Melatonin identified in meats and other food stuffs: potentially nutritional impact

J Pineal Res. 2014 Sep;57(2):213-8. doi: 10.1111/jpi.12152. Epub 2014 Jul 8.


Melatonin has been identified in primitive photosynthetic bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals including humans. Vegetables, fruits, cereals, wine, and beers all contain melatonin. However, the melatonin content in meats has not been reported previously. Here, for the first time, we report melatonin in meats, eggs, colostrum, and in other edible food products. The levels of melatonin measured by HPLC, in lamb, beef, pork, chicken, and fish, are comparable to other food stuffs (in the range of ng/g). These levels are significantly higher than melatonin concentrations in the blood of vertebrates. As melatonin is a potent antioxidant, its presence in the meat could contribute to shelf life duration as well as preserve their quality and taste. In addition, the consumption of these foods by humans or animals could have health benefits considering the important functions of melatonin as a potent free radical scavenger and antioxidant.

Keywords: antioxidant; egg; meat; melatonin; nutrition; obesity.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / analysis
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Colostrum / chemistry
  • Eggs / analysis
  • Meat / analysis*
  • Melatonin / analysis*


  • Antioxidants
  • Melatonin