88% of Melatonin Gummies Nutrition Labels Are Inaccurate, According to a Recent Study

New research finds that what you see on the label is probably not what you’re getting in the bottle.

melatonin gummies on a pink grid background
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For those seeking a good night's sleep, melatonin gummies have become a popular choice, promising a convenient and tasty way to promote better rest. However, a recent research letter published in JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association) has uncovered unsettling news about these widely consumed sleep aids.

The study examined the accuracy of nutrition labels on melatonin gummies and concluded that an alarming 88% of the tested products displayed inaccuracies in their melatonin content claims. This discrepancy raises concerns for people who rely on melatonin gummies to improve their sleep patterns and get some much-needed rest. Here, we'll explore the details of this study and discuss the potential implications of inaccurate nutrition labels on melatonin gummies.

What the Study Found

The study, conducted by Pieter Cohen, M.D., of the Cambridge Health Alliance in Somerville, Massachusetts, along with co-researchers, involved a comprehensive examination of various melatonin gummy products available in the market. First, they analyzed the melatonin content claimed on the product labels and compared it with the actual melatonin levels present in the gummies. The findings were alarming, as a staggering 88% of the tested products displayed discrepancies between the labeled melatonin content and the actual measured levels.

In the JAMA research letter, published on April 25, 2023, the study's authors emphasized the potential risks associated with inaccurate nutrition labeling in these gummy products. For those who take melatonin gummies, the inconsistencies in the labeled versus actual melatonin levels could affect sleep and potentially lead to other health issues over time. Some of the products tested contained far more melatonin than indicated on the label, which can be dangerous. This is especially worrisome considering that pediatric hospitalizations from unintentional melatonin ingestions in young kids increased over the last decade, according to 2022 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Labels on melatonin supplements, as well as other supplements, can sometimes be misleading. Dosage, ingredients and serving size are very variable," says Liudmila Schafer, M.D., a medical oncologist and the founder of The Doctor Connect. It's also important to consider who's taking the melatonin supplement, she says: "Melatonin is generally considered safe for children when used under the guidance of a health care professional. It's important to consult with a pediatrician or health care provider before giving melatonin to children. Sleep disorders are associated with various neurological conditions."

The study's findings indicate that consumers may need more melatonin to achieve their desired sleep benefits, or they could be consuming more melatonin than expected. In addition, this discrepancy raises questions about the reliability and consistency of the melatonin gummy market and prompts further investigation into these products' manufacturing and labeling practices.

The Bottom Line

According to new research, a substantial percentage of melatonin gummies have inaccurate nutrition labels, indicating a significant concern for consumers relying on these sleep aids. An alarming 88% of the tested products showed discrepancies in their melatonin content claims, raising doubts about their effectiveness in promoting quality sleep and concern about potential for side effects.

The study's findings emphasize the need for greater transparency and standardization within the melatonin gummy industry to ensure accurate labeling and reliable products. Consumers should approach these products cautiously, staying informed about potential risks and considering consulting health care professionals for guidance on incorporating melatonin gummies into their sleep routines. However, adopting a lifestyle-first approach and building healthy habits around nutrition, exercise and sleep hygiene is your best bet for enhancing sleep quality.

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