Single Supplement Prevents and Reverses Macular Degeneration

Dr. Frank Shallenberger, MD

August 7, 2023


I don’t have to tell you how rampant macular degeneration is. It’s the leading cause of blindness in the over-50 crowd. More than one-and-half million people have macular degeneration in the U.S. alone.

But what if there was one supplement that you could take that would virtually guarantee that you would never get macular degeneration?

In fact, what if the same supplement could even be used to treat and improve the disease?

You might think it’s impossible. But it’s not.

This supplement isn’t new to you. I’ve already reported extensively to you on all of the many wonders of what it can do. Everybody thinks this supplement does just one thing. But that’s a big mistake. The fact is that it may be the most important single supplement you could ever take to reduce your risk for atherosclerosis, cancer, menopausal symptoms, neurological diseases, Alzheimer’s, high blood pressure, aging, and viral infections.

And I’m going to show you some strong evidence that it will also prevent macular degeneration. But for you to understand why it’s so important for macular degeneration, I have to tell you about the retinal pigment epithelium or RPE.

The RPE is a single layer of colored cells on the retina of the eyes. The retina contains the photoreceptors that receive light and allow the miracle of vision to take place. No photoreceptors mean no vision. And the RPE is so critical because it maintains the photoreceptors. Current data indicates that the primary cause of macular degeneration is free radical damage to the RPE. This is why when researchers supplement patients with antioxidants like zinc, astaxanthin, zeaxanthin, and lutein they’re able to slow the progression of macular degeneration. It’s through this same mechanism that doctors have been able to stop and even reverse many cases of macular degeneration using ozone therapy. And that’s where this important supplement comes in.

The supplement is melatonin. Yes, the supplement you probably think of as a sleep aid. But it’s so much more. Melatonin has not one but two different ways it can control free radical damage to the RPE. First, melatonin has a direct antioxidant effect on the RPE. It directly acts all by itself to inactivate free radicals. And second, it has an indirect effect by acting on special melatonin receptors in the RPE. The action of melatonin on these receptors causes the RPE cells to start producing increased amounts of antioxidant enzymes. This dual action of melatonin is why it’s so effective at protecting your eyes from macular degeneration. Recently researchers were able to demonstrate just how effective melatonin is. And the results are going to astound you.

To experiment, they used a culture of human RPE cells. Then they exposed the cells to hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is a normal constituent of all cells. And in the presence of certain minerals, it can cause the formation of an extremely damaging free radical called hydroxyl radical. When the researchers exposed the cells to a 0.5 millimolar solution of hydrogen peroxide, it killed 71% of the cells. Then they experimented again. Only this time, they pretreated the cells with a 10-10 M concentration of melatonin. I’ll tell you why this concentration is so important in a second. And when they did this, they discovered that depending on the dose used, melatonin was able to save almost all the cells from being damaged by the hydrogen peroxide. And here’s the best point.

The 10-10 M concentration of melatonin that was so effective at protecting these cells is the same concentration that is normally found in the blood of people with healthy melatonin levels. But patients with macular degeneration don’t have healthy levels. That may very likely be why they get macular degeneration in the first place! When the researchers looked at the levels of 6-sulphatoxymelatonin in the urine of patients with macular degeneration, they found that their levels were a full 40% lower than people without the disease. This 6-sulphatoxymelatonin is a marker for melatonin levels. And low levels mean low levels of melatonin.

The researchers of this amazing study analyzed their results this way, “It corroborates the hypothesis that the deficiency of melatonin in patients with macular degeneration may play a role in the cause of macular degeneration and that supplementation of melatonin may be helpful in the prevention and treatment of macular degeneration.” Amazing! However, there’s one minor problem here. Laboratory studies in cultures like this one can be very meaningful, but what happens in the real world where real patients with macular degeneration are treated with melatonin? Wait until you hear this!

Researchers gave 55 patients with either wet or dry macular degeneration 3 mg of melatonin every night. At the end of only six months, the visual acuity had been kept stable in every one of them. This is significantly better than what would have happened if they had not taken the melatonin and let the natural course of the disease persist. But it gets even better.

When they examined the patients’ eyes, they had this to say, “The change of the fundus picture [the retinal picture] was remarkable. Only eight eyes showed more retinal bleeding and six eyes more retinal exudates. The majority had reduced pathologic macular changes.” I emphasized the word “reduced” because it’s so unbelievable. This is the only study I’ve ever seen where one supplement reduced the damage seen with macular degeneration.

I’ve been taking melatonin for years. Right now, I take 180 mg every night. I’m 77 years old. At a recent eye examination, the ophthalmologist said my retina looked like that of a young man’s. Although it makes sense to take melatonin if you already have macular degeneration, I believe that the most important thing to do is to take it before that happens.

So make sure you’re taking at least 3 mg of melatonin each night before you go to bed. You can also take high doses (1 mg per pound of body weight)  at night like I do because, as I have reported to you in the past, there is no evidence of any toxicity from melatonin even in doses much higher than this.  And besides preventing macular degeneration, it also prevents most every other chronic age-related disease.  That said, there is a subgroup of people who either have disturbing dreams or wake up groggy in the morning after taking melatonin.  I don't know why some people have that side effect, but if that is you, simply lower the dose to the highest easily tolerable dose. Melatonin is widely available at any pharmacy and online.


Rosen, R.B., D.N. Hu, M. Chen, et al. “Effects of melatonin and its receptor antagonist on retinal pigment epithelial cells against hydrogen peroxide damage.” Mol Vis. 2012;18:1640-8. Epub 2012 June 20.

Tosini, G., K. Baba, et al. “Melatonin: an underappreciated player in retinal physiology and pathophysiology.” Exp Eye Res. 2012 October;103:82-9.


Yi C1, Pan X, Yan H, et al. Effects of melatonin in age-related macular degeneration. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2005 Dec;1057:384-92.


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