Melatonin deficiency may play a role in postmenopausal weight gain, researchers recently discovered. Previous research shows that melatonin secretion decreases with advancing age with significant changes in women after age 40.

The subjects included 90 pre- and postmenopausal women. The researchers divided the women into three groups: 1) women without menstrual disorders to serve as the control group, 2) postmenopausal women without change in appetite and body weight, and 3) postmenopausal women with increased appetite and weight gain. The investigators measured serum melatonin, 17-beta-estradiol, the pituitary hormone follicular stimulating hormone (FSH), and urine 6-sulfatoxymelatonin, a melatonin metabolite.

The level of melatonin and estradiol were lower and FSH was higher in the postmenopausal women compared to the control group. As body mass index increased, urine 6-sulfatoxymelatonin excretion decreased. The data also showed that FSH levels correlated with body mass index, particularly in the overweight women.

The investigators concluded, “The obtained results indicate a significant effect of melatonin deficiency on the process of weight gain in postmenopausal women and justify its use in treatment of these disorders.”

Reference: Walecka-Kapica E, et al. Int J Mol Sci. 2015;16:1030-42.