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22 of 25 melatonin gummy products were inaccurately labeled, study finds

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If you take over-the-counter melatonin to help you sleep, you may be getting a different amount of the popular supplement than you think.

A study published Tuesday in JAMA found that, of 25 products analyzed, the actual quantity of melatonin ranged from 74% to 347% of the labeled quantity.

"22 of 25 products (88%) were inaccurately labeled, and only 3 products (12%) contained a quantity of melatonin that was within ±10% of the declared quantity," the study noted.

Melatonin is a hormone that helps control the body's sleep cycle. In the U.S., melatonin is sold as a supplement, not regulated as a drug. Because melatonin is unregulated, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn't have oversight over the purity of ingredients or the accuracy of dosage claims. 

While the hormone itself plays a role in sleep, there's less evidence on how well melatonin supplements work, and the effects of taking them aren't fully understood.

In the study, researchers also looked at five products that declared CBD as an ingredient, finding the actual range also varied, from 10.6mg to 31.3mg per serving.

"The actual quantity of CBD ranged from 104% to 118% of the labeled quantity," the study added.

This isn't the first time researchers have given consumers reason to be wary of the accuracy of melatonin labels. 

Last year, another study found certain gummy products sold as sleep aids had potentially dangerous levels of melatonin. 

The same year, research showed the number of children overdosing on over-the-counter sleep aids had skyrocketed. The study, from researchers at the Children's Hospital of Michigan, found that the number of children who have been accidentally poisoned by melatonin had jumped by 530% over the past decade, largely in kids under five.

Researchers of the latest study added, given their findings, "clinicians should advise parents that pediatric use of melatonin gummies may result in ingestion of unpredictable quantities of melatonin and CBD."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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