What is melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain and our skin.1  

Why is melatonin part of my treatment plan?

Your genetic testing and questionnaire indicate you could benefit from melatonin therapy.  Melatonin can decrease the activity of the androgen receptor, which neutralizes the impact of DHT and results in improved hair growth/retention.  Melatonin also reduces the activity of aromatase, decreasing the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. Clinical research shows that melatonin therapy can improve hair density, hair counts, hair texture, decrease hair loss, and reduce inflammation and oil production in seborrheic dermatitis.1-3

What are the food sources of melatonin?

Eggs, fish, grains (wheat, barley, oats), black rice, grapes, strawberries, cherries, tomatoes, peppers, pistachios, mustard seeds, and mushrooms are food sources with abundant melatonin.  Oral melatonin is not very well absorbed, but studies show that eating melatonin-rich foods does increase blood melatonin levels.4

How do deficiencies in melatonin occur?

Melatonin deficiencies occur in diabetes, fibromyalgia, migraines, critical illnesses, and shift work disorders.  Genetics and age can also influence melatonin levels.

What are the symptoms of melatonin deficiency?

Chronic insomnia, depression, memory and learning issues, inflammation, recurrent infections, premature aging, increased visceral body fat and blood sugars, and hair loss is associated with a melatonin deficiency.5 

What does melatonin do in the body?

Melatonin has various functions inside the body, but its primary role is to regulate the circadian rhythm for light-dark cycles.  Melatonin also serves as an antioxidant, regulates the immune system, helps fight inflammation, slows aging, has anti-cancer properties, and helps regulate blood sugar, lipid metabolism, mood, and body temperature.  Melatonin is an essential hormone!4 

Our skin has melatonin receptors, and melatonin in the skin helps protect skin cells from damage.  It also positively influences the aging processes in the skin.  Melatonin also has a role in the normal growth of our skin cells and hair follicles. Melatonin accelerates hair growth and stimulates hair cells to enter the anagen (growth) phase.1 

Does melatonin have adverse effects?

In clinical trials, topical melatonin was well tolerated.  Topical melatonin is slightly absorbed into the bloodstream, but the effect was not significant in clinical trials.  There was no change in vitals or neurocognitive effects.  One clinical study had a few patients experience temporary reddening, itching, and burning, but none discontinued the medication.  No systemic symptoms were reported.1


  1. Fischer TW, Trüeb RM, Hänggi G, Innocenti M, Elsner P. Topical melatonin for treatment of androgenetic alopecia. Int J Trichology. 2012;4(4):236-245. doi:10.4103/0974-7753.111199
  2. Fischer TW, Slominski A, Tobin DJ, Paus R: Melatonin and the hair follicle. J Pineal Res 2008; 44: 1–15.
  3. Fischer TW, Burmeister G, Schmidt HW, Elsner P: Melatonin increases anagen hair rate in women with androgenetic alopecia or diffuse alopecia: results of a pilot randomized controlled trial. Br J Dermatol 2004; 150: 341–345.
  4. Meng X, Li Y, Li S, et al. Dietary Sources and Bioactivities of Melatonin. Nutrients. 2017;9(4):367. Published 2017 Apr 7. doi:10.3390/nu9040367
  5. Hardeland R. Neurobiology, pathophysiology, and treatment of melatonin deficiency and dysfunction. ScientificWorldJournal. 2012;2012:640389. doi:10.1100/2012/640389