Natural Melatonin

Since scientist isolated melatonin, this hormone became widely available in tablet, capsule or liquid form. Melatonin is used as a natural sleep aid to treat sleeping problems. There are two grades of melatonin; Natural and Synthetic.  Natural melatonin is taken from extracts of the pineal gland coming from animals. Usually, the source of natural melatonin is the sheep’s pineal gland. Natural does not necessarily mean better quality or safe. In fact, it is not a good idea to use natural melatonin coming from the pineal gland of animals. It can be contaminated with viruses, bacteria or other substances that maybe harmful to the human body.

Synthetic melatonin is produced in the laboratory under controlled conditions. The quantity of melatonin is also exact per tablet; usually 3mg of melatonin per tablet. Synthetic melatonin is chemically identical to the melatonin secreted by the pineal gland. Since synthetic melatonin is produced under controlled conditions, the possibility of getting contaminants is greatly reduced. Melatonin side effects are the same for both synthetic and natural form.

Natural Melatonin in Food Products

Natural melatonin also exists in foods. They can be found in very small amounts only. The best sourc of natural melatonin are vegetables, meat, fruits and grains.

Melatonin Source              Melatonin Content (nanograms/gram)

Huang-qin or Baikal Skullcap  7,110
St. John’s wort (flower)              4,390
Fever few(green leaf)                  2,450
Fever few(gold leaf)                    1,920
St. John’s (wort (leaf)                1,750
White mustard seed                      189
Black mustard seed                       129
Wolf berry seed                               103
Fenugreek seed                                 43

Melatonin References

Waterhouse J, et al. (2007). Jet lag: Trends and coping strategies. Lancet, 369(9567): 1117–1129.

Herxheimer A, Petrie KJ (2002). Melatonin for the prevention and treatment of jet lag. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2).

Murray MT, et al. (2006). Melatonin. In JE Pizzorno Jr, MT Murray, eds., Textbook of Natural Medicine, 3rd ed., vol. 1, pp. 1057–1064. St. Louis: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.

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