Melanin is a natural pigment found in most organisms. In animals melanin pigments are derivatives of the amino acid tyrosine. The most common biological melanin is eumelanin. This is a brown-black polymer of dihydroxyindole carboxylic acids and their reduced forms.
Tyrosine is one of the 22 amino acids that are used by cells to synthesize proteins. Aside from being a proteinogenic amino acid, tyrosine has a special role by virtue of the phenol functionality. It occurs in proteins that are part of signal transduction processes.
Tyrosine, which can also be synthesized in the body from phenylalanine, is found in many high-protein food products such as chicken, turkey, fish, peanuts, almonds, avocados, milk, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, lima beans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, bananas, and soy products. Tyrosine can also be obtained through supplementation.
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Seaweed and Soy Protein
Egg whites and cottage cheese are the next two highest sources of L-tyrosine.
Many kinds of fish and shellfish are excellent sources of L-tyrosine. Crab and shrimp (canned or fresh), along with salmon, orange roughy, tuna (canned or fresh), pike, sunfish, cod, haddock, whitefish, crab and perch all have over 1440 mg per 200-calorie serving.
Poultry, particularly wild game, is high in this amino acid as well. Turkey, quail, pigeon and duck rank the highest.
Hair color is the pigmentation of hair follicles due to two types of melanin: eumelanin and pheomelanin. Generally, if more eumelanin is present, the color of the hair is darker; if less eumelanin is present, the hair is lighter. Levels of melanin can vary over time causing a person's hair color to change, and it is possible to have hair follicles of more than one color.
Hair melanin comes in two shades—eumelanin (dark brown or black) and pheomelanin (yellow or red)—that combine in different proportions to create a vast array of human hair colors. Hair that has lost most of its melanin is gray; hair that has lost all of this pigment is white.
Melanin and stress factors
Stress can cause the pigment in the lips and mouth to destroy melanin.