Melatonin is a naturally occurring molecule biosynthesized by the pineal gland of vertebrates; it also has been identified in many plants. It is considered an important antioxidant and may retard the development of some neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. Previous studies in humans have measured melatonin metabolites in urine and have indicated that melatonin-containing foods may provide dietary melatonin. This study tested whether the consumption of fruits or fruit juice containing melatonin would influence the serum melatonin concentration and antioxidant status. In this crossover study, 12 healthy male volunteers took either juice extracted from one kilogram of orange or pineapple or two whole bananas, with a 1-wk washout period between the fruit or fruit juices. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent (ELISA) assay was used to determine the serum melatonin concentration. Serum antioxidant capacity was determined by ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) assay and oxygen radical antioxidant capacity (ORAC) assay. The highest serum melatonin concentration was observed at 120 min after fruit consumption, and compared with before consumption levels, their values were significantly increased for pineapple (146 versus 48 pg/mL P = 0.002), orange (151 versus 40 pg/mL, P = 0.005), and banana (140 versus 32 pg/mL, P = 0.008), respectively. Serum antioxidant capacity following fruit consumption also significantly increased in both the FRAP (7-14% increase, P ≤ 0.004) and ORAC (6-9% increase, P = 0.002) assays. Both the serum FRAP and ORAC values strongly correlated with serum melatonin concentration for all three fruits. These findings suggest that tropical fruit consumption increases the serum melatonin concentrations and also raises the antioxidant capacity in the serum of healthy volunteers in proportion to serum melatonin levels.
Keywords: FRAP; ORAC; antioxidant; melatonin; tropical fruit.
© 2012 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.