We live in a world that thrives on competition and survival. This leads us to fall to overwhelming habits that take a toll on our health. Or bodies have started facing a lack of nutrition in the form of vitamins, minerals, etc.
Our mind is under constant pressure as we are feeding it with a lot of distraction and knowledge at the same time. The mind is unable to process the amount of information that it is being exposed to and it all leads to one single thing called stress. The amount of stress that we face in our everyday life has reached a stage where we are unable to fall asleep naturally and give our body the rest that it requires. it is only when we give a body adequate rest that it can perform better and faster the next day. This lack of sleep and this inability to fall asleep naturally has led to a lot of people looking towards supplements to fall asleep.
And when we say supplements for sleep, it is usually the melatonin supplement that people have started consuming in order to help themselves with sleep issues.
What is melatonin?
Melatonin is nothing but a hormone in our body that is produced naturally. It is produced naturally in our pineal gland and is a very essential hormone as it helps regulate our circadian rhythm. Generally, the pineal gland is cued from light and it tends to get confused when there is larger exposure towards light during night times. This results in the inability to fall asleep naturally. And when a body is not producing it sufficiently, it can be consumed in the form of a supplement as well.
Several kinds of research have started pointing out towards raised safety concerns that nearly 500 percent of the increase is seen in consumption of melatonin supplements among the people all over the world. Let us understand more about this research and why there is a serious concern over people taking high doses of melatonin to sleep.
What does the research data say?
In order to reach the alarming conclusion, researchers studied nearly 20 years of accumulated data from national health and nutrition examination survey. They studied the trends of melatonin supplementation amongst adults. They also wanted to understand why people were using at least 5 mg of melatonin supplement every single day. The findings showed that by the year of 2018, people had started taking almost twice the amount of required melatonin than they used to at least a decade back. The researchers plead that awareness of safety regarding the effects of supplements, especially melatonin is the need of the hour. Several scientists claim that very little is known about how melatonin can react with other drugs if it is used every single day. In general, melatonin supplements are definitely considered to be well tolerated and safe, however, several side-effects has started being reported especially in high dose cases among patients who are already having a preexisting health condition.
In accurately labelled melatonin supplements make a whopping 70%
Although all of the supplements, especially the melatonin supplements available in the market promise us a good night’s sleep, the label information provided on the supplement bottles can be inaccurate. This is because the FDA — the Food and drug administration does not regulate the information provided on supplement labels like how it does for drugs. A study conducted by a particular scientist showed that amongst all the dietary supplements nearly 70% of the melatonin supplements did not show the correct dose that was stated on the label when they were checked. The scientist states that there was nearly 465 percent variability in the ingredients on melatonin supplement bottles. Adulterated supplements were found to be very common.
Another study showed that there were couple of brands who included quite a good amount of serotonin which is a neurotransmitter in their supplements but it was not claimed on their label and this could be very hazardous to health.
If one consumes too much of melatonin supplement it could disrupt the sleep wake cycle permanently. Some do develop side-effects after consuming melatonin supplements and they include nausea, fatigue, dizziness, and headache.
Are the supplements not approved by the FDA for their effectiveness or for their safety?
As mentioned earlier militant falls under the dietary supplement category and supplements are something that FDA does not approve. However, there is a particular organisation that claims purity and dosage of certain brands only. Supplements verified by the United States Pharmacopeial convention or known to be the most reliable melatonin supplements. Supplements that are USP be verified are also tested in order to ensure that the potency factor and the amounts mentioned on the label match and also that the product doesn’t contain any harmful contaminants which can create health problems. This safe dosage range for beginners is from 2 mg to 5 mg.
Also, we can actually look at melatonin as sleep medications and this will help us steer clear from any overdose.
We must not sideline research with the claim that there is a significant increase in the amount of melatonin supplement consumption and this is an alarming sign. Overdose of melatonin can definitely disrupt your sleep cycle permanently and can cause severe side-effects as well. Brands do not mention accurate information on their labels and can contain harmful contaminants as well. Therefore look for militant supplement runs which are USP verified.
The best practice would be to try and avoid supplements by leading a healthy lifestyle. Practice meditation and avoid using any electronic devices especially the mobile phone at least one hour prior to sleep time.