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Munich firm patents 'night milk' to help the sleepless

The Local · 17 Oct 2010, 13:15

Published: 17 Oct 2010 13:15 GMT+02:00

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The Welt am Sonntag weekly paper reported on Sunday that the firm Milchkristalle was launching its products which it says are a natural way of providing melatonin, which is rarely found in foods.

The hormone is sold in the US, the paper reported, but added that in Europe it is classified as a medicine and can only be obtained when prescribed by a doctor.

Melatonin helps regulate the body clock, entering the bloodstream when it is dark, and stopping again when it becomes light, prompting people to wake up.

The cows used to produce the night milk are kept under altered night and day conditions, with stalls brightly lit during the day and then red, orange and yellow lighting at night.

“One cannot simply switch off all the lights,” said Milchkristalle manager Tony Gnann. “Then the animals lose all orientation.”

The red-tone lighting at night means the animals remain content and can be milked, without the crucial melatonin levels dropping.

The cows’ food is enriched with clover, which contains high levels of tryptophan, from which melatonin is created in the body.

The cows are then milked between 2 am and 4 am, producing milk containing up to 25 times the normal levels of melatonin, the company says.

The milk is then turned into a crystalline powder so it can be transported and stored more easily. Taken mixed with milk or yoghurt an hour before going to bed, the firm claims it can help people sleep.

Heiko Dustmann, an agricultural engineer with the Weihenstephan consultancy firm, said the melatonin can cross over the blood-brain barrier because it remains held within the milk chemicals.

He said a test on 40 people showed they found it improved their ability to fall asleep and that they woke up more easily having taken the night milk.

Story continues below…

The idea has been criticised by a number of scientists, not least authors of the magazine Gute Pillen – Schlechte Pillen - or "Good Pills, Bad Pills," who wrote this summer that the night milk crystals were "nothing more than expensive placebos."

The independent magazine wrote that non-milk based melatonin pills did not work well, and that they contained much more melatonin – two milligrams - than the night milk crystals.

“In order to get the same amount of melatonin in the form of night milk crystals, one would have to swallow two million portions,” the authors wrote.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:00 October 17, 2010 by cobalisk
Absolute rubbish.

More absurd claims by firms whose only goal is to turn a profit regardless of scruples.
17:30 October 17, 2010 by loveencounterflow
"the milk is then turned into a crystalline powder", aka powdered milk, which is known to contain less vitamins than fresh milk. add to that the stables with their artificial lighting, and voila there's your post-burgeois chique drink. instead of just letting the buffalo roam we turn those cows into machine parts. but hey its never too late for marketing to package that thing with the stereotypical picture of a family farm printed in garish and toxic colors made from oil, on a non-biodegradable composite carton made from plastics, dead trees, and aluminum. to your health, sir!
19:25 October 17, 2010 by domiDDD
More like bullsh!t
21:15 October 17, 2010 by ebermannstadt
So if I patent "night driving" I'll be able to have the roads to myself between 2am and 4am!!
06:54 October 18, 2010 by parografik
I'm thinking of patenting "Morning Milk" where the cows have been fed coffee beans and flapjacks to produce natural caffiene and carb hormones.

Then there's my "Morning after milk" and "One night stand milk" and "low fat milk from seductively waifish cows," "milk with breakfast cereal and fruit already added," "Golf cheese made from putting green grass," and well, I could go on all night, but the melatonin is kicking in, yawn...
09:27 October 18, 2010 by Da Goat
Ah the good old days!

trouble is nobody sells milk anymore...... only a pile of different varieties of dairy drink. the stuff us humans consume will kill a calf in two weeks! (malnourished)

it is like only being able to buy scrambled eggs at the shops.... bit hard when you want to bake a cake or have boiled eggs for breakfast when you can legally only get scrambled eggs!

it is only legal in most places to buy cooked and scrambled milk

even if this milk was good and the fancy lights did work then the processing just killed and negated any gains!
04:49 October 25, 2010 by sessy
Interesting that the next article after this one is 'Nocturnal cow attacks car'. Maybe..just maybe we should let them get their sleep? Isn't it a bit abusive to wake them just so that we can sleep better?
19:52 October 27, 2010 by rdiac
And how do we know these are properly-rested-but-waking-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-cows are in fact appropriately rested?????? Or are they just stressed more??? Has their late night television been certified as sufficiently rubbish? Are their slippers and covers sufficiently fluffy?? I think some official certification or backup re the melatonin claims would be appropriate under the circumstances......
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