MAARTA STEEMAN.Chinese-controlled milk powder manufacturer Synlait Milk is producing a new specialised milk collected from cows at night to help people with sleep disorders.
The Canterbury-based company plans a trial of the product to demonstrate its effectivness.
Synlait Night Milk is milk collected from cows during the hours of darkness and undergoes specialised processing at Synlait Milk’s new nutritional plant in Dunsandel which was opened in November last year.
Synlait Milk research manager Dr Simon Causer said cows produced a sleep-promoting hormone called melatonin during the hours of darkness and just as with human mothers, this hormone was expressed in the milk.
«Melatonin plays a key role in helping humans regulate day-night cycles, and by selectively collecting milk produced by cows during the night we can create a 100 percent natural sleep aid», he said.
Synlait Milk has partnered with sister company, Synlait Farms, to produce Synlait Night Milk, with additional support from the New Zealand Government.
«Having determined the feasibility of production, and that the change of routine has little effect on the behaviour of the cows, the next step in the process will involve carrying out a clinical trial to demonstrate efficacy of the product when taken by a study group comprising patients with insomnia.»
Causer said the trial would involve patients drinking a glass of the milk 30 minutes before going to bed. Their sleep quality would be monitored against results for people who drank conventional milk.
Synlait Milk general manager for market and product development Dr Tony McKenna said products such as the night milk brand commanded a substantial premium over conventional milk powders. Asia and Europe were considered significant markets with key consumers likely to be professional people, the elderly and international travellers.