Tart Cherries for Insomnia

Tart Cherries for Insomnia
4.71 (94.29%) 35 votes

The melatonin content in certain plant foods such as almonds, raspberries, and goji berries may explain the improvement in sleep quality associated with tart cherry consumption.

Discuss
Republish

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

We know that not sleeping enough is associated with changes in diet; people tend to eat worse. But, what about the opposite question—can food affect sleep? We saw from the kiwifruit study that this seemed possible. But, the mechanism they suggested for the effect—the serotonin levels in kiwifruit—doesn’t make any sense, since serotonin can’t cross the blood-brain barrier. So, you can eat all the serotonin you want, and it shouldn’t affect your brain chemistry. A different brain chemical, though, melatonin, can get from our gut to our brain.

Melatonin is a hormone secreted at night, to help regulate our circadian rhythms, by the pineal gland in the center of our brain. Supplements of the stuff are used to prevent and reduce jet lag, and about twenty years ago, MIT got the patent to use melatonin to help people sleep. Melatonin is not only produced in the pineal gland, though, but also is “naturally present in edible plants.”

That might explain the results of this study—the “Effects of a Tart Cherry Juice Beverage on the Sleep of Older Adults with Insomnia.” The research group had been doing an earlier study on tart cherry juice as a sports recovery drink. See, there’s a phytonutrient in cherries with anti-inflammatory effects, on par with drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen.

So, they were trying to see if they could help reduce muscle soreness after exercise. And, some of the participants in the study just anecdotally said that they were sleeping better on the cherries. That was unexpected, but the researchers realized that cherries are a plant food source of melatonin. So, they put it to the test.

The reason they chose older subjects is that melatonin production tends to drop as we age—which may be one reason why there’s higher insomnia rates in the elderly. So, they took a group of older men and women suffering from chronic insomnia, and put half on cherries, and half on placebo. Now, they couldn’t use whole cherries for the study, because how could you fool people with a fake placebo cherry? So, they used cherry juice versus cherry Kool-Aid, and found significant but modest improvements in sleep. Some, for example, fell to sleep a few minutes faster, and had 17 fewer minutes of waking after sleep onset, meaning waking up in the middle of the night. So, it was no insomnia cure, but it helped—without side effects.

How do we know it was the melatonin, though? Well, they repeated the study, this time measuring melatonin levels, and, indeed, saw a boost in circulating melatonin levels after the cherry juice—but not after the Kool Aid.

Similar results were found in people eating the actual cherries—seven different varieties, boosting melatonin levels and actual sleep times. The effects of all the other phytonutrients in cherries can’t be precluded. Maybe they helped, too, but if it is the melatonin, there are more potent sources than cherries.

Orange bell peppers have a bit; an ounce of walnuts. A tablespoon of flax seeds has about as much as a tomato. All less than the tart cherries that were tested, but people may eat a lot more tomatoes than cherries—especially tart cherries. Sweet cherries have fifty times less melatonin than tart, and dried cherries appear to have none.

In fact, the melatonin content of tomatoes was suggested as one of the reasons traditional Mediterranean diets were so healthy.

A few spices are pretty potent—just a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds, or mustard seeds, has about as much as a few tomatoes. But, the bronze, silver, and gold go to almonds, raspberries, and goji berries—off the chart.

Now, even gojis have just 15 micrograms an ounce, but melatonin is potent stuff. You inject 10 into people, and you can boost their blood levels fifty-fold in five minutes.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

We know that not sleeping enough is associated with changes in diet; people tend to eat worse. But, what about the opposite question—can food affect sleep? We saw from the kiwifruit study that this seemed possible. But, the mechanism they suggested for the effect—the serotonin levels in kiwifruit—doesn’t make any sense, since serotonin can’t cross the blood-brain barrier. So, you can eat all the serotonin you want, and it shouldn’t affect your brain chemistry. A different brain chemical, though, melatonin, can get from our gut to our brain.

Melatonin is a hormone secreted at night, to help regulate our circadian rhythms, by the pineal gland in the center of our brain. Supplements of the stuff are used to prevent and reduce jet lag, and about twenty years ago, MIT got the patent to use melatonin to help people sleep. Melatonin is not only produced in the pineal gland, though, but also is “naturally present in edible plants.”

That might explain the results of this study—the “Effects of a Tart Cherry Juice Beverage on the Sleep of Older Adults with Insomnia.” The research group had been doing an earlier study on tart cherry juice as a sports recovery drink. See, there’s a phytonutrient in cherries with anti-inflammatory effects, on par with drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen.

So, they were trying to see if they could help reduce muscle soreness after exercise. And, some of the participants in the study just anecdotally said that they were sleeping better on the cherries. That was unexpected, but the researchers realized that cherries are a plant food source of melatonin. So, they put it to the test.

The reason they chose older subjects is that melatonin production tends to drop as we age—which may be one reason why there’s higher insomnia rates in the elderly. So, they took a group of older men and women suffering from chronic insomnia, and put half on cherries, and half on placebo. Now, they couldn’t use whole cherries for the study, because how could you fool people with a fake placebo cherry? So, they used cherry juice versus cherry Kool-Aid, and found significant but modest improvements in sleep. Some, for example, fell to sleep a few minutes faster, and had 17 fewer minutes of waking after sleep onset, meaning waking up in the middle of the night. So, it was no insomnia cure, but it helped—without side effects.

How do we know it was the melatonin, though? Well, they repeated the study, this time measuring melatonin levels, and, indeed, saw a boost in circulating melatonin levels after the cherry juice—but not after the Kool Aid.

Similar results were found in people eating the actual cherries—seven different varieties, boosting melatonin levels and actual sleep times. The effects of all the other phytonutrients in cherries can’t be precluded. Maybe they helped, too, but if it is the melatonin, there are more potent sources than cherries.

Orange bell peppers have a bit; an ounce of walnuts. A tablespoon of flax seeds has about as much as a tomato. All less than the tart cherries that were tested, but people may eat a lot more tomatoes than cherries—especially tart cherries. Sweet cherries have fifty times less melatonin than tart, and dried cherries appear to have none.

In fact, the melatonin content of tomatoes was suggested as one of the reasons traditional Mediterranean diets were so healthy.

A few spices are pretty potent—just a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds, or mustard seeds, has about as much as a few tomatoes. But, the bronze, silver, and gold go to almonds, raspberries, and goji berries—off the chart.

Now, even gojis have just 15 micrograms an ounce, but melatonin is potent stuff. You inject 10 into people, and you can boost their blood levels fifty-fold in five minutes.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to joka2000, BlueWaikiki, and Donovan & Meggin Eastman via flickr; Aadx, Rumun999, FoeNyx, Nataraja, J. Dncsn, Softeis, and Sanjay Acharya via Wikimedia; and Dr Frank Gaillard.

Doctor's Note

The mention of kiwifruit is in reference to my video Kiwifruit for Insomnia.

I’ve previously explored boosting serotonin levels in the brain to improve mood (see Human Neurotransmitters in Plants). Also see:

Melatonin may also play a role in cancer prevention; see Melatonin & Breast Cancer.

Aren’t goji berries really expensive, though? Not if you buy them as lycium berries; see Are Goji Berries Good for You?

For further context, also check out my associated blog posts:  Raspberries Reverse Precancerous LesionsTwo Kiwifruit an Hour before Bedtime, and Foods with Natural Melatonin.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

72 responses to “Tart Cherries for Insomnia

Comment Etiquette

On NutritionFacts.org, you'll find a vibrant community of nutrition enthusiasts, health professionals, and many knowledgeable users seeking to discover the healthiest diet to eat for themselves and their families. As always, our goal is to foster conversations that are insightful, engaging, and most of all, helpful – from the nutrition beginners to the experts in our community.

To do this we need your help, so here are some basic guidelines to get you started.

The Short List

To help maintain and foster a welcoming atmosphere in our comments, please refrain from rude comments, name-calling, and responding to posts that break the rules (see our full Community Guidelines for more details). We will remove any posts in violation of our rules when we see it, which will, unfortunately, include any nicer comments that may have been made in response.

Be respectful and help out our staff and volunteer health supporters by actively not replying to comments that are breaking the rules. Instead, please flag or report them by submitting a ticket to our help desk. NutritionFacts.org is made up of an incredible staff and many dedicated volunteers that work hard to ensure that the comments section runs smoothly and we spend a great deal of time reading comments from our community members.

Have a correction or suggestion for video or blog? Please contact us to let us know. Submitting a correction this way will result in a quicker fix than commenting on a thread with a suggestion or correction.

View the Full Community Guidelines

  1. Shouldn’t the title be Gogi Berries & Raspberries for Insomnia? Was your point that these 2 should have even a bigger impact on sleep than tart cherries but tart cherries had the research?

    1. Great question! If the reason tart cherries work is the melatonin content (as the researchers speculate) then indeed one would assume gojis and raspberries would work even better. But that’s a big if. We’re not sure why the tart cherries work. But fingers crossed Big Berry will fund some research and we’ll have your answer! :)

      1. Dr G,
        The question about whether goji berries need to be fresh or will dried gojis work is valid. Any research on this?

      2. Great stuff! Thank you. If gojis have 15 melatonin micrograms an
        ounce, how many dried goji berries should one consume — pre-bedtime — to adequately boost brain melatonin levels? Thanks, again.

      3. I second mister Greensmoothie. I would like to know if the goji berries would have melatonin in them when dried. Also if the melatonin is heat stable.

    1. Goji berry juice is brilliant, I have been drinking it for 7 years, the dried berries don’t have the active polysaccharides in them.

  2. Thanks for another great video! I’m curious as to the serving size of the “gold, silver, and bronze” of melatonin foods mentioned. Also, do you know if the sweet cherries tested were fresh whole cherries, or was it a sweet juice? Surprising they had “50 times less” melatonin than tart cherries. Sweet whole bing cherries a have worked wonders for me in the past! :)

  3. “Now they couldn’t use whole cherries for the study, because how could you fool people with a placebo cherry? “…simple: order chinese cherries lol

  4. To do a placebo you could make two smoothies. One with cherries and one with something else, and then they might not be sure if it had cherries in. They then would not know if it would work or not. As long as both where a similar colour and a food was used to masks the taste of cherries. They would never be sure it had cherries in.

  5. A lot of people have smoothies for breakfast. Perhaps those with insomnia problems should try having their berry smoothies for dinner instead. Would be interesting to see what happens.

    Or maybe it doesn’t matter. I didn’t catch how long the extra melatonin stays in the body. So, maybe having it for breakfast is just fine.

  6. OK if that works for people great. I do wish to sound a warning because I suffer horribly with long stretches of wakefulness on alternate nights. I read about the decline in melatonin as folks enter geezerdom so I started taking 3 mg tabs. I immediately got soooo depressed I just knew it was the pill. I am normally quite giddy. In desperation I tried it again some weeks later and sure enough, the world turned grey and I had to stop even though I was sleeping soundly.

    FWIW, recently my sainted spousal unit forced me to do a 10 min workout she got off Dr Oz (whom I’ve seen but don’t trust). Anyway we are a week into it and I seem to be sleeping much better. I hate exercise but really this is quite painless and she always makes me laugh with the rabbit thing…you have to see it to understand but I still don’t. The back pain is better too. hmmmm.

    heres the link if you want to try it:
    http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/tony-hortons-10-minute-workout

    1. Hey Coacervate,

      I’m sorry to hear about your experience. I take melatonin pills from time to time and have never experienced any mood changes or negative effects. I also read, “Melatonin: Nature’s Sleeping Pill” by Ray Sahelian (http://www.amazon.com/Melatonin-Natures-Sleeping-Ray-Sahelian/dp/0895297752), and I found it an honest portrayal of this hormone pill: he listed both bad and good experiences, but they were overwhelmingly good. Some people close to me also use it from time to time and it works very well for them.

      However, I’m glad you found a different remedy regardless.

    2. I have lots of questions about melatonin’s safety and efficacy, but I would point out one thing about your experience. The amounts of melatonin in these fruits is tiny, yet supposedly effective, compared to what you took. Even the goji berries deliver only 15 micrograms per ounce of berries. But you were taking 3 mg (3000 micrograms) with one pill. That’s 200 TIMES the amount that they’re talking about from the most potent source.

      I really have to wonder if we are not overdosing on melatonin (and perhaps screwing up our sleep hormonal systems in the process) by taking such massive doses of it. I also sometimes wonder if my now-many-years-long battle with insomnia might have been triggered in this way, since melatonin was one of the first things that I tried when I first started having sleep issues, way back when.

  7. Dr. Greger,
    What if you added a section to NF with recommended meal plans and recipes, which could be linked to specific videos and blog entries. I am sure many of your followers would be interested in hearing how you put all this great science into practice. This could be a section of your website that you update regularly with new discoveries (e.g. eating cherries at the end of the day for better sleep).

  8. Berry Berry Good Karma Bowl

    – ½ cup regular rolled oats
    – 1 cup water
    – ½ tsp Ceylon cinnamon http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-safer-cinnamon/
    – ⅛ tsp each, ground cloves, ground ginger, nutmeg
    – 1/3 cup raspberries
    – 1/3 cup blackberries
    – 1/3 cup organic* blueberries
    – 24 almonds
    – 2 tbsp flaxseed meal^

    Bring water to a boil and cook oats with spices and fruit (only if using frozen fruit). Lower heat and simmer oats to desired consistency. Add remaining ingredients to a bowl and top with cooked oats. Stir and top with a sprinkling of uncooked oats and dash cinnamon.

    *Conventional blueberries were found to have the residues of 52 different pesticides so choose organic. http://www.whatsonmyfood.org/food.jsp?food=ST

    ^ Seeds need to be ground for proper digestion. A coffee or seed grinder works well or you can buy ground flaxseed meal.

    ~Complements of lovestobevegan

  9. Sleep doctors recommend melatonin some 2-3 hours before bedtime (in pill form). How long before bed should the raspberries / goji berries be consumed for effectiveness?

  10. Thanks for the video! I’m going to try Goji, I’m willing to try anything for my insomnia by now. But do you think dried Goji will do the trick? and how much of it?
    Thanks!

  11. Don’t know about the rest of the folks in this country but here in Californee ai ay no one ever hears of sour cherry unless it’s in a roll of life savers. I have lived for a while in Hungary where they have very real, killer 5 story sour cherry trees – mej (spelled there: megy), sour cherries they’re really a TINY bit sour or just taste ever so slightly different then regular cherries or cheresnee (spelled there: csereszni) like we have here. Now that’s the real Mc Coy, the genuine article, everyone talks about sour cherry but I can never find them! Where on earth besides Central Europe of course can a poor soul get fresh sour cherries here??? They’re to die for, I love ’em!!

  12. Dr. Greger, I missed this video when you first posted it, so I don’t know if/when you will see this response. I am very interested in melatonin, though. I have a 4 year old grandson with autism. It usually takes him several hours for him to finally fall asleep each night and he often wakes up afterwards. Naturally, this just exacerbates his autistic symptoms and he is so tired when he gets up in the morning and off to school — it is heartbreaking to see how he has to struggle so each day (not to mention the wear and tear on his parents). He has been on a casein and gluten-free diet for a couple of years now. He eats pretty healthfully, at least compared to his peers, but introducing new food to him can be more than a little challenging. Recently, my daughter began giving him a melatonin supplement. It has worked like magic. He takes his bath, they read him a couple of stories and he happily goes to sleep, sleeps through the night, wakes up happy and refreshed in the morning. This is a life-changing event for all of them. Are there side effects to a melatonin supplement that we should be concerned about? I would be interested in your thoughts about this or resources you might point us to. I am so afraid that this is too good to be true. Thank you so much for all you do.

  13. Really cool, I have heard of using melatonin to help fall asleep but never heard of berries helping. I also like to use a guided relaxation or sleep meditation if I’m having a hard time falling asleep for a nap or at night.

  14. These doses seem awfully low. We in our cab driver house use melatonin spray which has 1.5 mg /spray. This helps onset of sleep and avoids the hangover effect of tablets. With the spray you can release a smaller shot if you like a half shot. But we are talking about 500-1000X difference. Amazing the difference.

  15. I don’t see that Dr. Greger ever answered the question about whether or not dried goji berries also contain melatonin and, if so, how much in comparison to fresh. Was the study in the video done on dried or fresh? I have never even seen fresh goji berries so I’m wondering… thank you!

    1. Hi Helyn, The very last of the video talks about how much they do have! I have never had them fresh and I assume Dr. Greger means dried gogi berries. Hope that helps!

      Joseph

  16. Wild raspberries are about to get ripe here in the South. SO much better than fruit factory berries and easier to pick than black berries. Go BERRIES!

  17. I have been suffering from severe chronic fatigue that seems to come and go every few weeks, lasting for 1-3 days at a time. I feel as though I am sleeping through the night, but I often wake up in the morning feeling exhausted, as though I didn’t sleep well.

    This video is somewhat surprising because I eat those top 5 foods (fenugreek & mustard seeds, almonds, raspberries, and goji berries) practically every day (we love cooking Indian food). I wonder whether these foods could be to blame for these debilitating episodes of fatigue. It seems like these foods should be helping, but maybe these frequent doses of melatonin are raising my levels too much during the day, preventing quality deep sleep throughout the night?

  18. The effect of melatonin in foods on nighttime levels (for sleep) is not so clear;- the bioavailability of melatonin in foods is low, and the half-life of melatonin in the blood is short (less than an hour). This study
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3402070/
    concludes that “the influence of daytime diet on the synthesis of nocturnal melatonin is
    very limited, however, the influence of diet seems to be more obvious
    on the daytime levels of melatonin.”
    Even the studies on the dietary effect on daytime melatonin levels are under doubt:-
    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10408398.2014.962686

    1. Hello Henry! Thanks for your questions. In general, many whole, plant-based foods can be consumed freely (for example – unlimited portions for most fruits and vegetables). The portion size for nuts is 1/4 cup. Here’s guide from our friends at PCRM that you might find helpful: PCRM: The New Four Food Groups

  19. Hello!

    I don’t find the citation for the melatonin in goji berries. I read the listed sources, but found no mention. Did I miss it? Or, would you provide a citation?

    Thank you!

  20. I saw a video today by Gundry Medical (Steven Gundry) stating that Gogi Berries are a superfood to NEVER eat due to the high lectins. Here is the link: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=goji+berries+never+eat+steven+gundry&view=detail&mid=9962D3AD5F5A4CADA0339962D3AD5F5A4CADA033&FORM=VIRE Is there any foundation to these allegations, and should we avoid Goji Berries? He also notes that we should avoid Soy and Soy products as well as Wheat Grass which were also surprising. Would like to know if I should remove these from my diet. Thank you!

    1. Deb- As a moderator for NF.org, I’m responding to your questions. I did a review of PubMed and found two studies about potential benefits of Gogi berries https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27651780
      http://www.webmd.com/balance/goji-berries-health-benefits-and-side-effects and no studies indicating that are a dangerous food alleged by Steven Gundry to be avoided at all costs. I viewed Gendry’s video and kept looking in vain for the studies on which he based his statements. As we know there is so much misinformation out there and this is a good example of why we need to be skeptical and avoid nutritional claims without scientific basis. I would not look to this source for reliable health information.
      You may check out NutritionFacts videos on soy and wheatgrass:
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/wheatgrass-juice-ulcerative-colitis/
      which give evidence-based information for you to make educated nutritional choices. Hope that helps!

  21. So was the question of whether dried gojis work as well as fresh ever answered? Dr. Gonzalez seemed to say yes, whereas others have concluded that as dried cherries didn’t have any melatonin as opposed to fresh, therefore dried goji berries would not have any either. What, then, is the definitive answer?

    1. Hi Gayla, NF Moderator here!
      So I had a read around and it looks like processing of cherries does indeed reduce their nutrient content, including melatonin. Therefore it is more than likely that drying will reduce the melatonin in goji berries in the same way, although I cannot find papers saying this explicitly.
      However, dried fruits do provide loads of other benefits, check out examples in this article. So, as is often the case, a mixture and variety in the diet is the best option.

  22. should i avoid eating food known to have melatonin in the morning or during the day when i do not want the effects of melatonin? in other words, if these foods have melatonin, should i only eat them at night?

  23. should i avoid eating food known to have melatonin in the morning or during the day when i do not want the effects of melatonin? if these foods have melatonin, should i only eat them at night?

  24. Hi Maxperryg,

    I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. You ask a very intriguing question.

    I’m not sure there is a specific answer to this. This may have never been tested, and we may not know.

    However, pay attention to your body. If you eat tart cherries or other melatonin rich foods, and you feel tired during the day after eating them, then save them for the evenings. Otherwise, if you experience no feelings of lethargy or tiredness, then continue to eat them whenever, as they are healthful foods.

    I hope this helps to answer your question, since the answer may differ for everybody.

    1. Hi Whollyplantfoods. I still have not received an answer to my question about the efficacy of dried versus fresh goji berries.​

      1. Old topic, but I would say that in the video he says that dried fruit does not contain melatonin because it breaks down easily in the drying process and so that would mean it would be much easier to use raspberries which you can pick during the summer and eat fresh and then also freeze for smoothies and such during the winter months if you experience winter where you live, which we do.

        1. Thank you, Mike. Unfortunately I can’t often get raspberries here in Costa Rica (and on the off chance I do, they’re imported and thus very pricey). Any other options?

  25. Request for new video on Narcolepsy please.
    This was a great video however this doesn’t help me much as it doesn’t matter whether I get 2 hours of sleep or 12 I still can’t stay awake to save my life. I am on a auto cpap with oxygen and take armodafinil and I still can struggle to stay awake during the day. So I would like to request a video on Narcolepsy/Excessive Daytime Sleepiness please.

  26. Syzygy07,

    Have you done an extensive workup considering: mitochondrial testing a chelated test for toxic elements, nutritive testing such as that at Spectracell laboratories or a comprehensive panel such as the Genova labs, ION profile and a genetics workup…. with an emphasis on methylation pathways ?

    Unfortunately there are so many facets to narcolepsy that this set of suggestions is just scratching the surface. Please look deeper and regain your health.

    Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger

    1. In the past, I found recommendations for melatonin included the caveat that MORE IS NOT BETTER. Specifically that too little is just that, but too much either has no effect or the opposite. There was a coarse recommendation for an effective amount, but also that it varied between individuals, so you have to find your own optimal dose by trial and error.

      Does Dr. G. agree with this?

  27. We tend to argue about soy being healthy with saying that the plant estrogen is not active in a human being. In this case, it is different? The plant melatonin is actually active, because it is the same exact molecule?

  28. I need technical support and I have gone to the Nutritionfacts.org website, contact us, then “if you need technical support click here” but when I click “here” nothing happens…nothing!
    My technical question is that I thought there was a daily dozen app, but I cannot find it. Is there one? How can I find it?

  29. Cherries are also a good source of quercetin and this may also benefit in histamine reduction which may be a contributing factor with insomnia. Cherries may also help with gout. Many variables come into play when discussions like this come up. Histamine levels are prudent and if your histamine levels are high, your copper level is often low. If copper levels are low, then molybdenum levels are often low. A diet higher in sulfur will often contribute to decreased molybdenum. Decreased molybdenum reduces your transsulfuration pathway and often increases your chances of having chronic yeast growth. Over time, you worry about BHMT, C677T, MTHFR03, and MTRR mutations (among others) which lower your ability to function efficiently at the cellular level. Eat a lot of meat, (which is high in sulfur, methionine, and nitrogen) and you decrease your ability to function efficiently. These are just some of the factors that come into play in these situations. Add in pathogens and improper GI bacterial ratios and it can be a long term spiral to negative health. Long story short, listen to Dr Greger.

    1. Hello,

      Yes, it has been studied, but the studies are limited. It should work since you get more melatonin and serotonin if you take it. But please be careful and DO NOT combine it with any other antidepressants or drugs. You should ideally consult it with your doctor.

      “In one study, people who took 5-HTP went to sleep quicker and slept more deeply than those who took a placebo. Researchers recommend 200 to 400 mg at night to stimulate serotonin, but it may take 6 to 12 weeks to be fully effective.”

      “Preliminary studies indicate that 5-HTP may work as well as certain antidepressant drugs to treat people with mild-to-moderate depression. Like the class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which includes fluoxetine (Prozac) and sertraline (Zoloft), 5-HTP increases the levels of serotonin in the brain. One study compared the effects of 5-HTP to fluvoxamine (Luvox) in 63 people and found that those who were given 5-HTP did just as well as those who received Luvox. They also had fewer side effects than the Luvox group. However, these studies were too small to say for sure if 5-HTP works. More research is needed.”

      http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/5hydroxytryptophan-5htp

      Hope this helps,

      Moderator Adam P.

  30. Dr. Greger,

    I would like to request a change in a particular way you phrase something. I don’t understand what “50 times less” means. Do you mean 1/50? I understand what “X times more” means, but “X times less” doesn’t make sense if X is a whole number larger than 1.

    If you say “three times less” to mean 1/3, that technically isn’t correct either; if the quantity of A is 1/3 of the quantity of B (in other words, B = 3A), you have to subtract two A’s from B to get to the size of one A. So A is perhaps “two times less” than B because “less than” means “subtract”.

    If it wouldn’t bug you to do so, would you please take this into account when comparing relative reductions? Does “A is 2 times less than B” mean A is half of B, making B 100% bigger? In that case, B is “one times greater than A”, because “100% bigger than A” means B is 200% of A.

    This whole thing can cause a great deal of confusion. In any case, all I mean to request is that you not say “X times smaller/less than” and use fractions instead, because it is not clear whether “A is X times less than B” means “divide by (X*A) or “subtract (X*A)”.

  31. Is there any research about the best way to deal with jet lag? I travel to the other side of the globe at least once a year (12 hr time difference) and struggle horribly with jet lag. Almost nothing I’ve tried works (melatonin, diphenhydramine, valerian pills, etc.). They make me feel more tired yet still sleepless. The only thing that worked was Valium when I was desperate after 3 straight days without sleeping more than 3 hours, but I’m afraid to rely on it. The other “tricks” I’ve tried, like resetting your schedule on the flight, sunlight exposure, etc., have minimal impact.

  32. Maybe THAT is why I sometimes get a little sleepy after my smoothies consisting of raspberries! Apart from the benefits melatonin can have on sleep, I was reading a study on pubmed which said that melatonin acts as an antioxidant. I’m not sure how it acts as one within the body, the study was focused on topical application for sun protection, but either way I thought it was pretty cool!

  33. Gosh, no mention of pistachios which are reported to offer 230 ㎍/g of melatonin. If a typical serving is 30g (about 49 nuts) then you might get 6900㎍ per serving. That’s almost 500x more than you could get from a serving of goji berries.

    See Spectrofluorimetric determination of melatonin in kernels of four different Pistacia varieties after ultrasound-assisted solid–liquid extraction, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.saa.2014.05.010

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This