New study raising melatonin safety concerns, especially for young people

KING COUNTY, Wash. — “I hesitate to recommend it at all,” said Dr. Cora Breuner in an interview with KIRO 7 this afternoon about the use of melatonin, a popular sleep aid for adults and adolescents.

Dr. Breuner further explained that melatonin “is a neurohormone,” and it’s a crucial substance that our brain naturally produces. KIRO 7 has learned that the more melatonin consumed periodically, “the less our brains produce it, the more it shuts it off. It’s a feedback mechanism.”

Recent findings from a CDC study published just last month have raised serious concerns. The study revealed that between 2019 and 2022, almost 11,000 infants and children were rushed to the emergency room after consuming melatonin supplements without supervision. Most notably, the study found that most of these supplements were in the form of ‘gummies.’

Dr. Breuner has over 20 years of experience in the medical field. She specializes in pediatric and adolescent medicine and is passionate about educating parents about the supplement industry.

I’m interested in supplements, specifically melatonin, to ensure that what we do and put into our children, young adults, and teenagers is safe,” said Dr. Breuner.

While she is hesitant to recommend the use of this supplement to anyone of any age, she says her reason is limited research highlighting the long-term effects this product may or may not have on developing children and teens. After all, while some melatonin products are made from animal microorganisms, most are synthetic hormones.

Dr. Breuner also mentioned that there could be some exemptions when it comes to intermittent use of the supplement for children above the age of thirteen. Adding that legitimate sleep disruptions due to a medical condition or suspected condition could warrant the temporary use of it, but before self-diagnosing yourself or your child, consult with your physician before taking anything.

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