Kids and ADHD Melatonin Use, ADHD I. A Review

Kids and ADHD Melatonin Use
Regular readers of this blog know that my kids often need to use Melatonin for sleep. I have posted about the melatonin deficiencies and the sleep problems seen in kids with ADHD and have explained before that neuro-researchers believe that the same processes that bring on the symptoms of inattention, etc, may cause kids with ADHD-I to have melatonin deficiencies.

This review article from the Journal of Pineal Research in encouraging in that it supports the use of Melatonin in the Pediatric population and indicates that the benefits of Melatonin may extend beyond its use for sleep. This article reports that Melatonin's anti-oxidant and radical scavenging properties may promote health in many other ways.

J Pineal Res. 2011 Jan;50(1):21-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-079X.2010.00814.x. Epub 2010 Oct 1.
Update on the use of melatonin in pediatrics.
Gitto E, Aversa S, Reiter RJ, Barberi I, Pellegrino S.


Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Department of Pediatrics, University of Messina, Messina, Italy.


Melatonin, an endogenously produced indoleamine, is a highly effective antioxidant, free radical scavenger, and a primary circadian regulator. Melatonin has important antioxidant properties owing to direct and indirect effects. It directly scavenges reactive oxygen and reactive nitrogen species, prevents molecular oxidation, improves mitochondrial physiology, and restores glutathione homeostasis. Its indirect antioxidant effects stem from its ability to stimulate the activities of the enzymes involved in the glutathione cycling and production. Melatonin, by reducing free radical damage, may be an effective protective agent for the fetus as it is in adults. Several clinical studies on melatonin have shown that it reduces oxidative stress in human newborns with sepsis, hypoxic distress, or other conditions, where there is excessive free radical generation. A role of melatonin in infant development has also been suggested. Pineal dysfunction may be associated with deleterious outcomes in infants and may contribute to an increased prevalence of sudden infant death syndrome. Delayed melatonin production is evident in infants who had experienced an apparent life-threatening event. Melatonin has been used as a pharmacologic treatment for insomnias associated with shift work, jet lag, and delayed sleep onset in adults for decades. In children as well, melatonin has value as a sleep-promoting agent. Evidence suggests that melatonin has utility as an analgesic agent presumably related to its ability to release β-endorphin. The data support the notion that melatonin, or one of its analogs, might find use as an anesthetic agent in children.

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