How to Increase Melatonin Naturally - Art Solbrig

on Jan 06, 2022| Modified on Apr 16, 2024

Two Potential Ways To Increase Melatonin Production Without Side Effects Associated With Melatonin Supplementation and To Get Better Sleep!

Melatonin supplementation has shown a multitude of positive health effects for many health issues including COPD, Heart Disease, Covid-19, and Parkinson's Disease. Unfortunately, melatonin production declines with age, steadily reducing the potential health benefits associated with adequate melatonin levels throughout the body.

Okay, so then if we simply take melatonin in supplement form, shouldn't we be okay? Yes and no. Some people are simply not able to tolerate melatonin for various reasons while others, such as myself, can tolerate melatonin at very high dosing.

So how does someone who does not tolerate melatonin well, increase their melatonin levels? First, it should be noted that when melatonin is produced in the body in sufficient amounts to help maintain health, it does not cause the intolerance that some people experience from melatonin supplements and that is important.

Everyone tolerates melatonin produced in the body, so natural production in the body seems like a very good way to achieve adequate melatonin status.

Where Melatonin is Produced in the Body

Three important areas where melatonin is produced in the body are in the pineal gland located in the brain, the gut, and the mitochondria.

In order of level of production, the pineal gland produces the least, the gut is estimated to produce over 400 times the amount produced in the pineal gland and since all cells in the body, except red blood cells, contain mitochondria, the mitochondria are likely the highest producer of melatonin in the body.

Each cell in the body can contain varying amounts of mitochondria which can exceed 2000, but the numbers vary greatly depending on many factors such as the tissue examined, antioxidant status, time of day, etc., but this gives you an idea of how much melatonin production we are talking about when it comes to mitochondria. Mitochondria can also draw melatonin into the mitochondria if needed, but if it already has sufficiency, then that melatonin can be used elsewhere.

This clearly gives a clue about the importance of melatonin in mitochondria to almost instantaneously neutralize the Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) radical that is produced as part of the normal mitochondria function and further elucidates the importance of melatonin to maintain health and life. I will discuss the gut aspect of melatonin later.

Sunlight or Red Light Therapy

In 2019, professor Reiter, a world-renowned melatonin researcher for over 40 years with hundreds of studies listed on PubMed in conjunction with Scott Zimmerman did an extensive review of research which showed many interesting things. One of which is that exposure to the near-infrared (NIR) light range from the sun helped to improve mitochondria function and also increased mitochondria melatonin production.

These are two important things that infrared light therapy is thought to do also. Their review also showed that infrared light, which is not visible to the human eye, can penetrate the skull and can increase pineal melatonin production. It is only a hypothesis on their part, but their ideas are in line with what other researchers have shown in previous studies and similar to the thinking behind man-made NIR studies. They have taken some of this individual research and combined it to form a more complete idea of the relationship of melatonin, NIR, mitochondria, and human health.

I would just like to take a moment to recommend reading their full study because it covers a lot of ground and has useful information in it. It is long but worthwhile reading. One interesting message was that NIR from the sun may penetrate significantly deeper into the brain via the cerebral spinal fluid around the brain interacting with gray matter than is currently thought possible.

In the following study, it is shown that the use of NIR in the form of red light therapy not only increased athlete melatonin serum levels, sleep and sleep quality, but also improved endurance. So red light therapy is a third option to increase melatonin levels, but NIR from the sun is free and stronger than some red light treatment options which can get quite expensive.

Here is a useful quote from the study above :

 >>> ' We have demonstrated that red-light illumination positively affected sleep quality and endurance performance variables in Chinese female basketball players. Based on previous studies,6,12,14,15,33 we can infer that red-light treatment contributes to increased melatonin secretion in the pineal gland and muscle regeneration. ' <<<

So one of two options to increase melatonin levels without the side effects associated with melatonin such as next-day drowsiness is to get sun exposure.

Artificial NIR red light therapy can also increase melatonin levels, but this option comes at significant cost whereas sun exposure is free!

Another consideration is that in the study above, they used whole body NIR exposure. There are many red light therapy devices, and most that cost under $500 are not going to be whole body applications, but rather partial body applications such as a knee or lower back and potentially weak devices. When you get into professional-grade whole body units, you are generally going to be spending thousands of dollars. The sun is free and gives whole body coverage at no extra charge!

Short-Chain Fatty Acids

The second way to increase melatonin is natural also. This way involves increasing short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Keep in mind that melatonin production in humans declines with age. Similarly, SCFAs have been shown in studies to not only increase melatonin levels in the gut, but also melatonin receptors. SCFAs in combination with melatonin and melatonin receptors improve mucosal gut barrier function as well as improve tight junctions as well as epithelial function all contributing to the improved gut barrier function and reduced gut permeability as well as reduced gut inflammation and oxidative stress throughout the body.

It is worth noting that in cases of many diseases such as PD, the normal age-related decline of SCFAs, melatonin, and melatonin receptors are further increased, so increasing production of these is a very important step in improving the disease state, but also health in general.

On that note here is a partial list of items that have shown the ability to increase SCFAs or improve the gut microbiome in such a way as to help produce more SCFAs.

1. Vitamin D - also improves gut barrier function.

2. Vitamin C - may have synergy with vitamin B2 and also decreases certain pathogenic bacteria.

3. Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin).

4. Fish Oil - also noted for its potent anti-inflammatory effects.

5. N Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) - very well noted as a potent antioxidant and mucolytic.

6. Exercise - already established as one of the more healthful things that people can do for improved health and physical function.

7. Algal Oil / Algae Oil - similar effects to fish oil via DHA and EPA omega 3's.

8. Berberine - anti-inflammatory anti-oxidative stress, anti-diabetic and also noted for improving cognitive function.

9. Fasting - in different forms such as intermittent fasting or Ramadan fasting.

10. Pistachios - also supplies needed fiber to feed SCFA producing bacteria.

11. Probiotics / Synbiotics - also alter the gut microbiome in healthful ways.

12 Prebiotics - especially useful for feeding SCFA producing bacteria.

13 Fermented Foods and Beverages.

14. Oat Beta Glucan.

15. Orange Juice - also offers anti-diabetes benefits.

16. Fiber in multiple forms including fermentable fiber through multiple forms of fruits and vegetables.

17. Mannitol - is also noted by some people as helpful in improving the quality of life in Parkinson's Disease.

18. Xylitol - has also shown usefulness as a low glycemic index sugar substitute.

19. Black Tea - but not green tea can increase SCFAs.

So as you can see, there are many ways to increase SCFAs as a means to increase melatonin production and melatonin receptors in the gut, improve gut barrier function, reduce leaky gut/gut permeability, reduce oxidative stress and inflammation.


So here you have two simple and effective ways to increase melatonin in the pineal gland, gut, and mitochondria to take advantage of melatonin's many positive health effects without the side effects associated with melatonin supplementing.

Melatonin naturally produced in the body does not have side effects, only positive health effects. This makes melatonin a viable health-improving option for EVERYONE, not just those who can tolerate oral melatonin supplements!

It is worth mentioning that increasing short-chain fatty acids or SCFAs is also shown to improve the gut microbiome and many health issues.


About The Author

Art Solbrig is a researcher who has been reading scientific studies and testing natural remedies for over 30 years searching for useful studies and alternatives that apply positively to human health issues and natural treatments using minerals, vitamins, amino acids, essential oils, herbs, homeopathy, colloidal silver, combination treatments, and other alternatives to improve the quality of life of others by writing about his findings and test results in places like Earth Clinic. He documents and writes about many of his experiences in helping others. Art is a native of sunny California.

Related Links:

25 Scientifically Proven Ways Melatonin Can Fight COVID-19
Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) and Melatonin
Melatonin Cures
Melatonin Treatment for COPD
Osteoporosis and Melatonin

Article Reviews

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by Dianne (US) on 01/08/2022

Thank you Art for sharing this article and study so informative. Blessings to you and all who work so hard to share this news.

Replied by Art
2182 posts

You're welcome, Dianne!

As much as I have written about melatonin, I am still amazed at all of the benefits that humans, animals, plants and other life forms on the planet get from melatonin and the research is nowhere near complete on those benefits. Just its cancer fighting benefits alone are great and there are literally hundreds of scientific studies that prove it, yet oncologists almost never recommend melatonin to their patients even though it has synergy with both chemo and radiotherapy, while reducing the side effects associated with both treatments and being a potent cancer fighter and preventative itself.

So having a way for people who do not tolerate melatonin supplements to be able to increase their melatonin levels naturally can be very healthful for them.


Replied by Elizabeth
(Miami Fl)

Just appreciate your comments re: melatonin. I have stage 5 pd ( since omicron bti)--had achieved a strong stage 2 from dx 4 thru mostly plant therapies, TCM Acupuncture, appropriate
Diet, detox regularly with calcium bentonite clay--& had read of melatonin vs covid-19--

Which led me to several journals re: melatonin & parkinson's disease--WOW! Even biogenetic, which is what is needed for pt w/pd & bti Omicron (india has an omicron specific test).

BUT--you don't speak of precursors: is 5-HTP Enuff? 100 mg is sufficient to metab? mg
Melatonin? Should Tryptophan precede the 5-htp? mg?

2182 posts


Along with melatonin for PD, high dose vitamin B1/Thiamine Hydrochloride and Citicoline have shown benefit for PD. Here is a link to a multiple study review of Citicoline for PD that shows significant benefit in multiple areas of PD :

Citicoline/PD Study Review

Here is a very relevant quote from the review :

>>> ' A total of 7 studies (2 crossover, 3 randomized controlled, and 2 open prospective studies) were included. Despite the varied outcome tools, this review found that patients with PD who were taking citicoline had significant improvement in rigidity, akinesia, tremor, handwriting, and speech. Citicoline allowed effective reduction of levodopa by up to 50%. Significant improvement in cognitive status evaluation was also noted with citicoline adjunctive therapy. ' <<<

These are three common supplements that have shown benefit in PD.

Here are two studies using melatonin to good effect in people with PD :

Melatonin Used In Parkinson's Disease Study

Here is a relevant quote from the study :

>>> ' Overall, melatonin supplementation for 12 weeks to patients with PD had favorable effects on the UPDRS part I score, PSQI, BDI, BAI, hs-CRP, TAC, GSH, insulin levels, HOMA-IR, total-, LDL-cholesterol, and gene expression of TNF-α, PPAR-γ and LDLR, but did not affect other metabolic profiles. ' <<<

Melatonin Returns Oxidative Stress Levels to Healthy Control Levels

Here is a relevant quote from the study of melatonin in people with Parkinson's Disease :

>>> ' At the end of the trial, in patients who received melatonin, we detected a significant diminution of lipoperoxides, nitric oxide metabolites, and carbonyl groups in plasma samples from PD patients compared with the placebo group. Conversely, catalase activity was increased significantly in comparison with the placebo group. Compared with the placebo group, the melatonin group showed significant increases of mitochondrial complex 1 activity and respiratory control ratio. The fluidity of the membranes was similar in the melatonin group and the placebo group at baseline and after three months of treatment. In conclusion, melatonin administration was effective in reducing the levels of oxidative stress markers and restoring the rate of complex I activity and respiratory control ratio without modifying membrane fluidity. This suggests that melatonin could play a role in the treatment of PD. ' <<<


Article Reviews
Posted by Betty (CA) on 01/08/2022

Wow, very well done! Very informative. Thank you, Art.

When I was dx with cancer I wanted onc's opinion on vitC IV's, melatonin and vitD. He got so uptight and said do not take anything but the chemo. I knew that was crazy.

For melatonin I didn't know alot at the time but read it might have anti-cancer properties/synergize chemo. Then heard a chemo nurse talking about how they needed to stop at wal mart to get some. I asked her why she was taking it thinking she would say "for sleep." Instead she told me they all take it for the anti-cancer benefit.

I hope alot more will find this site and make their own informed health decisions based on research and personal experiences found here.

Food Containing Melatonin

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Art (California) on 04/16/2024 2182 posts

Previously I said that melatonin derived from foods was very likely of insignificant health value because compared to studies using supplemented melatonin in milligrams, the amount of melatonin gotten from foods is measured in nanograms. To give that some perspective, it takes one million nanograms to equal just one milligram.

That would suggest that orally received melatonin from foods in just hundreds of nanograms would not likely offer any health benefit at all, but this new study (April 2024) shows that elderly people consuming foods with melatonin available in just ng levels found significant benefits from eating such foods.

Here is a relevant study quote :

' Multiple regression analysis showed that older adults with higher FMT consumption are more satisfied with life (FMTdinner: β = 0.107; ∆R2 = 0.011; p = 0.020), have a lower level of depression (FMTday: β = -0.124; ∆R2 = 0.015; p = 0.003), and higher scores in positive affect (FMTday: β = 0.169; ∆R2 = 0.016; p = 0.007; FMTdinner: β = 0.136; ∆R2 = 0.019; p = 0.003). Logistic regression analysis showed that older adults with higher FMT consumption are less likely to have depression (FMTday: OR, 0.614; 95% CI, 0.436-0.864; p = 0.005; FMTdinner: OR, 0.671; 95% CI, 0.476-0.945; p = 0.023), and they perform better on logical thinking tests (FMTday: OR, 2.066; 95% CI, 1.131-2.204; p = 0.013; FMTdinner: OR, 1.887; 95% CI, 1.183-2.138; p = 0.033). A greater life satisfaction as well as a decrease in the cognitive impairment and psychoemotional state of older adults is associated with a higher consumption of melatonin-containing foods. '

The above proves that I was wrong on this aspect of food-derived melatonin, and this is the first study I have seen showing that food-derived melatonin is definitely healthful for humans. I apologize to the Earth Clinic community for my misunderstanding of the value of melatonin derived from food. This study clearly illustrates that melatonin derived from food containing nanogram levels of melatonin is not only active, but it also has a very positive effect on our mental state without the side effects that some people report from the use of oral melatonin supplements. I stand corrected.

Here is a list of foods that have higher levels of melatonin in them :

1. Oily Fish such as salmon and sardines

2. Pistachios

3. Oranges and Orange Juice

4. Pineapple and Pineapple Juice

5. Tart Cherries

6. Walnuts

7. Goji Berries

8. Mushrooms

9. Corn

10. Grapes

11. Tomatoes

12. Strawberries

13. Cauliflower

14. Walnuts

15. Almonds

16. Bananas

17. Broccoli

18. Sweet Potatoes

19. Barley

20. Oats

21. Ginger

22. Cabbage

23. Blackberries

24. Rice

25. Sunflower Seeds

There are more than these, but the above are 25 common ones.


How to Increase Melatonin Naturally

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Art (California) on 04/16/2022 2182 posts

I was reading a 2021 study discussing the use of melatonin in cancer and came upon another 4 ways to significantly increase melatonin levels without actually taking a melatonin supplement itself.

Here is a link to the study :

Here is a relevant quote from the study that explains 3 more ways to get significantly increased melatonin levels without taking a melatonin supplement :

>>> ' Volunteers were given juice extracted from 1 kg of orange or pineapple or two whole bananas, containing 302, 150, and 8.9 ng phytomelatonin, respectively. The study demonstrated that the serum melatonin concentration was significantly increased after 120 min of fruit consumption. For pineapple (146 versus 48 pg/mL p = 0.002), orange (151 versus 40 pg/mL, p = 0.005), and banana (140 versus 32 pg/mL, p = 0.008), and this definitely proves that fruits are a good source of phytomelatonin. Besides, the antioxidant capacity in the serum also markedly increased, suggested by the significant increases in two indicators; ferric reducing antioxidant power assay and oxygen radical antioxidant capacity [35]. Likewise, a study conducted with young, middle-aged, and elderly participants showed that the ingestion of 200 mL of grape juice twice a day increased urinary 6-sulfatoxymelatonin, a major metabolite of melatonin commonly used as a biomarker, and total antioxidant capacity in the all three groups of individuals [36 ' <<<

So now we know that fresh orange and pineapple juice as well as bananas or grape juice can significantly increase melatonin levels in humans. In the case of fresh orange juice, a greater than 3x increase in the melatonin level was seen. So in total, we now have 5 ways to very significantly increase melatonin levels without the side effects reported for melatonin supplements! I'll drink to juice, that is!


Replied by Madelyn

Hi Art,

Based on your extensive research and knowledge about melatonin, I wanted to get your opinion about whether or not supplementing with melatonin causes the body to stop producing it. And if so, will the body resume melatonin production once you stop supplementing it? I have given small (1.5-3mg) doses to my kids at times when they are wired up and can't get to sleep. I myself appreciate its outstanding antioxidant properties. Thanks Art :)

2182 posts

Hi Madelyn,

That was a fairly common question about 12 or more years ago because so much was unknown about the effects of melatonin in the body. No study ever showed that melatonin supplementing caused the body to stop producing it or reduced production of melatonin.

I think one of the most important points about melatonin is that it declines with age in an inverse relationship to the onset of age related diseases. Trying to offset this age related decline through either increased melatonin production via natural means or through supplementation seems to make plenty of sense.

I think one of the more important pro health effects of melatonin is its cardiovascular disease (CVD) preventative and treatment effects because CVD is the number one cause of death in the world and is an age related disease that starts to increase rapidly from about age 40 as shown in the attached graph. This has an inverse relationship to the decline of melatonin in the body. I would attach the melatonin graph so you can see the relationship, but I think this format only allows me to attach one item.

In any case Melatonin has shown that it can help prevent or treat CVD in multiple studies and I have seen it work for this purpose.

So the point I am trying to make is that melatonin supplementation does not cause the body to stop producing melatonin, but rather that melatonin declines on its own as we age and especially from the age of 40 on and studies suggest that melatonin has a multitude of healthful effects and that is why I supplement it myself and discuss those healthful effects often on EC!


Replied by Madelyn

Thanks a lot, Art! This aligns with what I've been able to learn about melatonin supplementation and declining levels in our bodies as we age. In addition, this gives me peace of mind that I can give a melatonin supplement to children as needed. I'm sure I speak for many EC readers when I say that your contributions to this site are gold! May you be blessed!

2182 posts

Hi Madelyn,

I just wanted to mention to you that of late, there has been reports of children having problems with melatonin. The problem seems to be that since manufacturers have started putting melatonin into "gummies", some children have been eating them like candy because they are like candy. This is not healthful, moreover these children are probably eating these gummies during the daytime when melatonin levels are low and should be low. Raising melatonin levels regularly during daylight is also not healthful as it can disrupt the circadian rhythms which is definitely not healthful.


2182 posts

These three studies below illustrate three more ways to get melatonin naturally without supplementation. One is via meditation and the other is via electroacupuncture and the third way is via the Mediterranean diet. Here are the study links : Electroacupuncture Https:// Meditation Https:// Mediterranean Diet Https://