From Ronald Hoffman, MD
We were recently regaled with headlines like these:
- “Melatonin Poisonings in Kids Jumped 530% in 10 Years” (Medpage Today)
- “Pediatric Hospitalizations Due to Accidental Melatonin Overdoses Spiked in Last Decade, CDC Says” (People)
- “Melatonin Supplements Are Poisoning Children” (Gizmodo)
This is in the context of a Congressional campaign to place onerous requirements on supplement manufacturers for the sake of “public safety”.
When did a federal agency and Washington legislators ever turn down another opportunity to extend their powers to regulate??
But reciting the statistic that from 2012 to 2021, there were 260,435 pediatric melatonin ingestions reported, is a sure-fire way to get our attention. Over a quarter-million cases??
It is said that episodes are surging, partially due to the COVID lockdowns, which have kept kids cooped up at home, and amid an uptick in Americans’ sleep problems that have led to the popularization of melatonin. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, which surveyed 2,006 adults in the U.S. in 2021, 56% indicated that they have experienced an increase in sleep disturbances, sometimes referred to as “COVID-somnia”.
It seems that the medical orthodoxy was laying the groundwork for an attack on melatonin even before the recent disclosure of “poisonings”. In a February article in Medical News Today entitled “Melatonin: Are we using too much?” the authors reference a JAMA survey “Trends in Use of Melatonin Supplements Among US Adults, 1999-2018”, the authors concede that “melatonin is generally regarded as safe” but posit, without real substantiation, that it may have adverse effects (“data on long-term use and high-dose use are scarce.”)