Effects of Melatonin in women in Perimenopause and Menopause: a random double-blind study
The question was: is it the melatonin in the pineal gland, whose blood levels drop during the aging of a woman’s sexual-reproductive tract, responsible for, and/or directly connected to menopause? Are we able to modify or possibly slow down the course of menopause by taking melatonin at night? A measurement of melatonin in saliva before starting the study allowed for the selection of women with low melatonin night-time levels, women with average melatonin night-time levels and women with high melatonin night-time levels, in order to check if the possible effects of taking melatonin depend only on a state of individual melatonin deficiency in the women under analysis. Women were rigorously divided into homogeneous groups (melatonin group and placebo group) in relation to age and night-time melatonin levels. Preliminary hormonal tests were performed, and women answered a questionnaire concerning the symptoms and psychological and neurovegetative disorders typical of menopause. Half of the women chosen took 3 mg of undiluted melatonin, while the other half took a PLACEBO, using the classic double-blind system (neither the doctor nor the patient knew whether the substance in analysis or the placebo was taken). After three and six months from the beginning of the treatment the initial hormonal tests were repeated and the women replied to the questionnaire again.
Results obtained after three and six months, an ethically acceptable time for the administration of the placebo, showed the following:
- All women, particularly those with low melatonin levels at night, had a surprising improvement in a latent and unsuspecting state of hypothyroidism. In fact, an increase in the active hormone triiodothyronine (T3) was observed in all women irrespective of their night-time melatonin levels and to a lesser extent of the thyroxine precursor (T4) only in women with an average and low level of endogenous melatonin.
- Over the course of six months, the 3 mg of melatonin administered resulted in a decrease in the blood of the hypophyseal hormone LH (which increases progressively during aging), particularly in younger women (43 to 49 years). Therefore, hormone recovery is faster and more pronounced in younger women.
- The other clear and evident information that emerged from our results, besides the clear improvement of thyroid function, was the arrest of the increase and even the reversal and decrease of LH levels in the women treated with melatonin at night, which is equivalent to a clear restoration of hormonal functions that regulate ovulation. Once again, the effect was progressively more rapid and marked in the group of younger women (from 40-42 to about 50 years).
- In confirmation of the above, as many as seven women, two and more years after menopause (after the permanent interruption of menstruation), regained a normal physiological youthful menstrual rhythm. “Their number increases every day to December 2001” (Note added)
- Finally, 96 percent of the women who took melatonin reported a total disappearance of morning depression, typical of women in perimenopause and menopause.
Our results show that there is a clear cause-effect relationship between the function of the pineal gland and the secretion of melatonin on the one hand, and the aging of women’s sexual functions on the other. The decline of melatonin synthesis in aging, therefore, clearly signals the central alteration of the control of youthful hormonal cycles and the progressive extinction of women’s fertility.
Our results show that taking melatonin at night results in a net recovery of thyroid (T3 and T4 synthesis) and pituitary (LS, FSH) function in the direction of a rejuvenation of sexual-reproductive functions. This effect from taking melatonin is more visible in younger women and in those with low night-time levels of endogenous melatonin. The continuation of our study is able to demonstrate over the years to what point melatonin is able to delay and maybe even reverse the aging of a woman’s sexual functions, and how such a sign relates to the development of typical diseases typical to senescence.