Most melatonin supplements in a recent review met their label claims and were free of lead contamination, according to testing organisation ConsumerLab.com.
The organisation found that 16 of 18 melatonin dietary supplements met the necessary quality requirements. One product failed the evaluation for having only 83 per cent of the claimed melatonin and another failed for being contaminated with a small amount of lead.
Melatonin is a hormone that triggers sleep and is useful in treating insomnia due to jet travel, blindness, and other chronic sleep disturbances. It may also be useful as an adjunct in certain types of chemotherapy, in reducing nicotine withdrawal symptoms, and in preventing tardive dyskinesia - a side effect of anti-psychotic therapy, said ConsumerLab.
Over 2 million bottles of melatonin pills were sold in the US in the past 12 months according to the market research firm Information Resources.
Thirteen of the products that passed the review are quick-release forms of melatonin and three are time-release. Quick-release may be more helpful in falling asleep, while time-release may be more helpful in staying asleep, explained the organisation.
A list of all the products that passed the testing is available at www.consumerlab.com.