Melatonin gummies in the US contain far more hormones than are listed

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Red melatonin gummies spilled out of a clear container in front of a white background

Melatonin supplements sold in the US may be more potent than listed

Angel Alexis Luna Larios / shutterstock

Most melatonin gummies sold in the US contain far more melatonin than is listed on the label – a hormone naturally produced by the body that helps regulate circadian rhythms. This increases the risk of overdose, especially in children who may mistake gummies for candy.

Melatonin supplements are generally considered safe, but higher doses have been linked to serious side effects. between 2012 and 2021More than 27,000 teens in the US visited a health facility after consuming too much melatonin, of whom nearly 4,100 were hospitalized.

Peter Cohen He and his colleagues at the Cambridge Health Alliance in Massachusetts compared the ingredients of melatonin gummies to those listed on their labels. They identified 30 different melatonin gummy products to be sold in the US in 2021 using the National Institutes of Health’s Dietary Supplement Label Database, the most comprehensive database of dietary supplements sold in the US. Only 25 were available for purchase when the study was conducted in September 2022 and mentioned melatonin on the label.

The researchers dissolved a single dose of each of these products into a liquid, and then identified and quantified the chemical compounds in the sample. They found that 22 of the 25 products were falsely labeled and contained between 74 and 347 percent of the amount of melatonin listed.

Sanjeev Kothare These results came as no surprise to Northwell Health in New York because melatonin is not a regulated substance in the US. Dietary supplements, such as melatonin, receive minimal oversight from regulatory bodies in the US.

He says the findings are concerning, however, because melatonin can cause seizures and respiratory failure in very high doses.

“Although [melatonin is] A drug, a hormone, it’s sold as a supplement,” says Cohen. So, it “can be sold without any knowledge of the risks at a certain dosage and can be formulated at any dosage. could”, he says.


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