Certain Italian grape varieties used in popular red wines may contain high levels of the sleep hormone melatonin, according to an analysis by Marcello Iriti, Mara Rossoni, and Franco Faoro at the University of Milan. However, a melatonin expert in the US is unconvinced by the results citing the undefinitive nature of the analytical procedures used to test the wine.
Until recently, scientists considered melatonin to be a compound produced exclusively by mammals. Some researchers reckon plants too could produce this compound. Melatonin has also been shown to have antioxidant properties. Russel Reiter and colleagues at the University of Texas Health Science Center, in San Antonio, reviewed the literature and explained how melatonin directly detoxifies the hydroxyl radical (OH), hydrogen peroxide, nitric oxide, peroxynitrite anion, peroxynitrous acid, and hypochlorous acid.
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