Melatonin use is on the rise with more people turning to the hormone supplement to help them get a better night's sleep. But the surge in popularity has meant many companies have been looking to cash in.
Cut price melatonin supplements have flooded the market promising to alleviate your restless night sleep without the need for a prescription. But how much do people really know about these supplements and what do they actually contain? Here at Hormones + You we decided to undertake some investigating to find out just how easy it was to buy these online supplements - with very alarming results.
Melatonin, known as the sleep hormone, is naturally produced by your brain to help aid your sleep. Many people use melatonin supplements to increase their natural levels of the hormone at night, helping them to drift off. Melatonin is a safe and effective treatment for people struggling with sleep disorders like insomnia, jet lag or for simply improving your sleep cycle. In the UK melatonin is a prescription only medication. But the promise of fast delivery, cheap prices and no prescription needed has led many people to buy unregulated melatonin from international sellers online.
This rising trend is a huge concern and we wanted to find out for ourselves just how easy it was to bypass a prescription. When looking where to buy melatonin we ordered from a US based supplier that was advertising online. And, in just a few clicks the melatonin was added to our cart and purchased. The most concerning part was that we were freely able to buy the melatonin with no medical check or ID to prove our age. After a few days our melatonin was able to clear customs and arrived to us, along with a leaflet stating its ‘quality and effectiveness’ with no scientific evidence provided to back up these claims.
Buying these types of products online comes with no assurance they contain what they say. In the USA Melatonin is classed as a dietary supplement by the FDA. This means it is not regulated in the same way as a medicine and is not tested for either safety or effectiveness. A study on over the counter melatonin in the US found melatonin supplements to be ineffective with no guarantee of the strength or purity. With no checks or balances, companies can claim whatever they like on the bottle to make a quick buck regardless of the consequences to the customer.
Even more shocking, we found that the online supplier we bought from was marketing melatonin products to children selling them as gummies for kids. There is very little evidence on the long term effect of melatonin on children, however there have been studies that suggest it could have an effect on their hormonal development and even delay puberty. These types of supplements should not be taken by children without the recommendation of a trained healthcare professional. Yet they are being sold by questionable overseas suppliers to parents who are not aware of the risks.
Risks of unregulated melatonin
When deciding where to buy melatonin it is important to remember the UK requires a prescription. It is against the law to supply melatonin in the UK without one and this includes overseas companies delivering to customers in the UK. The NHS strongly advises against buying medicine online due to issues of safety and legally as there is no way to truly know what you are taking. So what are some of the risks of these types of unregulated melatonin?
The dosage of melatonin bought online can vary drastically from what is stated on the bottle. This can result in you consuming an unsafe amount, leading to an overdose of melatonin in your body. This can adversely affect your sleep, completely negating the supplements intended purpose.
Symptoms of melatonin overdose can include:
High or low blood pressure
If you have been taking unregulated melatonin without a prescription and are experiencing any of these symptoms, please consult with a healthcare professional as soon as possible.
One of the reasons you need a prescription in the UK is due to the fact that melatonin is not appropriate for everyone and individual tolerances can vary widely. That is why it is important you see a healthcare professional who understands your medical background and can select the right dosage for you and your sleep problems.
People who melatonin may be unsuitable for include:
Those with liver or kidney problems
Those with an autoimmune condition
Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding
Those who have a seizure disorder
Those who have had an allergic reaction to melatonin or any other medications
Melatonin can also interact with other medications including blood pressure medication, blood thinners and antidepressants among others. So If you are taking other medications you must speak to a doctor before taking melatonin to ensure it won't cause you any harm.
The customer reviews regarding online sellers paint a very worrying picture. Although the company we purchased the melatonin from stated that all their supplements were made in the US, how much can we really know about where the ingredients came from? Reviews can be found online raising questions on whether the supplements are in fact being cheaply mass produced in China and then shipped to the US. Negative reviews range from items not arrived, to being ineffective, to bad customer service and even expired products.
No guarantee of delivery
Buying melatonin online without a UK prescription offers little in the way of consumer protection. Even if your order does make it to the UK, it may not be cleared by customs. If you order does get stopped by UK customs you will not be given a refund, despite not receiving your purchase. Leaving you out of pocket and no closer to a better night's sleep.
The rise of these online suppliers is a growing concern for people's safety and more needs to be done to make people aware of the risks and crackdown on overseas companies illegally and irresponsibly selling melatonin and other medication to UK customers for profit.
Where to buy melatonin?
If you are considering where to buy melatonin then remember to always buy them from a reputable company that will undertake the appropriate medical checks and supply you with a doctor's prescription. As when it comes to your health, buying cheap, low quality alternatives should never be the answer.
At Hormones + You our melatonin capsules developed by expert hormone doctors are made from pharmaceutical grade melatonin and GMP ingredients. So you can be sure of the purity and dosage every time. Unlike buying from dodgy sellers online that offer little in terms of customer service, our customer journey is second to none. The process begins with an online consultation where you will fill out a quick questionnaire that will take you through the correct health checks, making sure that melatonin is the right choice for you. Once approved our online pharmacy team will deliver your own personalised dose of melatonin capsules straight to your door.
Our formulation uses bioidentical melatonin which is derived from plant based sources and free from common allergens such as gluten, soy, eggs dairy, fish and nuts. So you can always be certain you are getting the best quality melatonin there is.
If you are looking for high quality melatonin that is both safe and effective then start an online consultation with us now. Our expert doctors are here to help you on your journey to a good night's sleep.