Q:

What foods contain melanin?

A:

Food does not contain melanin. Melanin is derived from the amino acid tyrosine. Some foods that are high in tyrosine include seaweed, eggs, cheese, fish and various game meat. A tyrosine deficiency may lead to albinism.

Melanin is a naturally occurring complex polymer found in the body that gives color to skin, hair and the iris of the eye. Melanin is also found in some areas of the brain. Melanin is the primary determining factor in skin color. Melanin also helps protect skin from the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation, as it is able to dissipate about 99 percent of absorbed ultraviolet radiation. A loss of neuromelanin, the melanin found in the brain, may lead to neurological problems.


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