Answer:

Regular, long-term use of melatonin has been associated with an increase in fractures, which is also the case with some prescription sleep medications. While it's true that melatonin may slightly increase bone density, it may do so by inhibiting the normal cycle of bone resorption and formation, which can make bone less flexible, more likely to fracture, and slow healing after a fracture occurs. For more details, see the Concerns and Cautions section of the Melatonin Supplements Review.

Join today to unlock all member benefits including full access to all CL Answers and over 1,300 reviews.

Join Now

Join now at www.consumerlab.com/join/

3 Comments

Join the conversation

Susan16585
March 14, 2018

I have been taking 20 mg of melatonin at night for 10 years following a DX of metastatic breast cancer. Despite the extent of metastases and the grade of the tumors, all of which were prognosticators of a short life, my cancer receded and has not been visible on scans for 8 years. I don't know if melatonin made the difference, but I'm not changing anything.

Ralph11174
August 15, 2016

According to a recent study by Jie Liu, melatonin increases bone density and helps in bone remodelling as well (see web on m. and bone density). This would seem work against bone fractures?

ConsumerLab.com
August 16, 2016

Hi Ralph - Thank you for your question. Please see our response below to Raffaella, who asked about the same study.

Raffaella 11161
August 14, 2016

In this article (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3676828/) the conclusion is that melatonin may be used to treat osteoporosis:

"Due to its ability of regulating bone metabolism, enhancing bone formation, promoting osseointegration of dental plant and cell and tissue protection, melatonin may used as a novel mode of therapy for augmenting bone mass in bone diseases characterized by low bone mass and increased fragility, bone defect/fracture repair and dental implant surgery"

According to the study you mentioned, however, a person with osteoporosis should avoid melatonin because of the increased fracture risk. I wonder if the higher incidence of fracture is caused by grogginess and/or impaired coordination rather than melatonin itself. Can you please share more light on the issue? Thanks!

ConsumerLab.com
August 15, 2016

Hi Raffaella - As we note in the Melatonin Review and in the answer above, melatonin can increase bone density but, apparently, by interfering with normal bone remodeling - so it's not yet clear that it's a good way to strengthen bones. Your suggestion that "grogginess" may play a role in the increased risk of fractures is quite possible.

Join today to unlock all member benefits including full access to CL Answers

Join Now

Join now at www.consumerlab.com/join/