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Use of melatonin supplements and risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases in the USA: insights from three prospective cohort studies


Use of melatonin supplements and risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases in the USA: insights from three prospective cohort studies




Use of melatonin supplements has been increasing substantially in both children and adults in the USA; however, their long-term cardiometabolic effects remain unclear. We aimed to assess the associations between regular use of melatonin supplements and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease in adults.


In this study, we included individuals from three US cohorts: the Nurses' Health Study (women only), the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (men only), and the Nurses' Health Study II (women only). Women aged 25–55 years and men aged 45–75 years at baseline, who had no diagnosis of cancer at baseline, and who responded to the question about melatonin supplement use (yes or no) were included. We excluded baseline prevalent cardiovascular disease and baseline prevalent type 2 diabetes for the main analyses. The main outcomes were cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes incidence. In secondary analyses, we stratified by duration of rotating night shift work in the Nurses' Health Study and Nurses' Health Study II to examine whether the associations with melatonin supplement use differed by rotating night shift work.


For the cardiovascular disease analysis, we included 67 202 women from the Nurses' Health Study (follow-up 1998–2019, mean age at baseline: 63·6 years [SD 7·1]), 26 629 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1998–2020, 62·9 years [8·8], and 65 241 women from the Nurses' Health Study II (2003–19, 48·2 years [4·7]). Follow-up for incident type 2 diabetes was from 1998 to June 30, 2021, for the Nurses' Health Study; 2003 to Jan 31, 2023, for the Nurses' Health Study II; and from 1998 to Jan 31, 2020, for the Health Professionals' Follow-up Study. Melatonin supplement use in the study cohorts doubled over recent decades from less than 2% in 1998–2007 to 4% or higher in 2014–15 (4·0% in men and 5·3% in women). We documented 16 917 incident cardiovascular disease events during 2 609 068 person-years of follow-up and 12 730 incident cases of type 2 diabetes during 2 701 830 person-years of follow-up. In a pooled analysis of the three cohorts, comparing users with non-users of melatonin supplements, the pooled multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios were 0·94 (95% CI 0·83–1·06, p=0·32) for cardiovascular disease and 0·98 (0·86–1·12, p=0·80) for type 2 diabetes. In secondary analyses, melatonin supplement use appeared to attenuate the positive association between long-term shift work (>5 years) and risk of cardiovascular disease (pinteraction=0·013) among the female nurses.


With up to 23 years of follow-up of three large prospective cohorts of middle-aged and older men and women, self-reported melatonin supplement use was not associated with risk of type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Further research is warranted to assess if melatonin supplement use could mitigate the potential risks of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease associated with rotating night shift work.


US National Institutes of Health.
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