Melatonin response to exercise training in women

J Pineal Res. 1989;7(2):185-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-079x.1989.tb00666.x.


Previous human studies have indicated that daytime melatonin levels increase when the organism is subjected to the stress of fasting and exercise. Melatonin, epinephrine, and norepinephrine levels were measured during a mock run and in the course of treadmill exercise performed before (T-1), during (T-2), and following (T-3) a progressive conditioning (running) program. Hormonal responses to the training program were determined by comparing values at T-1 and T-3. Plasma melatonin, epinephrine, and norepinephrine levels rose significantly (P less than .01) from baseline values for each exercise intensity during all three treadmill runs. While a dose-response trend was observed in each of the norepinephrine and epinephrine trials, there appeared to be a progressive diminution of this relationship in melatonin between intensities. Further, as training progressed, the peak melatonin concentration was decreased by 52% from T-1 to T-3, while peak epinephrine and norepinephrine values diminished only 19% and 8%, respectively. These results suggest that vigorous exercise training may attenuate rather than augment the secretion of pineal melatonin. Development of a human model of pineal responsiveness to exercise may contribute to the elucidation of exercise-associated reproductive disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Epinephrine / blood
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Melatonin / blood*
  • Norepinephrine / blood
  • Physical Fitness


  • Melatonin
  • Norepinephrine
  • Epinephrine