German company patents ‘nocturnal milk’

By Helen Glaberson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Milk

A German company has patented its process for ‘nocturnal milk’ which it claims contains 100 times more melatonin, a hormone that helps to regulate sleep, than normal milk.

After more than five years of research, Munich-based Milchkristalle launched its new milk powder product, which can allegedly aid people with sleep problems.

The product was first introduced to Germany in April this year, followed by a launch in Austria in September. “There is also demand in other countries. For instance, we have requests from Israel, India and the US,” ​Tony Gnann, CEO of Milchkristalle told

The product comes in the form of night-time crystals – called Nacht-Milchkristalle – produced from the night-time milk the company produces.

According to the company, studies show that milk taken from cows at night contains much higher levels of melatonin than milk that is produced during the day.

The crystals are stirred into milk before going to bed. “The lowering of the melatonin level due to ageing can therefore be compensated for on a daily basis,” ​said the company.

The CEO admitted that the ‘nocturnal milk’ is more expensive to produce as additional light during the day is needed as well as special food that is also more costly. However, Gnann claims that the general health costs for the cows are cheaper under the night-time conditions and that the average quality of the milk is better.

Natural Melotonin

According to Milchkristalle, only pharmaceutically produced melatonin has been available in Europe so far and its sale was only permitted by prescription. As a result of insufficient bio-availability, previously only pharmaceutically produced melatonin could be consumed.

However, Gnann claims that the product contains natural melatonin that can be well received by the body: "We can get a high concentration naturally in night-time milk,"​ he said, “It’s because of the linkage of melatonin and lactose. This combination passes the blood-brain-barrier more easily. Indeed, studies have shown that is more effective to give synthetic melatonin with milk​.”

According to the company, melatonin is one of the most important interceptors of free radicals and is used for the treatment of sleeping problems and jet lag; as an anti-aging substance and to reduce blood pressure. The company said that bodily produced melatonin decreases significantly after the age of 25 and as a result, the quality of sleep suffers and ageing effects increase.

Related topics: Ingredients, Fresh Milk

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