Osteoporosis and Melatonin

Posted by jmanj @jmanj, Jul 23, 2022

I’m reading research that indicates using Melatonin helps to build bone. Indications are that using 1mg nightly improves density at the Femoral Neck, and 3mg nightly improves density in the Lumbar Spine. Searching the archives, I see other members have made passing comments about Melatonin to improve bone density. If something so simple and inexpensive helps, it would be a blessing to so many who are dealing with Osteoporosis, or who have been diagnosed as Osteopenic.

– Melatonin improves bone mineral density at the femoral neck in postmenopausal women with osteopenia: a randomized controlled trial https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26036434/
– Melatonin Osteoporosis Prevention Study (MOPS) https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01152580

Does anyone have specific experience with this?

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Osteoporosis & Bone Health Support Group.

Here is the most recent analysis I could find of the various studies done in the past few years: "Melatonin effects on bone: Implications for use as a therapy for managing bone loss." The full article is here:
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jpi.12749
I waded through it, and the findings look promising, but need further research. Here was the author's conclusion:
"3 CONCLUSION
Osteoporosis is a significant economic burden comparable or greater than that of a range of chronic noncommunicable diseases (ie, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and hypertension).79 The mortality risk related to hip fracture for a 50-year-old woman is 2.8%, which is equivalent to her risk of death from breast cancer and four times higher from endometrial cancer.79 As in women, the mortality rate in men after hip fracture increases with age (even more than women) and is highest in the year after a fracture.79, 84 The mortality rate in men approximately doubled over the first 6 months compared with that in similarly aged women.79, 84

The uniqueness of melatonin as a molecule, which ranges from effects on melatonin (MT2) receptor-mediated osteoblastogenesis through MAPK/Wnt-beta catenin pathways,21 to osteoclast-mediated inhibitory effects through direct151, 173 or indirect (osteoblast-mediated RANKL) melatonin actions,119 to antioxidant properties through mitochondrial melatonin receptors22, 23 or through melatonin's direct actions on mitochondrial membranes,23 induction of antioxidant enzymes, and/or free radical scavenging,18, 26-28, 40, 113, 219-222, 235, 236 makes it an ideal if not essential molecule to promote bone health. The recent discovery of mitochondrial melatonin receptors22, 23 provides fertile ground for future research in understanding their role in melatonin-mediated processes in the body “in general” but especially in bone. These properties of melatonin coupled with its actions on the immune system, circadian entrainment, quality of life, safety profile, and cost284 argues strongly for its use clinically to slow the progression of bone loss in “at risk” populations (eg, aging population, menopausal women, RA, shift workers) or augment bone mass in those with osteopenia, osteoporosis or who have suffered a fragility fracture."

So…what does this mean for us? Well, for most people, it would appear that a small nightly dose of melatonin (3mg) could be helpful, if they have or are trying to prevent osteopenia. Not as clear if one already has osteoporosis, and there is no analysis or study I can find about adding melatonin to supplement other osteoporosis treatment. My bone scores are pretty good for my age (over 70), size and family history. But several family members developed severe osteoporosis in their late 80's. So I will probably add melatonin to my regimen after I run it past my PCP.

Do you already have a diagnosis of osteoporosis? Are you taking medication already?
Sue

REPLY
@sueinmn

Here is the most recent analysis I could find of the various studies done in the past few years: "Melatonin effects on bone: Implications for use as a therapy for managing bone loss." The full article is here:
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jpi.12749
I waded through it, and the findings look promising, but need further research. Here was the author's conclusion:
"3 CONCLUSION
Osteoporosis is a significant economic burden comparable or greater than that of a range of chronic noncommunicable diseases (ie, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and hypertension).79 The mortality risk related to hip fracture for a 50-year-old woman is 2.8%, which is equivalent to her risk of death from breast cancer and four times higher from endometrial cancer.79 As in women, the mortality rate in men after hip fracture increases with age (even more than women) and is highest in the year after a fracture.79, 84 The mortality rate in men approximately doubled over the first 6 months compared with that in similarly aged women.79, 84

The uniqueness of melatonin as a molecule, which ranges from effects on melatonin (MT2) receptor-mediated osteoblastogenesis through MAPK/Wnt-beta catenin pathways,21 to osteoclast-mediated inhibitory effects through direct151, 173 or indirect (osteoblast-mediated RANKL) melatonin actions,119 to antioxidant properties through mitochondrial melatonin receptors22, 23 or through melatonin's direct actions on mitochondrial membranes,23 induction of antioxidant enzymes, and/or free radical scavenging,18, 26-28, 40, 113, 219-222, 235, 236 makes it an ideal if not essential molecule to promote bone health. The recent discovery of mitochondrial melatonin receptors22, 23 provides fertile ground for future research in understanding their role in melatonin-mediated processes in the body “in general” but especially in bone. These properties of melatonin coupled with its actions on the immune system, circadian entrainment, quality of life, safety profile, and cost284 argues strongly for its use clinically to slow the progression of bone loss in “at risk” populations (eg, aging population, menopausal women, RA, shift workers) or augment bone mass in those with osteopenia, osteoporosis or who have suffered a fragility fracture."

So…what does this mean for us? Well, for most people, it would appear that a small nightly dose of melatonin (3mg) could be helpful, if they have or are trying to prevent osteopenia. Not as clear if one already has osteoporosis, and there is no analysis or study I can find about adding melatonin to supplement other osteoporosis treatment. My bone scores are pretty good for my age (over 70), size and family history. But several family members developed severe osteoporosis in their late 80's. So I will probably add melatonin to my regimen after I run it past my PCP.

Do you already have a diagnosis of osteoporosis? Are you taking medication already?
Sue

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Sue – Thank you for your additional research! Yes, I have Osteoporosis (age 67), and continue to look at anything that might help “hold the line”.

I used Forteo for two years and had 12% increase in spine and 5% in hips. Then followed with a Reclast infusion. My Dexa results this year showed some additional slight improvement in Lumbar Spine (now -1.9, improved from -3 in 2019), but the Femoral Neck is stuck at -2.6. Not sure if I’ll do Reclast again this year, or try something else.

Jill

REPLY
@jmanj

Sue – Thank you for your additional research! Yes, I have Osteoporosis (age 67), and continue to look at anything that might help “hold the line”.

I used Forteo for two years and had 12% increase in spine and 5% in hips. Then followed with a Reclast infusion. My Dexa results this year showed some additional slight improvement in Lumbar Spine (now -1.9, improved from -3 in 2019), but the Femoral Neck is stuck at -2.6. Not sure if I’ll do Reclast again this year, or try something else.

Jill

Jump to this post

The improvements you've achieved look promising if not (yet) all that you'd like to see. I'm with you in wanting to throw anything else at maintaining bones but the drug-induced reversal gives you a better platform to build at least

REPLY

Just a note of caution that melatonin cannot be taken by those who have autoimmune disorders. Many of us with osteoporosis also have autoimmune disorders.

REPLY
@tsc

Just a note of caution that melatonin cannot be taken by those who have autoimmune disorders. Many of us with osteoporosis also have autoimmune disorders.

Jump to this post

@tsc there are several articles on melatonin and autoimmune diseases that suggest it is beneficial, then I also see sites that say melatonin should be avoided because it causes flares. There also seem to be differences between specific disorders on this.

Here is one pro-melatonin study (2013) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3709754/

I have lupus and take it so I wanted to look into it. I will research further!

REPLY
@tsc

Just a note of caution that melatonin cannot be taken by those who have autoimmune disorders. Many of us with osteoporosis also have autoimmune disorders.

Jump to this post

Why? What happens to those who have autoimmune disorders when they take melatonin?

REPLY
@windyshores

@tsc there are several articles on melatonin and autoimmune diseases that suggest it is beneficial, then I also see sites that say melatonin should be avoided because it causes flares. There also seem to be differences between specific disorders on this.

Here is one pro-melatonin study (2013) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3709754/

I have lupus and take it so I wanted to look into it. I will research further!

Jump to this post

Hi @windyshores, Thank you for your comment. Every bottle of melatonin I ever bought (before I had PMR) had a warning not to use if you have autoimmune disorder.

REPLY
@tsc

Hi @windyshores, Thank you for your comment. Every bottle of melatonin I ever bought (before I had PMR) had a warning not to use if you have autoimmune disorder.

Jump to this post

The info on this is confusing. I imagine for liability reasons they have to go with the most conservative answer. I am going to ask my doctor and my pharmacist! Some studies say melatonin is an anti-inflammatory except for RA. Hmmmm….

REPLY
@windyshores

The info on this is confusing. I imagine for liability reasons they have to go with the most conservative answer. I am going to ask my doctor and my pharmacist! Some studies say melatonin is an anti-inflammatory except for RA. Hmmmm….

Jump to this post

I read in the most simple of terms, that melatonin stimulates the immune system.

REPLY
@jigglejaws94

Why? What happens to those who have autoimmune disorders when they take melatonin?

Jump to this post

What I read is that it stimulates the immune system.

REPLY
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