Posted on: November 9th, 2021

Melatonin is a hormone primarily released in the brain at night. Melatonin is associated with several physiological processes, most notably the sleep-wake cycle.

Although primarily associated with humans, melatonin is also present in plants. The primary role of melatonin in plants is still unclear, but researchers have continued studying the subject with some notable results.

Melatonin in Plants

Research has shown that not all plants are the same when it comes to melatonin. While most plants store melatonin in organs or tissue, the concentration of melatonin can greatly differ from plant to plant.

Some research has noted that melatonin production levels in some plants nearly match that of animals. Studies have listed extreme temperatures, soil conditions, exposure to sunlight, and contaminants, among others, as factors that affect melatonin production in plants.

Melatonin in plants and animals is differentiated by using the term phytomelatonin when referring to melatonin produced by plants.

Melatonin & Phytomelatonin

Due to the biological differences between plants and animals, the term phytomelatonin has been used when referring to melatonin produced by plants. While melatonin is primarily associated with the sleep-wake cycle, phytomelatonin has shown links to growth, stress reduction, plant protection, and photosynthesis.

Phytomelatonin production levels have also shown to affect plants in dramatically different ways. Plants of the same species have even been found to have different production levels of phytomelatonin levels due to environmental conditions.

Melatonin & Phytomelatonin Supplements

Melatonin has been used as a dietary supplement for many years. Melatonin supplements are usually associated with improving sleep quality and helping with stress management.

Phytomelatonin is currently being evaluated for use in gastrointestinal protection, antioxidant enhancement, and the sleep-wake cycle. Research is still ongoing on how exactly phytomelatonin affects humans.

Melatonin supplements come with some risks (primarily adverse effects when used with other medications), so phytomelatonin is being carefully researched in order to assess risks and effects.

Current melatonin supplements available to the general public are practically all made from synthetic melatonin. Safe forms and sources of phytomelatonin are currently being researched for viability.

Research at Biofortis

Biofortis is dedicated to protecting consumer health throughout the world by delivering a wide range of testing and consultancy services to the food, supplement, and nutrition industries. Biofortis supports this mission in two ways—through clinical trials and sensory and consumer insights testing. We specialize in clinical research targeting foods, ingredients, and dietary supplements that affect body structures, function, and overall health. Contact us with any clinical trial or scientific consulting needs.


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