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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2005 May;14(5):1333-5.

Association of vegetable intake with urinary 6-sulfatoxymelatonin level.

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Department of Epidemiology & Preventive Medicine, Gifu University Graduate School of Medicine, 502-1194 Gifu, Japan.


Melatonin is present in plants consumed as vegetables; however, only a limited number of vegetables have been tested for melatonin. The antiproliferative, antioxidative, and immunostimulatory effects of melatonin have been reported from laboratory studies. The potential protective effects of vegetable against cancer and cardiovascular disease may be partially attributable to an increased melatonin intake from vegetables. As a first step to test this hypothesis, we evaluated whether vegetable intake is associated with an increased urinary melatonin in 289 community-dwelling Japanese women. Diet, including vegetable consumption, was assessed with a validated 169-item semiquantitative food-frequency questionnaire. Urinary 6-sulfatoxymelatonin (aMT6-s) was measured in the first-void morning urines. There was a significant positive association between vegetable intake and urinary aMT6-s levels. The mean urinary aMT6-s was 16% higher in women with the highest quartile of vegetable intake than it was in those with the lowest quartile of intake. This association may be explained by the melatonin contained in vegetables. However, data should be regarded as preliminary because it is impossible to estimate dietary melatonin intake from vegetables and or from the entire diet because of incomplete data for melatonin in plants.

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