Some melatonin and CBD gummies have potentially more dangerous quantities of the drugs than the label says, a study has warned.
Lab testing of common store-bought supplements found nine in 10 were inaccurately labeled.
One melatonin supplement contained 347 percent more — 4.5 times — of the hormone than was listed, while another did not contain any melatonin at all and instead was made of CBD.
Taking too much melatonin can lead to vomiting, diarrhea and even seizures — especially in young children with low tolerance. CBD may interact with other medications a child is taking and they may also become tolerant to it and have worse sleeping problems if they stop taking it.
It comes after a report found the number of children overdosing on melatonin has skyrocketed 530 per cent between 2012 and 2022.
Over-the-counter sleep gummies are worrying as parents may give them to children, Dr Cora Collette Breuner, a professor of pediatrics at Seattle Children’s Hospital at the University of Washington told CNN
The supplement industry is booming in the US, making $45.3 billion per year and growing.
It is not subject to the same regulations as drugs because the products are classed as ‘dietary supplements’.
Researchers from the University of Mississippi sent 25 products labeled as melatonin gummies to a lab for testing.
The products were listed on the National Institutes of Health database, the most comprehensive database of dietary supplements sold in America.
Study coauthor Dr Pieter Cohen, an associate professor of medicine at the Cambridge Health Alliance in Somerville, Massachusetts, told CNN: ‘The regulatory framework for supplements is broken.
‘The manufacturers are not complying with the law, and the FDA is not enforcing the law. So what that means is that we have a lot of poor-quality products out there.’
Some 88 percent of the tested gummies were inaccurately labeled. The remaining had a quantity of melatonin which was within 10 percent of the quantity, the study found.
Five of the products said CBD was an ingredient in the gummies, with the amount varying from 10.6mg to 31.3mg per serving.
The true quantity of CBD was found to be between 104 percent and 118 percent of what was written on the label.
The US Food and Drugs Administration said on its website: ‘It is currently illegal to market CBD by adding it to a food or labeling it as a dietary supplement.’
Over-the-counter sleep gummies are worrying as parents may give them to children, Dr Cora Collette Breuner, a professor of pediatrics at Seattle Children’s Hospital at the University of Washington told CNN.
She said: ‘There’s no data that supports the use of CBD in children. It’s currently only recommended for a very specific use in children over one with intractable seizure disorders.’
She added that ingesting gummies with extremely high levels of melatonin — far higher than the 0.5 to 1 milligram per night that has been shown to aid sleep in children — is dangerous.
Melatonin in kids can cause agitation, headaches, drowsiness, plus more frequent bed-wetting.
Children could also respond badly to the medication or have an allergic reaction, the National Institutes of Health said.
There could be effects on hormonal development. The agency said: ‘Because melatonin is a hormone, it’s possible that melatonin supplements could affect… puberty, menstrual cycles, and overproduction of the hormone prolactin.’
However, multiple of the products tested clearly advertised CBD on their packaging.
A Canadian study found much the same: 16 melatonin brands actually contained a melatonin dose between 17 percent and 478 percent of the labeled quantity.
Melatonin is a hormone crucial to the body’s sleep-wake cycle, with levels rising in the evening as the sun goes down, signaling it is time to go to bed, and dropping to almost nil during the day.
Supplements of the hormone have been available over the counter in the US since the mid-1990s and are available at most pharmacies and health shops for around 12 cents per pill.
More than four million American adults now use the supplements regularly; estimates show – a five-fold uptick on two decades ago.