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A–Z of nutritional supplements: dietary supplements, sports nutrition foods and ergogenic aids for health and performance – Part 25
  1. B Lundy1,
  2. J C Miller2,
  3. K Jackson3,
  4. D S Senchina4,
  5. L M Burke5,
  6. S J Stear6,
  7. L M Castell7
  1. 1English Institute of Sport, Bisham Abbey, Bucks, UK
  2. 2Miller Ergonomics, San Antonio, Texas, USA
  3. 3Oxsport Clinic, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Oxford, UK
  4. 4Biology Department, Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa, USA
  5. 5Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra, Australia
  6. 6Performance Influencers Limited, London, UK
  7. 7University of Oxford, Green Templeton College, Oxford, UK
  1. Correspondence to L M Castell, University of Oxford, Green Templeton College, Oxford OX2 6HG, UK; lindy.castell{at}

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Introductory remarks

Part 25 contains a variety of topics, ranging from the sleep enhancer, melatonin, to an unlikely addition to the M section of our alphabetical series, namely melamine. It is not known how many athletes take melatonin in order to combat sleep deprivation on the necessary long-haul flights they make to compete all over the world. It is more readily available in some countries than others. Methylsulphonylmethane (MSM) has long been used as a supplement for pain relief in a variety of autoimmune diseases. Rather unexpectedly, MSM is used by athletes to combat snoring. We decided to provide a very brief article on melamine, which most of us only think of as a substance important to the manufacture of good-quality picnic ware! However, athletes need to be aware of its history as a possible contaminant of high protein products.


B Lundy, JC Miller

Melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine) is a pineal gland hormone with effects upon circadian rhythms, sleep onset and reproductive systems.1 2 Blood levels of melatonin are generally undetectable during daytime, but rise sharply during darkness. Light–dark sensations at the retina are relayed to the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus. Fibres from the hypothalamus descend to the spinal cord and ultimately project to the superior cervical ganglia, from which sympathetic postganglionic neurons ascend back to the pineal gland. Melatonin peak amplitudes decrease with age,3 which may explain the flattening of the circadian rhythm also associated with ageing. Melatonin is well known as an antioxidant, immunomodulator and anticancer agent.2 Melatonin is of …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.