A German company Milchkristalle Ltd claims that it can raise the concentration of naturally occurring melatonin in milk and has developed a highly melatonin-rich product called "Nachtmilchkristalle". By milking cows at night and cold processing the collected milk the resulting diary product contains over a hundred times more melatonin than regular milk.
The company claim that this naturally produced product can be used to treat sleep disorders, jet lag, anti-ageing and is good for anyone seeking to induce sleep. Melatonin regulates the circadian rhythm in the human body and can help to overcome sleep disorders. Like cows, all humans produce melatonin within the pineal gland in the brain. However, after the age of 25 production in the human body starts to decline.
The company quotes evidence for the product from a small 2008 study, in the German food science journal "Der Lebensmittelbrief".
"The intrinsic level of the hormone melatonin in milk can be effectively raised to a level many times higher than previously thought. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study performed by the Innovationsberatung Weihenstephan with 40 test subjects proved the effectiveness of a dairy product produced in this way. The dairy product, when consumed by the verum group for 10 consecutive days, led to a more relaxing sleep in 73 % of the test subjects. Applying U-test analysis showed a statistically significant difference in comparison to the placebo group (? = 1 %). Complementary research parameters confirmed the benefits of the product with regard to daily activities, well-being, sleep intensity, regulation of night and day rhythm, speed of falling asleep and the quality and duration of sleep. The cows also profited from the circumstances that increase nocturnal melatonin levels in their blood and milk. Milk output, feed conversion and delayed raising quote were improved."
(Dustmann, H.; Weissßieker, H.; Wetendorf, R. (2008): Wirksamkeit eines Milchprodukts mit nativ erhöhtem Melatoningehalt. In: Der Lebensmittelbrief - ernährung aktuell, 19. Jg., Heft 11/12, S. 320-321.)