The National Institutes of Health estimate that close to 1.6 million Americans have trouble falling asleep each year, causing melatonin supplement sales to soar. With so much money to be had, you need to be able to separate the best melatonin supplements from the imposters out to make a buck.
Vitafusion Melatonin Blackberry Gummies
Amazing Nutrition Melatonin
Just Potent Melatonin
How Do Melatonin Supplements Work?
Melatonin is a natural hormone inside your body produced in the pineal gland. The purpose of this hormone is to make you less alert and cause you to start feeling drowsy. People who have trouble falling asleep typically produce low levels of melatonin and need a little extra help with feeling drowsy so that they can fall asleep.
This little extra help can come from benzodiazepine-based sedatives, but they tend to be addictive. The use of melatonin supplements is a less dangerous alternative to these prescription sedatives.
How to Choose Melatonin Supplements
Vitamin supplements are not held to the same standards as other medications when it comes to issues of safety, efficacy, and purity. This is where the imposters get away with giving you something other than what you wanted when you went to buy a melatonin supplement. To protect yourself, there are a few things to look for when evaluating melatonin supplements:
First, since melatonin is a hormone and not an herb or vitamin, natural doesn’t always mean better. In fact, synthetic melatonin has the exact same chemical makeup as the melatonin your body produces. Natural melatonin can come from a plant base or from the pineal gland of cows and other livestock. Due to scares from mad-cow disease (a brain disorder), that might not be the best place to get your melatonin.
Second, as a hormone, more doesn't necessarily mean better. The range of actual melatonin in supplements varies from 0.3 mg to 10 mg. The necessary dosage of melatonin for any of its uses rarely exceeds 6 mg, so staying below that level of melatonin in your supplement is advisable.
Then there are some other considerations to take into account when looking for a melatonin supplement:
- Look for independent lab certifications like Consumer Labs, NPA, USP, GMP and NSF. Supplement manufacturers that submit to independent testing tend to be more above board in their manufacturing and packaging process.
- Pay attention to other additives on the label. There's no point paying more for these extra compounds if melatonin is all you really need.
- Make sure you understand fully what melatonin can and can't do for your health and don’t let labels mislead you.
- Be wary of L-tryptophan and 5-HTP additives in melatonin supplements as they raise some concerns (more about this a few paragraphs down).
What Are Some of the Benefits of Using Melatonin Supplements?
Besides being a sleep aid, melatonin supplements can also sometimes help with several other health conditions:
- Decrease negative menopause symptoms
- Lower blood pressure
- Relieve pain caused by fibromyalgia
- Ease the effects of jet-lag
- Strengthen the immune system
- Treat autism, Asperger’s, and ADHD
- Potential treatment for prostate and breast cancer
Even in synthetic form, boosting the level of this hormone (when lacking) can help improve your overall health during the short term, but there are some dangers to be wary of...
A Note of Caution About Melatonin Supplements
With any supplement, it's normal for some people to experience negative side effects and adverse reactions with other medications. Being aware of what these are can give you the most benefit without putting your health at risk. Here's a list of some of the negative effects of melatonin to consider:
- May slow blood clotting
- Can increase blood glucose levels
- Effect of melatonin may increase with birth control pills
- Not advised during pregnancy, breastfeeding, and when attempting to conceive
- Not advised if you have an autoimmune disorder
- L-tryptophan and 5-HTP, which are sometimes included in melatonin supplements, may be linked to eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS)
If you have these conditions or take these medications, it's probably better to seek an alternative to melatonin supplements. Consulting your health care professional about melatonin and any other supplement is still highly advised.
What Is the Best Way to Use Melatonin Supplements?
As recommended above, it's best to consult a health care professional about the use of melatonin supplements. As a general guide, though, dosages of melatonin supplements are considered safe below 6 mg. Dr. Joshua Axe gives the following guidelines for melatonin supplement dosages:
- For jet-lag – 0.5 mg to 5 mg
- For circadian rhythm sleep disorders – 0.5 mg to 5 mg
- For delayed sleep phase syndrome – 0.3 to 6 mg
These supplements are intended for short-term use unless otherwise directed by a health care professional in a specific treatment regimen.
The video below by Dr. Joseph Mercola discusses several ways to help boost natural melatonin and to make melatonin supplements more effective...
Reviews of the Best Melatonin Supplements
This 5 mg, time release melatonin supplement is one strongly to consider. Not only does it give you a more moderate and safer dosage of melatonin, it also includes vitamin B6. The biphasic release of this 100% vegetarian tablet allows you to not only fall asleep fast but keep you sleeping soundly throughout the night.
The idea of a time-released dosage of melatonin sounds good, but one has to wonder if it's effective at overcoming initial insomnia for some since it only releases a low dosage throughout the night. On the other hand, the low dosage of this product probably makes it safer to use more often. The addition of vitamin B6 enhances its effectiveness since B6 helps to synthesize melatonin.
There are several attributes of these gummy melatonin supplements you’re going to like. First, they taste good and you don’t have to swallow a pill. Second, they don’t include gluten or high fructose corn syrup. Third, they offer a 5 mg dosage of melatonin instead of the higher dosages. And fourth, Vitafusion products are independently certified.
You have to give Vitafusion an "A" for making their melatonin supplement easier to swallow. It's also easy to cut the dosage in half by halving a gummy if you'd like. But there's a legitimate concern for parents that their children could get hold of these and start eating them like candy (even if these things rarely are as flavorful as billed).
Straight melatonin is all you get with this product, 10 mg without any additives or fillers. This supplement is designed to help you fall asleep fast and keep you asleep throughout the night. It's a pure and powerful sleep aid without the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs.
You have to hand it to Amazing Nutrition for producing a pure, straight melatonin product without any additives or fillers. That's something we want from all supplements, but they probably overdid it by making a 10 mg tablet. While it may be highly effective at fighting insomnia, you have to take into consideration the day-after and long-term effects of this high dosage.
The product name gives you a pretty good indication of the manufacturer's intent. Just Potent asserts they don’t cut corners on ingredients, production or manufacturing. In fact, they claim their product is pharmaceutical grade quality backed by several certifications from independent labs.
Although Just Potent has more certifications to back up their claims, there isn’t much difference between this melatonin supplement and the one reviewed above. While pharmaceutical grade is certainly something to consider, dosages above 6 mg aren't recommended.
The Schiff melatonin supplement seems to go to the other extreme from the purity of the others reviewed above. Besides having a more moderate dosage of melatonin, this brand adds L-Theanine, GABA, chamomile and valerian root, as well as vitamin B6 and calcium. These additions are meant to help with relaxation and synthesis of melatonin to produce a more natural remedy for insomnia.
Where the addition of vitamin B6, valerian root and chamomile are probably okay, the other additives are questionable. We also wonder about the quality and purity of the ingredients given that no outside source is listed to back up their claims. While the low dosage is probably a safer bet than the 10 mg dosages included in some of the other products reviewed, there still are other concerns that make it hard to boost this supplement’s rating.
What Is the Best Melatonin Supplement for You?
A clear winner among the best melatonin supplements reviewed above has to be the Natrol Melatonin Supplement. While the two reviewed examples of pure melatonin supplements look tempting, the fact that they're almost double the recommended dosage is a concern.
In contrast, Natrol has a moderate dosage of melatonin, it's NPA certified for quality, and includes a time release feature, which helps keep you asleep. While Natrol also contains vitamin B6, it's the only additive, one that improves on the effectiveness of the product by helping to synthesize melatonin. With these features in mind, Natrol probably comes closest to what you're looking for in a melatonin supplement.
Now Over to You!
What are your thoughts about melatonin supplements? Leave your comments below!