements associated with COPD. These would be elevated inflammation, elevated oxidative stress, and inhibition of inflammasome activation.
This is not all that melatonin does to be useful for people with COPD potentially, but they are common issues known to be active in COPD that melatonin looks likely to be helpful.
Hydrogen Peroxide Inhalation for COPD
For people who are using Hydrogen Peroxide (HP) inhalation as part of their treatment for COPD, you should be aware that HP is an oxidant, so you are using an oxidant in a situation that already has plenty of oxidant activity.
Hydrogen Peroxide will likely inhibit unwanted bacterial activity in the lungs and can potentially add oxygen as Catalase neutralizes it. My thinking is that the increased oxygen may be one of the most beneficial effects of HP use.
Still, you can see where melatonin might be useful for reducing overall oxidative stress and inflammation via activation of the Nrf2 pathway as well as increased gene expression of the bodies own potent natural antioxidants, which will also increase total antioxidant activity (TAC), which is essential in COPD because TAC is reduced in COPD. HP offers no reduction of inflammation or oxidative stress, so melatonin may be useful for the addition of what it is already known to do.
Although melatonin has an excellent safety profile, I am still of the opinion that some people cannot tolerate melatonin, but the majority can, so this has to be considered whenever someone is considering the use of melatonin at any dose.
Here are studies suggesting that melatonin may be of use in COPD :
The following link is important because it shows that melatonin suppresses Interleukin-8 / IL-8, which is very important. After all, IL-8 is an upstream inflammatory cytokine that calls other inflammatory mediators such as IL-1b, IL-6, and TNF-alpha into the fray. By reducing IL-8, these other inflammatory mediators are also reduced!
The following abstract link is important because it shows that melatonin levels decline during disease exacerbation periods and increase during normal periods.
The damaging Reactive Nitrogen Species (RNS) is also at elevated levels in COPD as shown in the following link :
Melatonin is well known to scavenge RNS and is just one more good reason to consider melatonin in COPD. The following abstract link confirms this positive activity of melatonin.
So now we know that melatonin looks likely to be useful for COPD. I am not a doctor and, as such, can not give dosage recommendations or even recommend melatonin for COPD. I can tell you that I have been taking melatonin every night at a dose of 106 mg/night for just over four months. This is based primarily on the excellent safety profile of melatonin in human studies using that much and more for more extended periods (years in some studies).
At this time, I am using it as a preventative, which I recently wrote about here on EC for stroke prevention and its potent antioxidant, anti-radical and anti-inflammatory qualities, which are likely to confer other health benefits.
Dr. Neel uses 1 mg of melatonin for each kilogram of bodyweight for his Covid-19 patients and has had excellent success in over 1,000 Covid-19 patients that he has treated so far for a disease that is known to have very adverse effects on the lungs. In contrast, melatonin is shown to be beneficial for lung inflammation and excess oxidative stress.
COPD, Strokes and Melatonin
Lastly, in the following study, it is pointed out that COPD may be a risk factor for stroke.
In the following article that I recently posted, I explain how melatonin can not only act to help prevent stroke but can also help in the treatment of stroke. This dual ability of melatonin makes melatonin even more useful in adding stroke prevention to being useful for COPD and other health benefits related to its use.
This meta-analysis further substantiates the risk of stroke in people with COPD.
So these studies suggest that melatonin may help alleviate much of the damage related to COPD. Add to that the fact that with COPD comes increased potential for a stroke, melatonin has also shown the ability to potentially prevent and treat, then keeping in mind that melatonin has also demonstrated the ability to fight Covid-19, which is well established for attacking the lungs. Melatonin is protective of the lungs but has other health benefits, which I will write about soon. All of this seems to make melatonin a topic that people with COPD should discuss with their doctors! Many drugs come with many side effects, but melatonin appears to come with many other health effects!
Where Do I Get Melatonin?
I have gotten melatonin at multiple online suppliers and stores like Costco, Sam's Club, Walmart, Amazon, etc.
Here are a few links to Amazon:
NOW Supplements, Melatonin, 10 mg, 100 Veg Capsules
Natrol Fast Dissolve - 10 mg - 100 Count - $12.99
Puritan's Pride Melatonin 10 mg 120 Capsules (3-Pack)- $23.00
Here is a link to Vitacost melatonin products:
If you are considering melatonin use (at any dose) for COPD, please discuss it with your doctor or health care professional to make sure it is safe for you and is not a problem with the meds you are already taking!
Got a question for Art or feedback about melatonin for COPD? Please submit it here.
25 Scientifically Proven Ways Melatonin Can Fight COVID-19
Hydrogen Peroxide Inhalation Method by Bill Munro
Melatonin for Stroke Recovery and Prevention
Melatonin Protocol for COVID-19