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Phytomelatonin, natural melatonin from plants as a novel dietary supplement: Sources, activities and world market

Arnao, Marino B., Hernández-Ruiz, Josefa
Journal of functional foods 2018 v.48 pp. 37-42
clinical trials, cosmetics, cyanobacterial toxins, dietary supplements, human health, humans, melatonin, pesticides, plants (botany), sleep disorders, world markets
Melatonin generated by higher plants is called phytomelatonin. In addition to the extensive physiological actions that melatonin and phytomelatonin show in animals and plants, respectively, synthetic melatonin is used as a dietary supplement and is recognized as a beneficial agent in sleep disorders such as jet lag, among others. Studies on phytomelatonin and its content in many plants have raised the question of its possible use as a natural substitute for synthetic melatonin. The beneficial actions of phytomelatonin described to date in humans and possible methods to obtain it from plants or plant cells are discussed. Also several commercial products containing phytomelatonin are analyzed along with their “pros and cons” with regard to human health. In conclusion, the possibility of using phytomelatonin instead of synthetic melatonin in many of the dietary supplements and other food and cosmetic products is a reality. It is necessary to guarantee that phytomelatonin-rich products are free of pesticides or other contaminants such as cyanotoxins. Another important step would be to carry out clinical trials to compare the physiological effects of phytomelatonin-rich products with those observed using synthetic melatonin.