Too Much Melatonin For the Stressed Out?

Business Insider recently raised the alarm on melatonin, contending that the hormone supplement’s relative lack of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight could prove problematic, particularly when compared to the more rigorous regulation of medications. Writer Allana Akhtar reports that many turned to melatonin to ease the effects of pandemic-related insomnia. 

“Gallup found emotional wellbeing sunk to an all-time low in 2020, and psychiatrists said trauma from job loss, losing loved ones, and isolation has led to rises in anxiety and depression,” she writes. “For relief, many Americans have turned to melatonin.” 

“When you go to bed, your whole day replays in your mind,” said Asim Shah, professor and executive vice chair at the Baylor College of Medicine in the Business Insider article. “If you worry throughout the day whether you are going to catch the disease or your loved ones are going to catch the disease, of course it is difficult to sleep.”

The FDA regulates dietary supplements less strictly than over the counter or prescription drugs, meaning companies could falsely advertise the amount of melatonin within their product, according to Jennifer Martin, a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine Board of Directors.

“A 2017 study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found the amount of actual melatonin in 71% of supplements is off by a 10-percent margin, meaning the majority of sellers mislabel how much of the hormone is in the pill,” writes Akhtar. “The study also found the amount of melatonin within pills in a single jar can vary by a whopping 465%.”

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