Parkinson's Movement
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20-100 mg/night of melatonin to stop progression of Parkinson's?

Just came across the following article by Frank Shallenberger, MD and would greatly appreciate your opinions:

"Could this simple hormone stop the progression of Parkinson’s?"

May 16, 2016

Volume 13 | Issue 58

One of the least talked about symptoms of Parkinson’s disease is insomnia. And yet, it’s often one of the biggest problems. That’s for two reasons. First, the symptoms of Parkinson’s are worse when the patient doesn’t get enough sleep. And second, insomnia is very common in Parkinson’s. And now a new study points out why it is so common, what might be one of the factors causing Parkinson’s in the first place, and what can be done about it.

Researchers used MRI measurements of the brain to compare the size of the hypothalamus in 12 patients with Parkinson’s with 12 patients without the disease. The hypothalamus is a major control center in the brain. It controls all the hormones, including melatonin. They also compared how much melatonin both groups made over a 24-hour period. Here’s what they discovered.

The authors said, “Parkinson’s patients had significantly reduced hypothalamic gray matter volume when compared with matched controls.” This means that their hypothalamuses had shrunk. And when they looked at the melatonin levels, they found that the more the hypothalamus had shrunk the greater the decrease in melatonin production and the worse the symptoms of Parkinson’s were. This brings up a very important question to ask here.

All the Parkinson’s patients had lower levels of melatonin. And the lower they were, the worse the cases were. So which came first? Was it the Parkinson’s disease that caused the decrease in melatonin production? Or was it a decrease in melatonin that caused the Parkinson’s disease? Maybe the answer is both!

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In the study, it’s apparent that the brain shrinkage due to Parkinson’s disease leads to decreased melatonin production. But other studies have shown that having a decrease in melatonin leads to several neurological diseases, including Parkinson’s. And to my knowledge, this is the first study that has shown that there’s a direct connection between having low levels of melatonin and having the worst cases of Parkinson’s. So what’s the relationship between Parkinson’s and melatonin?

As I have reported to you before, melatonin is the most powerful antioxidant in the human body. All the neurological diseases – including Parkinson’s – are caused by excessive free radical production. So it makes perfect sense that the less melatonin a patient with Parkinson’s disease has, the greater the chance his disease will be more severe. And in turn, the more severe the disease is the greater the loss of hypothalamus and the greater the decrease in melatonin. It’s a vicious cycle. So here’s what I advise my Parkinson’s patients.

First, take anywhere between 20-100 mg of melatonin about 60 minutes before bed every night. If I’m right, this will help to slow down and maybe even stop the disease from getting worse. And it may also help getting a good night’s sleep. A good way to get high doses of melatonin without breaking the bank account is to get it in bulk powder form from To measure, one-eighth of a teaspoon is about 60 mg. And don’t forget that melatonin has been shown to be completely safe even in incredibly high doses. Experiment around to see which dose feels the best for you.

Second, if you have Parkinson’s and you’re having trouble sleeping, take it seriously. Many of my patients tell me that they do much better the day after a really good night’s sleep. Try taking three capsules of Advanced Sleep Formula about 45 minutes before bed. And yes, you can safely combine melatonin with this supplement.

Yours for better health,

Frank Shallenberger, MD


Breen DP, Nombela C, et al. Hypothalamic volume loss is associated with reduced melatonin output in Parkinson’s disease. Mov Disord. 2016 Mar 12.

11 Replies

The above link wood dove tail with your article. We had this link before. I am definitely going to try to patch and I can hardly wait for it. I started melatonin a few months back and after reading the above article I am going to increase melatonin.

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Thank you for the link - very interesting site. However, they recommend only 3mg melatonin and also in the video if I understood correctly, they said that elevated melatonin can be a cause of psychosis. How many mg do you take?

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I only take 3 milligrams I thought going up to 10 would be safe.


In the interview below, Dr. Oliver Philipson recommends a protocol for PD with several supplements, including just 2mg of melatonin at night:

20-100 mg of melatonin is a megadose compared to the 2-3 mg of a typical supplement. If (see below) 0.5 mg gives "vivid dreams and morning grogginess," one wonders what such a huge dose would do to the brain! Notice that according to the table below, Shallenberger seriously underestimates the do-it-yourself dose: one -eighth teaspoon of melatonin powder is 400 mg, way more than the "60 mg" of his statement in faridaro's post above. Caveat emptor!

Pure has the following info:

"Measuring Spoon Size Miligrams of Melatonin

1/32 tsp 97mg

1/64 tsp 49mg

Potential Side Effects of Melatonin

Melatonin should not be taken by people using certain antidepressants, such as Prozac (a serotonin inhibitor) or Nardil (a monoamine oxidase inhibitor). Interaction between melatonin and these types of antidepressants can cause a stroke or heart attack. Preliminary symptoms include confusion, sweating, shaking, fever, lack of coordination, elevated blood pressure, diarrhea and convulsions.

Melatonin should only be taken before sleep. Vivid dreams and morning grogginess are common melatonin side effects on daily serving sizes greater than 0.5 milligrams. People taking blood thinners, antiseizure drugs, blood pressure medications, diabetes medications or hormone replacements should avoid melatonin supplements, as they may interfere with the effectiveness of these medications. This product is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women."


Thanks for doing research on this subject. What a coincidence - the Consumer Labs just posted a report on melatonin (I finally gave in into temptation to purchase their membership) which mentions that the long term use of melatonin has been associated with increased risk of fractures based on the study of adults (avg. age 65) in UK, which found that those prescribed melatonin had 90% more likelihood of suffering a fracture than the matched control group. There are not many details of the study in the report but it might be available online.

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Well, my husband was told to start taking 9-12 mg melatonin nightly when Neurology diagnosed him with REM Sleep Disorder (2 yrs prior to PD diagnosis). He was having constant hallucinations in the middle of the night. It has really helped & I'm happy he is able to take something fairly "natural" to manage it. I knew from my research then that he had PD but they didn't diagnose it for another 2 years. He had bacterial meningitis about 12 years before any of this. Maybe the meningitis messed with the part of his brain that generates/processes melatonin. Man, who knows ?? It seems to be a different disease for everyone.


Hmmm.........decided that the melatonin did nothing for my sleep. Tried the recommended 3mg then went up to 6mg, all with little effect. But after reading this last night I went up to 9 mg and it seemed to work pretty well. I reckon it's worth more investigation/consideration. But I do have concerns why the rec is 3mg. Surely there's a down side to taking 20 mg+?


Im always sceptical of what i read on sites that are trying to sell you something. Just like selling news means it s dramatic and overstated to grab our interest so in marketing supplements i find.


Appreciate your opinions! Parkie13 posted an interesting link which is worth to look at before deciding on a mega dose of melatonin:

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"All the neurological diseases – including Parkinson’s – are caused by excessive free radical production." - Is there any proof for this bold statement?


Not sure if this is just a theory or has been proven, but it appears that reactive oxygen species (free radicals) may induce mitochondrial DNA mutations which can lead basically to any disease.


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