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Male Infertility and Melatonin

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Tuesday, May 15, 2007 | 0 comments

Melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain, is secreted in a cyclical pattern in response to the light-dark cycle. Bright light during the day inhibits melatonin release, while darkness stimulates increased production and induces sleep. Variations in melatonin levels are closely linked with seasonal reproductive function in animals. Increasing darkness during the winter months triggers higher levels of melatonin, which are believed to play a role in inhibiting fertility.

Although humans do not display such a dramatic seasonal variation in fertility, melatonin levels are nevertheless postulated to exert a potentially significant influence on sperm production in men. One study found that compared to healthy controls, men with low sperm counts or the inability to produce sperm have significantly higher levels of melatonin. Researchers postulated that these high concentrations of melatonin may either be a secondary reaction to other hormone imbalances in the infertile men, or may be a primary mechanism that wears away the lining of sperm-carrying tubules in the testes.

Another study of men with reduced ability to produce sperm found that melatonin levels were higher in their semen samples and were associated with decreased sperm progression. In a recent article entitled "Melatonin-dependent infertility," a Finnish researcher suggests that melatonin may play an "essential" role in sperm formation, and that bright light therapy to suppress melatonin concentration may be a helpful treatment for infertile males and females who exhibit melatonin imbalances.

The Comprehensive Melatonin Profile evaluates melatonin activity over the complete light-dark cycle, providing a circadian analysis that can uncover imbalances linked to male infertility.




About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
Sadly we lost that precious baby at 8 weeks, and decided to try again. Five more losses, turned down for donor egg, foster care and adoption due to my age and losses - we have accepted that there will be no more babies in our house.

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