Melatonin content of supplements varies widely

Results highlight the need for improved quality control of melatonin supplements. A new study has found that melatonin content of dietary supplements vary widely from what is listed on the labels.

Melatonin is a natural hormone that helps regulate the daily cycle of sleep and wakefulness, with melatonin production increasing at night and decreasing in the morning.

The anomalies

Results show that melatonin content does not meet with a 10% margin of the label claim in more than 71% of supplements, with the actual content ranging from 83% less to 478% more than the concentration declared on the label. The study also found that lot-to-lot variability within a particular product varied by as much as 465%.

«Our findings also reveal that further research is needed to clearly establish the stability and suitable storage conditions to ensure safety, efficacy, and quality of melatonin products» said study co-author Praveen K. Saxena, PhD, professor in the department of plant agriculture at the Gosling Research Institute for Plant Preservation at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.

Anomalies in 16 different brand

Tests on 16 different brands, including liquids, capsules and chewable tablets, found serotonin which, in significant quantities, could lead to serious side effects.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) suggested not using melatonin for sleeping problems because the overall evidence is somewhat against melatonin’s efficacy.
It is important to consult a doctor before taking melatonin as a dietary supplement.