The biological pigment melanin is present in most of the biological systems. It manifests a host of biological and pharmacological properties. Its role as a molecule with special properties and functions affecting general health, including photoprotective and immunological action, are well recognized. Its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, radioprotective, hepatic, gastrointestinal and hypoglycaemic benefits have only recently been recognized and studied. It is also associated with certain disorders of the nervous system. In this MiniReview, we consider the steadily increasing literature on the bioavailability and functional activity of melanin. Published literature shows that melanin may play a number of possible pharmacological effects such as protective, stimulatory, diagnostic and curative roles in human health. In this MiniReview, possible health roles and pharmacological effects are considered.
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