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Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2017 Aug 11:0. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2017.1360837. [Epub ahead of print]

Melatonin intake and potential chronobiological effects on human health.

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a Department of Nutrition and Health , Universidade Federal de Viçosa , Viçosa , Minas Gerais , Brazil .


Melatonin is an indolamine with a recognized chronobiotic role. In turn, the supplementation of melatonin through capsules has been shown to be efficient in the modulation of inflammatory markers, oxidative stress, as well as in the control of hypertension and metabolic syndrome. However, the science of nutrition is interested in the study of the food sources of this hormone and its possible therapeutic effects. Thus, this review aimed to identify and present scientific papers that quantified melatonin in foods and evaluated its application in intervention studies. In total, 278 studies were found, of which 17 were included in this review. The results show that meats, fish, eggs, cereals, tubers, oilseeds, mushrooms, fruits, vegetables, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and dairy products had some items analyzed for their melatonin concentrations. The concentrations reported presented considerable amplitude among different foods and even within the same species, possibly due to differences in cultivation and different hormonal dosing techniques. Also, different concentrations of melatonin can be presented for the same food when submitted to processes such as cooking, roasting or fermentation. The intervention studies presented positive results regarding the consumption of foods rich in melatonin and clinical-metabolic indicators. However, in order to guide nutritional behavior, it is necessary to consult a composition table that makes melatonin concentrations available and considers the processes involved in the preparation of the food. With this table, it will be possible to analyze the real effect of habitual consumption of melatonin from food on health.


Food Analysis; Food Composition; Food Intake; Melatonin; Nutritional Sciences

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