Melatonin for Stroke Recovery and Prevention

| Modified: May 12, 2021
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by Art Solbrig
December 16, 2020

I was moved to write this article after reading and responding to EC member Sheila's post about how she and her husband are currently fighting Covid-19. He has had 3 previous strokes, while Sheila has had a mini-stroke, commonly referred to as Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA).

Here is her post for reference: https://answers.earthclinic.com/melatonin-safe-for-covid-after-stroke.html

As you can see below, the length of this article would have been a lot for a post reply, in addition to my initial response to her regarding Covid-19! Still, I wanted Sheila and her husband to be aware of this information hoping that it may help them and many others in the EC community around the world improve their current health in terms of stroke prevention and stroke treatment.

Previously I've written about some of the health benefits of melatonin, and that list is growing. To add to the list, I would like to discuss melatonin's potential to help prevent stroke and help those who may have already had a stroke with their recovery process and avoiding another one. There are many studies regarding this vital subject, and it is important because I think many people who have suffered a stroke feel that the chance for recovery is nil, but melatonin offers hope in this process for improved recovery as well as prevention.

After reading the links below, I think you will agree that there is hope for a better recovery post-stroke, as well as preventing a stroke from ever occurring in the first place or limiting the damage level that would typically arise without melatonin's protective activities already in play. Melatonin is not the only tool to reach that goal, but it is an important one!

Is There a Genetic Link?

Some families seem to be genetically inclined toward strokes, as discussed in the following link, so in that case, this article may offer hope in terms of warding off that genetic factor or even for people who have not been living the healthiest lifestyle for years who may be more prone to have a stroke.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2600010/

When are Strokes Most Prevalent?

The colder months of winter and spring are considered "stroke season," but this varies depending on what report you read. However, more than an average number of strokes occur in this time frame, so getting prepared as is practical may be a good health idea.

Strokes are also more likely to occur between 8:00 am and 12:00 pm, and even the day of the week plays into the stroke scenario. Even gender and ethnicity can play a part.

https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/01.str.26.8.1343

What Are The Main Causes or Contributing Risk Factors For Strokes?

Multiple factors can cause or contribute to different types of strokes. Obviously, uncontrolled high blood pressure can be a significant contributing factor as can age, genetics, ethnicity, gender, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, previously having had a stroke or mini-stroke(TIA), and obesity are common contributors, but there are others.

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/stroke

What Are The Different Type of Strokes?

https://www.cdc.gov/stroke/types_of_stroke.htm

How Can The Common Sleep Aid Melatonin Help?

Melatonin is a very interesting molecule, and when it comes to strokes, melatonin should definitely be included as a significant component of any prevention or treatment plan because of its many health effects on humans and animals. Melatonin is highly protective of the brain and major organs such as the heart, lungs,

kidneys, liver, skin, and eyes. Below I will link to studies and articles that will explain how melatonin can work in a very positive way to manipulate the body through multiple pathways to improve individuals' health status at high risk for a stroke. Also, to possibly prevent a stroke from ever occurring or repair some of the damage caused by a stroke.

The following study highlights many of the methods of action of melatonin that can help prevent an ischemic stroke, a stroke that occurs from a blockage in the artery that supplies oxygen-rich blood to the brain. This study aims at the anti-inflammatory activity of melatonin in terms of stroke prevention.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6887673/

These next studies discuss how melatonin can offer protection and possibly reparative actions after a hemorrhagic stroke. As mentioned above in "different types of strokes," this is the type where an artery in the brain leaks blood or ruptures, allowing the blood to spill into the brain, which puts excessive pressure on brain cells which damages these brain cells as opposed to an ischemic stroke(the most common type @ 87% of strokes) where a blockage in the artery that supplies blood to the brain becomes clogged preventing the oxygen-rich blood from reaching the brain.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28132129/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5632938/

The following studies discuss how melatonin can be of potential use before and after ischemic stroke. Again, ischemic stroke represents 87% of stroke cases, so these are essential studies in more closely illustrating the value of melatonin as a prophylactic treatment and a therapeutic treatment for stroke. These studies highlight melatonin's ability to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB), readily enter all tissues of the body, enter into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), exert all of its direct and indirect potent antioxidant abilities, effectively reduce elevated inflammatory levels, activate the Nrf2/KEAP1/ARE pathway which will also increase the total antioxidant capacity (TAC), protect brain cells, protect neurons, protect mitochondria against damage and death caused by excessive oxidative stress, inflammation, and apoptosis or programmed cell death, inhibit neuroinflammation, among much other health-promoting methods of action that melatonin utilizes in areas of the brain affected by stroke.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2020.01220/full

https://journals.tubitak.gov.tr/medical/issues/sag-20-50-si-2/sag-50-si-2-9-2008-32.pdf

https://www.europeanreview.org/article/20211

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31697951/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31445031/

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1179069519827300

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6073988/

In the following studies, the discussion turns toward how melatonin can affect some of its protective activities in stroke through its highly potent antioxidative actions. It is worth noting that excess oxidative stress, as indicated in patients before and after a stroke, can cause elevated inflammatory levels. These high inflammatory levels can cause further elevated oxidative stress levels in a continuous cycle, damaging the brain cells, neurons, and mitochondria. In long term high dose and very high dose studies, melatonin ("HDM" and "VHDM") in humans and animals melatonin has shown the ability to return elevated oxidative stress levels and elevated inflammatory levels back to healthy control patient status, and this is a critical aspect about HDM as healthy control levels are what we want for good health in all areas of the body.

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.3727/096368915X689749

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27500468/

In the following study, the ability of melatonin to actively work as a therapeutic against stroke-related dementia.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7463751/

The following abstract discusses the role of melatonin in obesity as it relates to stroke. It mentions how obesity can be an aggravating factor in stroke and how melatonin can affect both disease states' protective effects via its potent anti-inflammatory effects.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33135223/

The following study highlights melatonin's role in improving cognitive impairment caused by stroke and some of melatonin's methods of action for utility in this purpose.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30245469/

The following two studies describe melatonin's application as a brain protectant against ischemic stroke injury via endoplasmic reticulum stress inhibition.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5979830/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28178380/

Conclusion

There are plenty more studies about the benefits that melatonin can offer in terms of prevention and or treatment of stroke, but I am interested in highlighting this potential more so that people can understand the value of melatonin for this purpose and discuss it with their doctors to see if melatonin is something that may be compatible with their current regimens as a prophylactic or as a treatment in the case of someone who has already had a stroke or for people who fall into the "high-risk categories for stroke."

Sadly, despite all the studies, very few doctors and neurologists recommend melatonin to their patients for this purpose as doctors seem to lean toward the prescription medications, which really haven't shown the same kind of effects that melatonin has for this purpose.

Sometimes, we have to be our own best advocate when it comes to ourselves. My personal approach is that I take melatonin, firstly because of its excellent safety profile, which shows that, compared to prescription meds, you are more likely to get other health benefits from the use of melatonin as opposed to potentially serious side effects associated with some of the prescription medications used for stroke treatment. Blood thinners do not seem to be the answer to the problem, though they do help. Secondly, since melatonin mainly appears to confer health benefits well beyond just helping to prevent or treat stroke, I would like to put myself in a position to take advantage of those potential health benefits that melatonin has shown the ability to provide in multiple areas of human and animal health.

I have been taking HDM for years and as of the past 2 1/2 months, have been at 106 mg of three different types of melatonin every night in pursuit of better sleep, health and as a prophylactic against such things as stroke, heart disease, age-related macular degeneration, excess inflammation, excess oxidative stress, liver damage, kidney damage, osteoporosis, memory decline, lung issues, skin issues, among many others as suggested by hundreds of studies on the many health benefits associated with melatonin.

I am not a doctor, so I can not recommend that anyone do what I am doing or give advice on dosing. I can only explain as best as I can what I am doing and explain why I am doing it.

The bottom line for this post is that I share the message of what studies show about melatonin's ability to improve health outcomes when it comes to stroke prevention and treatment.


Where to Buy Melatonin

You can find melatonin at most pharmacies, health food stores, grocery stores, and of course, online. Below are links to highly rated products on Amazon:

60 mg melatonin

High Dose Melatonin by Perfect Vitamin Products - 60 mg. 60 capsules

10 mg melatonin

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

Melatonin Powder in Bulk

Great idea to buy melatonin in bulk, but you'll need to buy a milligram scale to measure it out properly (see link below). Melatonin powder has a bitter taste so it would be easiest to take it mixed in something like yogurt.

BulkSupplements Melatonin Powder (1 Kilogram) - $24

Milligram Pocket Scale

Digital Milligram Pocket Scale 50 x 0.001g, Mini Jewelry Gold Lab Carat Powder Weigh Scales with Calibration Weights Tweezers, Weighing Pans, LCD Display-$15.99

Empty Vegan Capsules for Powder

Capsules Express- Size 0 Clear Empty Vegan Capsules 100 Count - Kosher and Halal - Vegetarian/Vegetable Pill Capsule - DIY Powder Filling - $6.99


Got a question for Art about melatonin for Stroke Recovery and Prevention? Please submit it here.


2 User Reviews



Posted by Earth Clinic on 12/16/2020
5 out of 5 stars

Thank you so much, Art, for your fantastic article on Melatonin for Stroke Recovery and Prevention!

Replied by Art
(California)
12/16/2020
844 posts

You're welcome, Earth Clinic!

I hope Sheila happens to see it, as it seems like it may be helpful for her and her husband's situation for sure!

Art

Dana
(USA)
12/18/2020

Hi Art,

Thank you for your interesting and informative article on Melatonin use for stroke and stroke prevention.

Would you please list the other supplements you are using.

Also, what is HDM?

Thanks

EC: HDM - High Dose Melatonin

Sheila
(Nebraska)
03/30/2021

Hello Art...

I'm sorry to say that my husband passed away from Covid in January 2021. I read this message/article late. Thank you so much for responding to my question. Is there a place to start when researching remedies for TIAs. I'm sort of stuck on a panic button now. My doctor is pleased with my last visit. I am on Eliquis and Cozaar and trying to lose weight. How do I approach my doctor about these regimens? When I have done so in the past, he says he doesn't know anything about the supplements or whether they would interfere with my meds. Once again, thank you for your kind response.

Replied by Art
(California)
12/18/2020
844 posts

Hi Dana,

The main supplement I am taking for my own personal health is melatonin. The other supplements I test may or may not become regular supplements for me, it depends on whether they work for what I am testing them for. As far as supplements I take everyday or very frequently, borax would be at the top of the list and it has kept my severe psoriatic arthritis in remission for well over 12 years. I take magnesium taurate everyday as part of my sleep regimen because this form of magnesium can cross the blood brain barrier and the taurine content is also useful for sleep and relaxation among other benefits. I take zinc picolinate or zinc gluconate at high dose because my zinc/copper ration is low. I take selenium, but not everyday. The same with vitamin D3, ALC, vitamin C, lysine, vinpocetine, beta carotene, potassium, B vitamins in various doses. It is difficult for me to be on a supplement regimen everyday because I frequently have to stop when I am testing a specific supplement to write about.

HDM = high dose melatonin Art

Art
(California)
03/30/2021
844 posts

Hello Sheila.

I am very sorry to hear of your husband and partner's passing. Covid-19 is without a heart and takes lives like they are nothing!

Melatonin, based on the many studies that are available using it for stroke and stroke recovery appears to be an excellent starting point. There are other supplements that can be useful also, but it is better to start one at a time in case you have a bad response to one, you will know which one is causing the problem. Melatonin has also proved its worth as a cardiovascular disease treatment in case you missed this post :

https://www.earthclinic.com/cures/melatonin-for-cardiovascular-disease.html

NAC is another useful supplement as outlined in the following study. It is not as broad of a response as melatonin, but it offers benefits.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7244239/

Another useful supplement for stroke recovery is Hesperidin via its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities as shown here:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31478148/

All three of these supplements have very good safety profiles.

Unfortunately, doctors are generally only familiar with prescription medications and this can be a problem for patients who want to include supplements, vitamins, TCM, minerals, herbs, and other alternative options as part of their treatment plan. The only way I think that is practical is to go to a doctor who is also trained in alternative treatment options in order to have someone who should have very good potential to help you. The downside with these doctors is that insurance generally does not cover them so they would be an out of pocket expense and they may charge more because of their extended training in natural and alternative remedies.

Finding out what supplements may be compatible with the prescription meds you are already taking may be better answered by your pharmacist than your doctor because they seem to have more experience than doctors at determining supplement contraindications.

Another option to consider is calling someone like Dr. Shallenberger to see if he might take you on as a remote patient with regular phone or zoom visits. He is in Nevada, but with many people having remote doctor visits now, he may be willing to do it. Here is his contact information :

Dr. Frank Shallenberger

Address: 1231 Country Club Dr, Carson City, NV 89703Hours: Closed ⋅ Opens 9AM WedPhone: (775) 884-3990

It's just a phone call to find out if he can help you or not or possibly recommend a doctor in your area who does similar work. Good luck!

Art


Melatonin
Posted by Cale Judd (Yuba City, CA) on 12/16/2020
5 out of 5 stars

Excellent article! As someone with Afib, I'm concerned about the possibility of a stroke, and this article is very enlightening. I had no idea that melatonin was helpful in treating and preventing strokes. Nor was I aware of the many other health benefits it offers. Thank you for sharing this information and for sharing the many links to various studies. I always like to confirm health claims that are made.

Replied by Art
(California)
12/17/2020
844 posts

Hi Cale Judd,

Sorry for the delayed response, I just now saw your post. Thank you!

Yes, the health benefits of melatonin are wide ranging and that's not even counting its multiple benefits for fighting Covid-19!

I will try to continue to expand on those benefits via posts on the Earth Clinic community as I am able to.

Art

Replied by Rebecca
(Indiana)
01/04/2021

I'm a little concerned about joint issues with melatonin use. After a few very cozy nights of sleep with melatonin, I wondered if there were benefits to joint pain. I did a search and learned the opposite - that several people developed joint pain issues.

Art
(California)
01/04/2021
844 posts

Hi Rebecca,

The article was just an idea based on the significant positivity of the studies I linked to regarding melatonin and stroke and should be discussed with your doctor for anyone who is seriously considering melatonin for this purpose.

There are certainly anecdotal reports of pain related to use of melatonin, however there are also scientific studies showing that melatonin can be useful for neuropathic pain as well as inflammatory pain such as these studies show:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30306528/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7012243/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4912970/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26692007/

Another consideration is that in the studies I linked to in the article about melatonin and stroke, exacerbation of pain was not a reported issue in the human or animal studies.

I have said it many times in the past on EC and elsewhere that some people simply can not tolerate melatonin and that fact remains. I consider myself fortunate that I am able to tolerate melatonin at all dosage levels I have tested up to 180 mg/day.

It often comes down to trial and error whether it be melatonin, another supplement, prescription meds or alternatives.

Based on that, as well as melatonin's well established safety profile, I experiment with melatonin at many dose levels and am currently at 106 mg/night for the past 3 months+. I have severe psoriatic arthritis that I have kept in remission for over 12 years using borax via Ted's recipe. This is an autoimmune disease and melatonin is suggested not to be used in autoimmune diseases, but it has not presented a problem for me. So trial and error testing has shown me that I do tolerate melatonin very well and so I use it to try and get as many health benefits as it has shown to offer in other studies for multiple health issues aside from stroke.

If the fear of getting joint pain for you is too great, it may be better for you to consider your other options to deal with stroke prevention and treatment. In the anecdotal reports I have read, it appeared that the pain reported was reversed with stoppage of melatonin.

That does not mean that it will be the same for others, I can only report how melatonin affects me and the people I know who use it, based on what they tell me.

Art


Melatonin
Posted by Linda (Newark, Delaware) on 12/16/2020

Hi Art,

I enjoyed reading this article and am interested to know what your exact protocol is for HD Melatonin. I currently take 5 mg NOW brand before bed. I am 67 years old and am currently on no prescription drugs. I do take many other supplements including 10,000 mg Vitamin C and 3000 mg of Niacin daily. Thanks.

Replied by Art
(California)
12/16/2020
844 posts

Hi Linda,

I take 106 mg every night about an hour before bed. I am currently using three melatonin products simultaneously to get to that 106 mg dose. I take 4 capsules(10 mg each) of standard release, 3 (10 mg) tablets of timed release melatonin with 10 mg of vitamin B-6 in it and 3 sublingual dissolvable tablets at 12 mg each for a total of 106 mg of melatonin every night.

The reason for the variety is because of experimenting with different types of melatonin to see if I could detect differences in effect. I have many to use up!

I was previously taking more in the 80 mg per night range when I was testing it to see if I could tolerate a Covid-19 dose, which I did. When I moved up to over 100 mg, the "melatonin hangover" kicked in for a week or two as my body adjusted to the new higher dose. I noticed that staying as active as possible during the day helped to attenuate the temporary daytime sleepiness until my body adjusted. Now I feel fine during the day with no tiredness.

I have tested as high as 180 mg per night fairly recently to see how I tolerated that dose and it was fine for me. These dosage levels are based on human studies over longer term(years) as safety is important. Knowing that there are studies where 100 mg/night have been done for years with no problems is good to know. There are studies using even higher dosing for years. There is no established LD50 for melatonin in animals and that speaks to the safety level of melatonin as no animal studies using melatonin, even at very high dosing, have killed the animals!

I am mainly trying to take advantage of the many health benefits of melatonin to improve my overall health as well as get the potential prophylactic effects of organ protection that melatonin appears to offer, based on studies.

Art