Melatonin may indirectly improve sporting performance: Review

Writing in the journal Nutrients, โ€‹the team of Spanish researchers attributed the ergogenic effects ofย supplementationย to melatonin’s anti-inflammatory and antioxiodant properties.

โ€œMelatonin supplementation could act indirectly to improve performance by preventing tissue damage and helping to reduce inflammation caused by RONS [reactive oxygen andย nitrogen species], restoring circulating biomarkers that go out of the normal range in highly trained athletes when performing very demanding exercises,โ€ they wrote.

Melatonin and exercise recoveryโ€‹

The neurohormone melatonin is naturally synthesized and secreted into the central nervous system to modulate an array of physiological functions, most notably the regulation of the sleep/wake cycle and circadian rhythms. Melatonin also exhibits anti-aging, neuroprotective and cardioprotective functions through its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory activities.

Given these properties, an increasing interest in melatonin for sports recovery responds to the understanding that increased physical and biochemical demands of highly demanding physical activity can increase nutrient consumption and the accumulation of harmful molecules such as free radicals.

Yet, the underlying mechanisms behind melatoninโ€™s potential recovery benefits is not fully understood, a gap the present review sought to fill by summarizing the available evidence surrounding its effect on circulating biomarkers.

Review detailsโ€‹

The systematic review searched the PubMed, Scopus and Web of Science databases based on a set of key words and inclusion criteria to generate a total of 21 articles for inclusion. The studies investigated melatonin dosages ranging from 5 mg to 100 mg, administered before and after exercise.

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