Melatonin Gummies May Pose Risks to Kids

Nearly 90 percent of melatonin gummy brands don’t contain the amount of melatonin indicated on the label, according to a new lab analysis published on April 25 in JAMA.

In the most extreme case, the gummies had more than 3 times the listed amount of melatonin, an inaccuracy that could result in children being exposed to doses far exceeding the recommended amount, even if the supplements were taken as directed, wrote the authors.

Taking Too Much Melatonin Can Be Dangerous for Children

Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by the body at night that promotes the alignment of our biological and behavioral rhythms with the light-dark cycle. The supplement can be effective in resetting the body’s clock and changing sleep time by advancing or delaying it, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

But especially for children, it’s important to pay attention to the dosage. “We became concerned about melatonin supplements after toxicologists published an analysis last year of calls to the US Poison Control Centers of pediatric melatonin ingestions,” says lead author Pieter Cohen, MD, an internist at Cambridge Health Alliance and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

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