I have often written about the benefits of myo-inositol and how it helps PCOS. I also introduced a d-Chiro/myo-inositol combination supplement called Ovasitol. Inositols have many benefits including management of weight and appetite, promotion of normal blood sugar levels (insulin resistance) and menstrual cycles, normalization of hormone levels, improves egg quality, resolution of acne and hirsutism (hair where you don’t want it) and balanced lipid levels – all things women with PCOS often struggle. In fact, PCOS has been linked to a deficiency in myo-inositol, triggering many of our PCOS symptoms.
The current research is very promising. One well-respected team of researchers analyzed the available date and concluded, “According to randomized controlled studies involving inositol supplementation in women with PCOS, inositol provides improvement in almost all pathologic conditions in PCOS such as recovery of reproductive abnormalities, decreased androgen levels, and improved insulin levels.”
Benefits of Melatonin
Melatonin is a hormone and a powerful antioxidant produced in your brain while you are asleep and it is completely dark (this is one of the reasons I wear a sleep eye mask at night) Since the invention of electricity, many of us sleep with night lights or even outside street lights that brighten our rooms at night. Our exposure to complete darkness is really limited and this impairs the production of melatonin.
The benefit of the added melatonin is that melatonin plays an essential role in reproductive processes. Your ovarian follicular fluid has high levels of melatonin, and melatonin receptors are present in ovarian cells. Melatonin has been shown to have direct effects on ovarian function. I’ve added a list of published studies at the end of this post in case you are interested. If you’re not producing enough melatonin on your own, this may be adding to infertility issues.
Evidence Based Recommendation
Here are several resources specifically related to the importance of melatonin for egg quality/ovarian function:
- Effect of the treatment with myo-inositol plus folic acid plus melatonin in comparison with a treatment with myo-inositol plus folic acid on oocyte quality and pregnancy outcome in IVF cycles. A prospective, clinical trial. Rizzo P, et al. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2010 Jun; 14(6): 555-61.
- The efficacy of melatonin administration on oocyte quality. Batioglu AS, et al. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2012 Feb; 28(2); 91-3. The role of melatonin as an antioxidant in the follicle. Tamura H, et al. Journal of Ovarian Research 2012, 5:5.
- Melatonin improves the oocyte and the embryo in IVF patients with sleep disturbances, but does not improve the sleeping problems. Eryilmaz OG et al. J Assist Reprod Genet – 01-SEP-2011; 28(9): 815-20
- Oxidative stress impairs oocyte quality and melatonin protects oocytes from free radical damage and improves fertilization rate. Tamura H, et al. J Pineal Res 2008; 44(3): 280-7
- Effect of a supplementation with myo-inositol plus melatonin on oocyte quality in women who failed to conceive in previous in vitro fertilization cycles for poor oocyte quality: a prospective, longitudinal, cohort study. Unfer V, et al. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2011 Nov;27(11):857-61.
- Contribution of myo-inositol and melatonin to human reproduction. Carlomagno G, et al. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2011 Dec;159(2):267-72.
- Melatonin as a free radical scavenger in the ovarian follicle. Tamura H, et al. Endocr J. 2012 Nov 22.
- Effects of melatonin in perimenopausal and menopausal women: our personal experience. Bellipanni G, et al. Ann Ny Acad Sci 2005 Dec;1057:393-402.
- Effects of melatonin in perimenopausal and menopausal women: a randomized and placebo controlled study. Bellipanni G, et al. Exp Gerontol 2001 Feb; 36(2):297-310
Here are several citations related to the protective benefits of antioxidants and the detrimental impact of oxidative stress on female fertility:
- Antioxidants to enhance fertility: role of eNOS and potential benefits. Visioli F, Hagen TM. Pharmacol Res. 2011 Nov;64(5):431-7.
- Coenzyme Q10 content in follicular fluid and its relationship with oocyte fertilization and embryo grading. Turi A, et al. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2012 Apr;285(4):1173-6.
- The effects of oxidative stress on female reproduction: a review. Agarwal A, et al. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2012 June 29; 10(1): 49.
- Age related changes in mitochondrial function and new approaches to study redox regulation in mammalian oocytes in response to age or maturation conditions. Eichenlaub-Ritter U, et al. Mitochondrion. 2011 Sep;11(5):783-96.