“Foods High in Melatonin:

Sweet corn

Tryptophan Increases Melatonin Production

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, one of the building blocks of protein that we cannot synthesize within our bodies and therefore must get from our diet. Tryptophan is the molecule from which melatonin is derived. Your pineal gland synthesizes melatonin by converting tryptophan to serotonin and then to melatonin. Studies have shown that if you increase your intake of tryptophan, you increase your production of melatonin.

Foods Rich in Tryotophan:

Spirulina seaweed
Soy nuts
Cottage cheese
Chicken liver
Pumpkin seeds
Watermelon seeds


Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center measured the nighttime melatonin production of eight women who meditated regularly and compared them with the nighttime levels of eight non-meditating women. The meditating women had significantly higher amounts of the hormone.


Of all the known ways to stimulate melatonin production, none is more dramatic than smoking marijuana. Marijuana stimulates production of a prostaglandin called PGE2, which may relate to its ability to stimulate melatonin production. Italian researchers discovered that when eight men smoked a cigarette containing the active ingredient in marijuana, THC, they had dramatically higher melatonin levels twenty minutes later. After two hours, their melatonin levels were 4,000 higher than at baseline!

The fact that smoking marijuana is accompanied by a dramatic increase in melatonin production may explain some of the drug’s positive effects. A 1995 article in The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that the hallucinogen is being used to counteract the toxicity of chemotherapy, treat migraines, reduce intraocular pressure, minimize pain, treat menstrual cramps, and moderate wasting syndrome in AIDS patients. Melatonin has been shown to ameliorate each and every one of these conditions.

Smoking marijuana as a vehicle to increase melatonin production, however, may not be a good idea. The increase is so marked that it is not likely to be beneficial, especially if one smokes marijuana during the daytime, when melatonin levels are normally so low that they are just above the level of detection. Causing such a dramatic surge in melatonin levels in the daytime could phase-shift your circadian rhythms or interfere with your health in other as yet unknown ways.”

Excerpted from Melatonin: Your Body’s Natural Wonder Drug, Chapter 16, pages 193-199.