Labdoor Tests 30 Best-Selling Melatonin Supplements

Melatonin Supplements may help you to sleep

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA – November 23, 2015 – Labdoor, the supplement testing and rating service, announces that their new Melatonin Rankings are now published online and ready to help consumers find the highest quality melatonin products on the market.

The CDC recently published a statement calling insufficient sleep a public health problem. In fact, 50-70 million American adults are estimated to suffer from sleep disorders, and melatonin seems to be a common choice for therapy. In the decade between 2003 and 2014, melatonin sales have increased over 5 times from $62 million to $378 million. The supplement is also sold in various formulations, some even specifically targeting children through fruity flavors and chewable gummies. Research suggests that melatonin supplementation may help normalize abnormal sleep patterns and decrease the time it takes to fall asleep. The size of the effect depends heavily on the cause of insomnia though; melatonin might be more effective for individuals over 55 years of age, people experiencing jet lag, shift workers, and patients with seasonal depression. Also, because dosages vary greatly between melatonin products and long-term research on the neurohormone is lacking, caution is warranted for self-administration.

Labdoor tested 30 best-selling melatonin products in the US using 150 chemical assays to measure amounts of active and inactive ingredients and determine whether products had harmful levels of heavy metals. Tested products contained anywhere from only 1% of their label claims to 47.4% more than their label claims. 16 of 30 products contained less melatonin than what their labels promise.

Still, melatonin supplements are often made with much more melatonin than necessary.

Benita Lee, MPH, research associate at Labdoor, explains, “Our response to melatonin relies on the supplement elevating our melatonin levels at night, peaking during sleep, and decreasing back to normal physiological levels by the following day. If too much is taken, peak and normalizing times can be delayed, which can disrupt sleep for the next night. The key is to find an effective low dose. Taking a lot of melatonin does not mean it’s more effective.”

Research experts suggest starting with a 0.3 mg dose of melatonin and slowly increasing up to 5 mg if lower doses don’t work. All but one product had more than 0.3 mg, and 12 of the 30 products exceeded 5 mg.

Products were also screened for potentially harmful inactive ingredients. Seven products were found to have controversial additives including the artificial sweetener, sucralose, preservatives that can cause cancer, and titanium dioxide, a whitening agent linked to cancer and Alzheimer’s. Labdoor also flagged 2 products for possibly exceeding safe limits for levels of inorganic arsenic, a reproductive toxin.

This new report from Labdoor is designed to help consumers find safe and effective melatonin supplements. Labdoor publishes the data about each product’s key active ingredients and potential contaminants on its website. “Quality” and “Value” rankings are also available for viewers to sort through and select products that interest them.

For press inquiries, please email

  • Blynn GB, et al. (2005). Dysregulation of Circadian Rhythms in Mood Disorders: Molecular Mechanisms. Biology of Depression: From Novel Insights to Therapeutic Strategies. 467-492.
  • California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. (2015, November 20). Current Proposition 65 List.
  • Cassone VM, et al. (1986). Dose-dependent entrainment of rat circadian rhythms by daily injection of melatonin. Journal of Biological Rhythms. 1(3):219-229.
  • (2015). Melatonin.
  • Herxheimer A & Petrie KJ. (2002). Melatonin for the prevention and treatment of jet lag. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. (2):CD001520.
  • Lemoine P, et al. (2007, December). Prolonged-release melatonin improves sleep quality and morning alertness in insomnia patients ages 55 years and older and has no withdrawal effects. Journal of Sleep Research. 16(4):372-380.
  • Lewy AJ, et al. (2002, February 28). Low, but not high, doses of melatonin entrained a free-running blind person with a long circadian period. Chronobiology International. 19:649-658.
  • Luthringer R, et al. (2009, September). The effect of prolonged-release melatonin on sleep measures and psychomotor performance in elderly patients with insomnia. International Clinical Psychopharmacology. 24(5):239-249.
  • Mundey K, et al. (2005, October). Phase-dependent treatment of delayed sleep phase syndrome with melatonin. Sleep. 28(10):1271-1278.
  • Sack RL, et al. (2000, October). Entrainment of free-running circadian rhythms by melatonin in blind people. New England Journal of Medicine. 343(15):1070-1077.
  • Samel A, et al. (1991). Influence of melatonin treatment on human circadian rhythmicity before and after a simulated 9-hr time shift. Journal of Biological Rhythms. 6(3):235-248.
  • Schroeder MO. (2015, October 6). More Parents Are Giving Kids Melatonin to Sleep. Is it Safe?. U.S.News.
  • Sharkey KM & Eastman C. (2002, February). Melatonin phase shifts human circadian rhythms in a placebo-controlled simulated night-work study. American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. 282(2):R454-463.
  • US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013, September 13). Insufficient Sleep is a Public Health Problem.
  • Waldhauser F, et al. (1984, October). Bioavailability of oral melatonin in humans. Neuroendocrinology. 39(4):307-313.
  • Wallace JB. (2013, June 28). Melatonin: A ‘Magic’ Sleeping Pill for Children?. The Wall Street Journal.
  • Zhdanova IV, et al. (2001, June 5). Melatonin Treatment for Age-Related Insomnia. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.