Melatonin Seems to Reduce High Blood Pressure
Mon January 19, 2004 05:08 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Melatonin taken at night over a prolonged period lowered blood pressure in people with hypertension, according to the results of a trial conducted in The Netherlands.
Melatonin is known to regulate circadian rhythm, and some people find it helpful in adjusting to jet lag.
As Dr. Frank A. J. L. Scheer, currently at Harvard Medical School in Boston, and his associates note in the journal Hypertension, the internal clock appears to be disturbed in people with high blood pressure, and they theorized that melatonin could improve regulation of blood pressure.
The team enrolled 16 men with mild to moderate untreated hypertension, who were given 2.5 milligrams of melatonin or an inactive placebo 1 hour before bedtime. Compared with placebo, melatonin reduced blood pressure significantly after 3 weeks of treatment.
A single dose of melatonin did not significantly change blood pressure, and long-term treatment did not affect daytime readings or heart rate.
Given these findings, Dr. Scheer and his team call for further studies to see if melatonin taken at night could be "a gentle alternative or supplement to regular antihypertensive medication."
In a press statement from the American Heart Association, Dr. Dan Jones cautions that "patients with high blood pressure should consult their own health care provider for specific advice, but no one should begin melatonin therapy for blood pressure management for the time being." Dr. Jones is dean of the University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Medicine in Jackson.
SOURCE: Hypertension, February 2004.