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Take Melatonin Gummies for Sleep? You May be in for a Surprise

With sleep issues on the rise, melatonin has become a popular sleep aid for all ages, especially melatonin gummies, but do you really know what you’re getting?

A new study released by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has revealed that the labeling of melatonin in the form of gummies may be inaccurate, with some products containing dangerous levels of melatonin or no melatonin at all.

Scary? Yes. Here’s what to know…

What is Melatonin?

Before delving into labeling issues, understanding what melatonin is first before you make decisions about taking it at all. Melatonin is a hormone produced in your brain in response to darkness. It helps with the timing of your circadian rhythms (24-hour internal clock) and with sleep. It’s important to note that Melatonin products are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The JAMA Study Findings

Researchers sent 25 melatonin gummy products to an outside lab that tested for levels of melatonin and other substances. The products were carefully chosen by the research team by using the first 25 melatonin gummy products displayed on the National Institutes of Health database. This database is used by the public to check labels of dietary supplements sold in the United States.

One product did not contain detectable levels of melatonin. In the products that contained melatonin, the actual quantity of melatonin ranged from 74% to 347% of the labeled quantity. Twenty-two of 25 products (88%) were inaccurately labeled and only 3 products (12%) contained a quantity of melatonin that was within ±10% of the declared quantity.

So What Does This Mean for You?

As always, it’s important to always check with your doctor first before ever taking any over-the-counter (OTC) supplement as supplements can interfere with prescription medications and have unwanted impacts. It’s also important to decide if your sleep issues can be remedied by other means like exercise, stress reduction, alcohol reduction and proper sleep hygiene.

This study demonstrates the dangers and unknowns for taking a supplement like melatonin despite what the label says. Take extreme caution when considering a supplement and again, check with your doctor first.

If you struggle with sleep issues, please read our blog post on How to Find Better Sleep in 2023.

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