Melatonin or L-tryptophan accelerates healing of gastroduodenal ulcers in patients treated with omeprazole

J Pineal Res. 2011 May;50(4):389-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-079X.2011.00855.x. Epub 2011 Mar 1.


Melatonin and L-tryptophan (Trp) are highly gastroprotective in humans, but no study has assessed their impact on healing of chronic gastroduodenal ulcers in humans. Three groups (A, B and C) of 14 idiopathic patients in each treatment group with gastroduodenal chronic ulcers were treated with omeprazole (20 mg twice daily) combined either with placebo (group A), melatonin (group B) or with Trp (group C). The rate of ulcer healing was determined by gastroduodenoscopy at day 0, 7, 14 and 21 after initiation of therapy. Plasma melatonin, gastrin, ghrelin and leptin were measured by RIA. On day 7, omeprazole by itself (group A) had not healed any ulcers, but four ulcers were healed with omeprazole plus melatonin and two with omeprazole plus tryptophan. At day 21, all ulcers were healed in patients treated with melatonin or Trp, but only 10-12 ulcers were healed in placebo-treated patients. After treatment with omeprazole plus melatonin (group B) or Trp (group C), plasma melatonin levels rose several-fold above initial values. Plasma gastrin level also rose significantly during treatment with omeprazole plus melatonin or Trp, but it was also significantly increased in patients treated with omeprazole plus placebo. Plasma ghrelin levels did not change significantly after treatment with melatonin or Trp, while plasma leptin increased significantly in patients treated with melatonin or Trp but not with placebo. We conclude that melatonin or Trp, when added to omeprazole treatment, accelerates ulcer healing and this likely depends mainly upon the significant increments in plasma melatonin.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melatonin / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Omeprazole / therapeutic use*
  • Peptic Ulcer / drug therapy*
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Tryptophan / therapeutic use*


  • Tryptophan
  • Melatonin
  • Omeprazole