How much melatonin is actually in your children's gummies?

Sleep deprivation in parents can have mental health consequences for the first six years of a child's life.

How much melatonin is actually in your children's gummies?

Parents, and especially those with small children, know how wonderful sleep is. Sleep deprivation by parents can have serious mental health effects on children, according to studies.

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Parents will do almost anything, even nutritional supplements, to help their children maintain a regular sleeping schedule. Enter: melatonin gummies.

Melatonin is a hormone that aids in falling asleep. It has gained popularity as a sleep-aid, and its benefits range from improving insomnia to preventing jet lag. Melatonin's positive effects are likely to be less than advertised. However, some studies have shown that it can help some people regulate their sleep.

Melatonin remains popular, and it is predicted that the market for supplements containing melatonin will grow by more than 10% over the next five-year period. Pediatric melatonin does not make an exception. In the US, in 2021, melatonin was taken by 1.3% of children, usually in the form gummies.

It's hard to tell how much melatonin actually is in these gummies. A new study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on April 25, found that some over-the counter sleep products contained up to 350% more melatonin than indicated on the labels. Twenty-two of the 25 gummy sleep products were incorrectly labeled and contained more than 10% melatonin.

Adults are not at risk from melatonin. Its side effects include nausea and headache. It can be harmful for children. According to a study, they may experience an increased concentration of Melatonin (in blood plasma) when taking supplements as low as 0.1mg. They are also very sensitive to the amount in melatonin gums.

The study found that the mislabeled supplements for children contained between 1.3mg and 13.1mg per serving. This is between 75% to 350% of what they should have. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a dramatic increase in calls to poison control after pediatric melatonin ingestions. From 2012 to 2021 the number of calls increased 530% with over 260,000 reported ingestions. Over 4,000 children were admitted to hospital, 300 of them received intensive care and two of them died. Children hospitalized for symptoms related to the central nerve system, heart, or gastrointestinal tract. At the start of the pandemic, the largest increase in pediatric consumption of melatonin occurred.

Melatonin, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine(AASM), is the second-most common supplement that parents give their children after multivitamins. Melatonin, like vitamins, is sold as a supplement and is not regulated by FDA. It is easier for manufacturers to make gummies or capsules that do not match the label or exceed the safety limits of the hormone.

The AASM had issued a warning even before the study in response to the increased consumption of melatonin by children. They recommended that parents consult a pediatrician prior to giving melatonin and, if possible, purchase one of three products available on the market that are manufactured according to manufacturing standards verified USP (United States Pharmacopeia).

This is not the first study to discover discrepancies in melatonin labeling and product. A study published in 2017 in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine revealed that 31 supplements contained melatonin levels ranging from 83% lower than the labeled amount to 478% higher.