SALEHI, B.; SHAROPOV, F.; TSOUH, P.; KOBYLINSKA, A.; DE JONGE, L.; TADIO, K.; SHARIFI, J.; POSMYK, M.; MARTORELL, M.; MARTINS, N.; IRITI, M.:
Cells 2019, 8(7), 681.

DOI: 10.3390/cells8070681

Abstract

Melatonin is a widespread molecule among living organisms involved in multiple biological, hormonal, and physiological processes at cellular, tissue, and organic levels. It is well-known for its ability to cross the blood–brain barrier, and renowned antioxidant effects, acting as a free radical scavenger, up-regulating antioxidant enzymes, reducing mitochondrial electron leakage, and interfering with proinflammatory signaling pathways. Detected in various medicinal and food plants, its concentration is widely variable. Plant generative organs (e.g., flowers, fruits), and especially seeds, have been proposed as having the highest melatonin concentrations, markedly higher than those found in vertebrate tissues. In addition, seeds are also rich in other substances (lipids, sugars, and proteins), constituting the energetic reserve for a potentially growing seedling and beneficial for the human diet. Thus, given that dietary melatonin is absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and transported into the bloodstream, the ingestion of medicinal and plant foods by mammals as a source of melatonin may be conceived as a key step in serum melatonin modulation and, consequently, health promotion.

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