- A new analysis found 22 of 25 memislabeled latonin gummies the amount of melatonin contained in the supplements.
- One melatonin gummy contained no melatonin at all, while another had 347% of the stated amount.
- Melatonin use has been on the rise for decades and sales have skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Melatonin gummies may contain more melatonin than the bottle they are in says.
Researchers at Harvard and Ole Miss tested 25 types of melatonin gummies currently on the market and found that 22 of them did not contain the amount stated on the label. Actual doses of melatonin ranged from 74% to 347% of the indicated amount, with one sample containing no melatonin at all.
“Given these findings, clinicians should caution parents that pediatric use of melatonin gummies may result in the ingestion of unpredictable amounts of melatonin,” the study authors wrote in a letter published in the journal Journal of the American Medical Association.
The report comes a year after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that calls to poison control centers the share of children who took too many melatonin supplements increased by 530% in the last decade, although the vast majority of cases did not result in long-term harm.
This isn’t the first analysis to show that melatonin supplements mislabel the amount of the synthetic hormone they contain. In 2017, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that 71% of 31 supplement brands tested contained between 83% less and 478% more melatonin than claimed on the bottle, and the amount of melatonin within different pills in the same bottle varied by 465 %.
Variations in dosage may occur because the manufacturers of melatonin supplements, like those of all dietary and herbal supplements, are not subject to strict regulation by the Food and Drug Administration.
Melatonin supplements are not the best solution for lack of sleep
melatonin is a sleep hormone produced in the brain that builds up throughout the day and is released just before bed. Melatonin supplements increase the amount of hormones in the body and can cause drowsiness, sleep scientists previously told Insider, but they’re not effective beyond a 10-milligram dose.
The use of melatonin has been scaring during the last decades. Supplement sales skyrocketed after the start of COVID-19when many Americans reported trouble sleeping due to increased stress and anxiety. and a recent survey of 3,000 parents found that 10 percent of them give melatonin to children under the age of 18.
Melatonin supplements do not address the underlying reason why people may have insomnia, Dr Raj Dasgupta, a board-certified sleep and internal medicine doctor and spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) told Insider. Dasgupta said that improving exercise and diet, or seeking cognitive behavior therapythey are more cost-effective long-term solutions to improve sleep.
“Taking supplements beyond the recommended daily allowance has not been shown to be beneficial in other ways, and I always say that, because times are tough and money is hard to come by,” Dasgupta said.