Are Melatonin Supplements Safe?

Are Melatonin Supplements Safe?
4.51 (90.11%) 93 votes

Over-the-counter melatonin (“anti-gonad hormone”) supplements tend not to contain what they say they do, and the contaminants could be dangerous.


Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

If you’re crossing three or more time zones, and you plan on staying at your destination long enough to make it worthwhile, you can adjust your body clock to the new time with a behavioral method or a pharmacological method. The behavioral method is light exposure and light avoidance at specific times of the day, based on which direction you’re going and how many time zones you cross. You may want to take a snapshot of this table for future reference.

The pharmacological intervention is melatonin, the so-called ‘‘darkness hormone.” It’s secreted by a little gland in the center of your head as soon as it gets dark, and shuts off when the sun comes up in the morning, thereby helping to set your circadian rhythm. There’s been a lot of research done on treating jet lag, but most of it has been on lab rats instead of people. But, most of the handful of human trials that have been done have found taking melatonin “close to the target bedtime at the destination” to try to sync your body to the new time can effectively decrease jet lag symptoms after long flights. Now, unlike “most or [really] all other drugs, the timing of the dose is critical and determines the effect: given at the wrong time,” it can make your jet lag even worse—for example, if you were to take “melatonin at bedtime when traveling west.”

Dose-wise, taking between 0.5 and 5mg seems to be “similarly effective” in terms of helping with jet lag symptoms. But the higher doses do have more of a sleeping pill-type effect, which appears to plateau at about 5mg, but those are massive doses. Even just taking a 3mg dose produces levels in the bloodstream 50 times higher than normal nightly levels.

Yeah, it works, but we don’t know how safe that is. After all, melatonin in the early days used to be known as the “antigonadal hormone,” with human equivalent doses of just a milligram or two reducing the size of sex organs and impairing fertility in laboratory animals. Now obviously, rats aren’t people, but “[c]onsidering the pronounced effects of…melatonin on reproductive physiology in [other] mammals, to assume that [it] would not have some sexual effects in humans would almost seem naive.” In fact, they speculate that maybe melatonin could one day play a role as some sort of “a contraceptive agent.”

Wouldn’t we know about these effects, though? How? Melatonin is available over the counter as a dietary supplement. So, there’s no post-marketing surveillance like there is with prescription drugs. Then, there’s the purity problem. Supplements are so poorly regulated that you never really know what’s actually in them. “For these reasons, melatonin [supplements] cannot be recommended…”

Is the purity issue just theoretical, though? You don’t know, until you put it to the test. And, indeed, due to the “poor quality control of over-the-counter melatonin, what they say is often not what you get.” Melatonin is not only one of the most popular supplements among adults, but children too, which makes it even more “egregious” that actual melatonin content varied up to nearly 500% compared to what it said on the label, based on an analysis of 31 different brands, and most had just a fraction of what they said. And, “the most variable sample was a chewable tablet,” which is what kids might take. It said it had 1.5mg, but actually had 9, which could result in like a hundred times higher than natural levels. “In short, there was no guarantee of the strength or purity of [over-the-counter] melatonin,” leading these researchers to suggest it should be regulated as a drug so that, by law, at least it would have what it says on the bottle. Okay, but that’s strength.

What about purity? Four of six melatonin products from health food stores—two-thirds—”contained [unidentified] impurities.” With no exclusive patent, “[n]o pharmaceutical company wants to pay for the [necessary] toxicological studies”—the stuff is just sold so dirt cheap. They recommend buying it from some “large reputable pharmacy chain” and [just] hope for the best.”

But, this study suggests it’s not worth the risk. “Contaminants present in” tryptophan supplements were reported to be responsible for a 1980s outbreak of a disease that affected more than a thousand people, and resulted in dozens of deaths. “Given the structural similarities of [tryptophan] and melatonin,” maybe when you’re trying to synthesize melatonin, those same toxic contaminants could be created. And, indeed, here’s the contaminant blamed on the tryptophan epidemic, and here’s what they found in melatonin supplements. That’s a little too close for comfort, suggesting melatonin supplements may just be “another accident [another] [epidemic] waiting to happen.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: IDA Foundation. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

If you’re crossing three or more time zones, and you plan on staying at your destination long enough to make it worthwhile, you can adjust your body clock to the new time with a behavioral method or a pharmacological method. The behavioral method is light exposure and light avoidance at specific times of the day, based on which direction you’re going and how many time zones you cross. You may want to take a snapshot of this table for future reference.

The pharmacological intervention is melatonin, the so-called ‘‘darkness hormone.” It’s secreted by a little gland in the center of your head as soon as it gets dark, and shuts off when the sun comes up in the morning, thereby helping to set your circadian rhythm. There’s been a lot of research done on treating jet lag, but most of it has been on lab rats instead of people. But, most of the handful of human trials that have been done have found taking melatonin “close to the target bedtime at the destination” to try to sync your body to the new time can effectively decrease jet lag symptoms after long flights. Now, unlike “most or [really] all other drugs, the timing of the dose is critical and determines the effect: given at the wrong time,” it can make your jet lag even worse—for example, if you were to take “melatonin at bedtime when traveling west.”

Dose-wise, taking between 0.5 and 5mg seems to be “similarly effective” in terms of helping with jet lag symptoms. But the higher doses do have more of a sleeping pill-type effect, which appears to plateau at about 5mg, but those are massive doses. Even just taking a 3mg dose produces levels in the bloodstream 50 times higher than normal nightly levels.

Yeah, it works, but we don’t know how safe that is. After all, melatonin in the early days used to be known as the “antigonadal hormone,” with human equivalent doses of just a milligram or two reducing the size of sex organs and impairing fertility in laboratory animals. Now obviously, rats aren’t people, but “[c]onsidering the pronounced effects of…melatonin on reproductive physiology in [other] mammals, to assume that [it] would not have some sexual effects in humans would almost seem naive.” In fact, they speculate that maybe melatonin could one day play a role as some sort of “a contraceptive agent.”

Wouldn’t we know about these effects, though? How? Melatonin is available over the counter as a dietary supplement. So, there’s no post-marketing surveillance like there is with prescription drugs. Then, there’s the purity problem. Supplements are so poorly regulated that you never really know what’s actually in them. “For these reasons, melatonin [supplements] cannot be recommended…”

Is the purity issue just theoretical, though? You don’t know, until you put it to the test. And, indeed, due to the “poor quality control of over-the-counter melatonin, what they say is often not what you get.” Melatonin is not only one of the most popular supplements among adults, but children too, which makes it even more “egregious” that actual melatonin content varied up to nearly 500% compared to what it said on the label, based on an analysis of 31 different brands, and most had just a fraction of what they said. And, “the most variable sample was a chewable tablet,” which is what kids might take. It said it had 1.5mg, but actually had 9, which could result in like a hundred times higher than natural levels. “In short, there was no guarantee of the strength or purity of [over-the-counter] melatonin,” leading these researchers to suggest it should be regulated as a drug so that, by law, at least it would have what it says on the bottle. Okay, but that’s strength.

What about purity? Four of six melatonin products from health food stores—two-thirds—”contained [unidentified] impurities.” With no exclusive patent, “[n]o pharmaceutical company wants to pay for the [necessary] toxicological studies”—the stuff is just sold so dirt cheap. They recommend buying it from some “large reputable pharmacy chain” and [just] hope for the best.”

But, this study suggests it’s not worth the risk. “Contaminants present in” tryptophan supplements were reported to be responsible for a 1980s outbreak of a disease that affected more than a thousand people, and resulted in dozens of deaths. “Given the structural similarities of [tryptophan] and melatonin,” maybe when you’re trying to synthesize melatonin, those same toxic contaminants could be created. And, indeed, here’s the contaminant blamed on the tryptophan epidemic, and here’s what they found in melatonin supplements. That’s a little too close for comfort, suggesting melatonin supplements may just be “another accident [another] [epidemic] waiting to happen.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: IDA Foundation. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Doctor's Note

This is the second in a three-video series on jet lag and melatonin. If you missed the first one, check out How to Treat Jet Lag with Light, and stay tuned for How to Treat Jet Lag with Melatonin-Rich Food.

Other videos on how criminally the supplement industry is under-regulated include:

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

194 responses to “Are Melatonin Supplements Safe?

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  1. Welp, thanks for saving my life I guess. I was taking a very low dose of melatonin everyday.

    Can you do a video on the safety of Rhodiola Rosea?

    Galit Goldfarp, pointed out a study in a recent article.

    Two common single nucleotide polymorphisms in the gene encoding beta-carotene 15,15′-monoxygenase alter beta-carotene metabolism in female volunteers.
    Leung WC, et al. FASEB J. 2009.

    Anyone who can comment on this study? Is there a wide spread vitamin A conversion problem among WFPB eaters that I didn’t hear off?

      1. Yes, Ron, but it does not seem to mention genetic mutations interfering with the conversion process from pro-vitamin A to retinol. They say e.g. “Frank vitamin A deficiency is rare in the United States.”. But most people get sufficient preformed A because they are not vegans. This oversight bugs me no end…

        1. Sure G,don’t want to deemphasize the fact some peoples do indeed have a genetic abnormality which makes the conversion from plants to human use impossible.

          As to vegans I did want to check if this is something to worry about. It appears that vitamin A palmitate is synthetically derived and then usually vegan, though some do add a animal product in the making of it.

          Vitamin A palmitate does appear to be a preformed vit A product even though it can be vegan. As such it then appears one can divert this problem even when vegan.
          Vitamin A palmitate is indeed often added to the various fake milk products usually at the 15% range of RDA.

          One can overdose on this as one can with any preformed Vitamin A as well.
          But if you do not mind synthetic vitamins, and worry you may have this abnormality, and are vegan, this perhaps is the way to go about it.
          I think this is the form added to regular milk customarily In the states.

          1. So here is a link on the preformed status of vitamin A palmitate…
            and then to add again one must check to see if it is vegan.

            The fake milk companies generally state theirs are.
            So add a cup or two of fake milks to carrots and other things and most I think are good to go.
            Again if you don’t mind synthetics it is lab made not from carrots or such.
            I am surprised the initial article did not mention it. It almost implies one must drop the vegan thing to obtain preformed A. Which seems not true at all.

            1. Mass media ticks me off a lot. Not saying this article is that, but quite often I run into articles/pieces implying due to one potential deficiency or other it just is not healthy to be vegan. Then supplements or meats milks are offered which are not vegan as remedy.
              It is getting better and seems to be being done less but I think in some of the talk shows on health, this is still pretty popular.

              So I have gotten used to getting around what I take to be their BS. Since I get a bit angry about it, I then find the energy to completely explore things of this sort. Anger is a great impetus for action it seems. Finding now I am not alone in this specific type of anger. Vegan Gains a you tuber, has made a virtual living out of selling this form of anger and is quite popular.

      2. Sweet potatoes being at the top of the list makes me wonder if it would be more of a junk food vegan problem.

        Are WFPB not eating their sweet potatoes?

        I think I worry more about the synthetic supplements.

        Isn’t Vitamin A one of the kills people faster supplements or am I thinking wrong?

        If it is one of the kill people faster supplements when synthetic

        I wonder if people can’t convert it from plants or don’t eat the vegan foods with it would fish oil toxicity be better than synthetic vitamin mortality?

        Am I remembering wrong? Isn’t it what they gave and people died faster? That was a while back.

        If it is, then bringing it up right when people are afraid of deficiency seems like a good idea.

        1. I looked it up and someone suggested eating fat like avocado with the veggies with Vitamin A. He said that the genetic problem in converting A limits it, but doesn’t stop it completely, so going for the best bioavailability possible might be preferable to supplementing when the supplements can increase mortality.

          Seems like there is so little problem with it in America and mostly with very young children and I did find a 5-year-old vegan who was in trouble from it in the USA.

          It just seems like percentage-wise, way more people got in trouble supplementing Vitamin A as compared to those who didn’t.

          I go back to, do you eat your carrots and sweet potatoes and other foods like that.

          I eat my superfood wraps and they have carrots and I add a little avocado to have the fat improve the bioavailability of the nutrition.

          Would seeds or nuts work for those who don’t eat avocado?

          I am mentally trying to think of something other than vegetable oils.

          I go back to their being so few cases, even with our population of people who eat so many crazy diets, even within vegan.

          I would get tested for my levels of Vitamin A or/and get tested for the genetic problems before taking supplements.

          Just seems too risky.

          Yes, I did or/and when and/or is traditional.

          That gives a hint to my inner thinking. For me, if the Vitamin A levels are fine, I wouldn’t do the genetic test.

        2. Sure Deb there is a chance of harm. But it has been added to low fat cows milk and milk products for years and years and is often used by injection to combat overt deficiency… I guess how bad is it?. Kids drink that stuff way more per body weight than adults and seem not much bothered.
          Vit A pre formed may be overdosed relatively easily as it accumulates in fats so that by my read would be a much higher risk.
          The amount present in say soy milk….I would never worry about it but maybe other do.

          Fish oil……… fish are always contaminated everywhere now. Almost all fish oil are going to have some contaminates. They are all now below the legal limit observed as hazardous, following a scandal about them out of Ireland, a decade or so ago but that does not mean some contaminants are not still in them..just below the legal limit. A rare sampleing it is I think with zero contaminants of any sort. Fish any fish even in a mountain stream they all will have them. EPA studied that.

          So me I’d chance a very Vit A low dose in a soy milk than a fish oil Vit A but opinions vary.
          As to overt supplementation unless you do have the genetic deficiency it probably is not at all necessary.

          But with vegans it is not known to be a big thing unless as mentioned, there is a genetic defect. Vit A precursor is in all sorts of veggies and we convert that to vit A.

          One study showing harm from vit A was a study really of not the preformed kind to my dim recollection as it involved yellow squash things like that and lung cancer. But I think the study had some design issues.

          1. Part of the problem with the non preformed stuff and the genetic deficiency is to also my dim recollection it can tend to accumulate in the body if you try to eat more and more of the betacarotene like stuff. Not the vitamin A the precursors.
            Those are the peoples we hear of turning orange when they eat large amounts of carrots which does happen. That I think has negative effects beyond just skin color. Could look it up as this is to a dim recollection.
            Point being it may not be as simple as just eating say way more carrots if one has that deficiency.

            1. Looked up some of this as these recollections are dim.
              From the NIH there were three main studies on lung cancer and vit A and Beta Carotene.
              The stronger association was with Beta carotene by my read…” In all three of these studies, taking very high doses of beta-carotene, with or without 25,000 IU retinyl palmitate or 325 mg aspirin, did not prevent lung cancer. In fact, both the CARET and ATBC studies showed a significant increase in lung cancer risk among study participants taking beta-carotene supplements or beta-carotene and retinyl palmitate supplement”

              The carotenosis orange skin, can present with just overconsumption of things like carrots and can present in people who consume normal amounts of things like carrots but have a genetic defect. The orange skin seems benign in itself. Of course the inability to convert the Vit A precussors to Vit A will present with Vit A deficiency. Hypothroidism is also a cause of this condition as well as anorexia and some others as mentioned genetic defect would increase this tendency as well.

              I still think if you have that genetic deficiency you are going to have to get some of the preformed vit A.
              Some suggest it is 30% we can still convert. But I do know our tendency to synthesize things decreases with age in general and think why would this be a exception. I guess a physician would be the best answer as to level of supplementation necessary depending on levels found in the body.

              1. Drinking fortified soy milk is different to me than supplementation.

                I will say that looking it up, sites said to use supplements, but looking at the supplement studies, people died earlier.

                That isn’t going to be from a glass of soy milk.

                I have known people who chug down gallons of milk straight from the bottle. Not sure if doing that over-fortifies people or not.

                There was a time period in my life when I ate so many fortified foods with shakes and nutrition bars and cereal and fortified milk that by breakfast I had already gotten my total nutrition in my bowl of cereal and then got it over and over and over and over again with each thing I ate. Plus, I took vitamin pills. Wasn’t thinking about any of it. I just didn’t eat fruits and vegetables so fortified things seemed like a good idea, but each meal and half the snacks and the pills all had at least 100%. The vitamin pills had way more than 100% of most things. Plus, I would drink the largest size Dunkin Donuts iced coffee filled up 90% with milk two or three times per day.

                I don’t drink iced coffee or milk at all anymore and just get one venti soy green tea latte, pretty sure it is fortified, so I guess if I stop having that, maybe I will have to evaluate some things again.

                I just feel like starting with a “fear of deficiency” can cause its own problems.

                I have a friend who gave her dog double the vaccinations every year because so many Americans overdo everything and she is one and she is doing it with supplements.

                I also have people who eat zero fruits and vegetables and I also have people who have health conditions and don’t like taking pills and people who take mega doses of everything.

                There are personalities on each end of the spectrum.

                A fat source and making sure you have zinc and making sure you are eating the food sources or fortified soy milk or cereal.

                To me, I would start with things like sweet potatoes and carrots and a fat source.

                1. I have eaten almost every different way of eating, minus a few.

                  I talked about all of the fortified foods, but mostly, it was going through the grocery store and picking up things to eat.

                  I wasn’t thinking, “If I have the bowl of Total, I don’t need any more nutrition for the rest of the day.”

                  Actually, as I teenager, I probably said that exact sentence.

                  The year I went off vitamins, I was not thinking, “If I get these Atkins or Slimfast or Special K Bars or this Powdered Shake, I don’t need vitamins.”

                  I was just walking around the grocery store thinking, “That looks good.”

                  As far as the Dunkin Donuts XL Iced Coffees, I was up until 4 in the morning doing caretaking and then switched hats and went to work for about a decade.

                2. If you don’t have the genetic defect and are pretty much WFPB vegan I just don’t see a problem. I eat goji berries as a snack…way lots of the proformed(not pre) in them. One handful and I get like 180% of the RDA considered Vit A per the conversion calculation(28 grams).
                  So sure you could do sweet potatoes and this and that, but really I personally don’t worry to much about it. It is in some of the other things you run into on WFPB as well.
                  Should one, not having the genetic defect, take some supplement of the pre…I can’t see why. There is some in the fake milks and if there is a problem with the synthetic side of it, one is setting themselves up to fail. Peoples talk down the fake milks but I think they do help with many shortfalls one may run into nutritionally if one is inadvertently not eating a perfect WFPB diet. Calcium Vit D vit E most have things like that, same as you find in regular milk. It is a convient and quick breakfast running out the door, Uncle Sams or oatmeal with some nuts and fake milk is like five minutes rather than a half hour or so preparing some thing. Sometimes I can spend all day preparing things and eating perfect sometimes it is a rush. The fake milks help cover it. But usually I do the smoothie so there is that. But my base is still in the smoothie the fake milks or hibiscus tea.

    1. I think it is well established that two people eating similiar diet of fruit and veggies rich in beta-carotene, can have radically different levels of serum retinol. There is large inter-individual variability (big differences between people) in the carotenoids. These mutations in BCMO1 are just one example of mutations in various genes/proteins responsible for absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion of carotenoids. This is a more recent overview that emphasizes host factors, in addition to genetic factors.
      Host-related factors explaining interindividual variability of carotenoid bioavailability and tissue concentrations in humans.

      Personally, I have several of the BCMO1 snps that seem to reduce conversion of beta-carotene to active Vit A. I started taking preformed VIt A three years ago: 10,000 IUs three times a week. I am now asthma free and no longer get frequent colds, but I also optimized my vit D levels, went mostly vegan, and upped my exercise, so hard to say what caused what. Just happy to be healthier!

      1. Mims, thank you for pointing out that not everybody converts enough beta carotene to retinol. I haven’t bothered to test my genetics, I just assume I’m a poor converter and take 10,000 IU vitamin A twice a week.

        1. That’s over the per day TUL of 3000, and close to the weekly limit of 21000. Even genetically poor converters convert at a rate of something like 30%. Since you only convert what is needed, you’re but could, seems, be fine on less.

    2. Also the Linus Pauling Institute provides very useful information on micronutrients, e.g. here’s vitamin A

      I just talked my doctor into testing my serum for vitamin A since I get no preformed A in my WFP diet and although I get tons of beta and other carotenes in my diet, was concerned about my conversion rate (for one thing, it would explain why I have dry eyes).

      She is also testing my folic acid serum level to make sure I metabolize folate properly. I’ve read that 9-17 % of white North Americans are homozygous (two mutations) for the genetic polymorphism of the MTHFR that interferes with folate metabolism, and about 31% are heterozygous. If true, that strikes me as not a rare problem. Since I stopped using a multi with folic acid some years ago, as well as eating fortified foods, two of my blood serum tests — MCV (mean corpuscular volume), MCH (mean cell hemoglobin) — have been abnormally high and increasing. The most common reason is either a vitamin B12 (not in my case) or a folic acid deficiency. If the reason is a folic acid deficiency, the solution is simple – supplement with folic acid, which is generally advised against and left out of some vegan multi’s like Dr. Fuhrman’s).

      I also absorb too much iron in the presence of vitamin C because of a genetic polymorphism (heterozygous for the gene causing hemachromatosis, but not homozygous so I do not official have hemachromatosis). To get my iron levels down I avoid vitamin C supplements as well as fruit during meals, and drink tea with meals to bind the iron. This problem is opposite to what many vegans experience.

      A word about doctors – none of my 4 different GPs over the last 9 years ever remarked on my abnormally high MCV and MCH results. It’s an unfortunate reality that one cannot simply trust one’s doctors. Also I think it wise for people to have some of these key blood tests, and not just assume everything is hunky-dory just because they are on WFP diets.

      I wish Dr. Greger would address the issues of fairly common serious polymorphisms that can affect how well 100% WFP eaters do on their diets. Each is perhaps not that common but there are a number of them, and collectively I would assume they explain why some people say they cannot thrive on a WFP diet.

      1. gengogakusha, you are right, doctors in general don’t look at those tests, (no drug to fix?). I also frequently order ferritin levels. Find people both too high and too low. Also check copper zinc ratio after finding the seizures one person was having caused by this.
        As far as beta-carotene to vitamin A conversion, I understand the problem is most common in Scandinavians, Celts, and Inuits.
        Btw, people need to realize that in those with the MTHFR SNP, Folic Acid isn’t helpful.
        Folic Acid is a synthetic form of Folate. There is even some thought that the Folic Acid added to food, and found in synthetic vitamins makes the problem worse.
        There is a natural form of Folate available, usually called Metafolin. But, of course, eating lots of leafy greens probably a preferable solution.

        1. Marilyn,
          Thanks for the essential point about the MTHFR mutation requiring L-methylfolate. I am certainly not food-folate insufficient, so if my test comes back deficient, then the next step is genetic testing.

    3. ** About the vitamin A conversion discussion.**

      When you are eating a whole food plant based diet à la Michael Greger or other well planned routines, you are getting crazy amounts of provitamin A (carotenoids). When you eat one lousy small carrot and you are at 278% of your daily requirement for vitamin A.

      On these diets you can expect to ingest a daily amount of vitamin A, at least 400% off the daily recommended amount and more often numbers that go as high as 4000-5000% of the RDI for vitamin A. (For example, after eating some spinach or sweet potatoes).

      If the article about the so called problematic conversion of provitamin A to vitamin A is true, and you have one of the worst genetic makeups observed with a conversion ratio that is -69%. You would still have more than enough vitamin A at the end of the day. 400% RDI – 69% RDI = 124%.

      Thus, even with the worst conversion factor out there, you would get between 124% to 1400% vitamin A. (this means converted provitamin A, at the end of the day). So, these things are nothing to worry about.

      These details are often already calculated into the way we eat, that’s why I don’t like Galit’s article. I have spoken her about it, and it seems like she is basing her observations more on her own “clients”. While we on Nutritionfacts an the like, are inclined to take a daily dozen diet or another well planned routine (the PCRM plate etc…) as a point of reference to talk about the details. That’s the difference.

      Some people don’t realize this but the daily dozen is not only important to get the best of what different kind of plants have to offer, sometimes they are literally needed in order to make the diet work. For example, if you are as a habit, not getting the 1.5 cup beans a day, not only are you missing the “good stuff” they offer, you are also eating a diet that low in protein (perhaps not deficient but too low for optimal health). All the elements are needed to offer you a well balanced “vegan” diet.

      I don’t like 23andMe because, who knows wether the genes you have are active or not? You know about epigenetics and how certain foods can turn genes on or off. With these genetic tests, there is no information about their methylation status. This makes the whole thing more or less useless if you ask me?

      1. Apparently you need to count with a retinol equivalent number, so my numbers are not correct. But the idea remains the same, their should be sufficient even with these possible lower conversions. And if you’re that 1% wfpb eater who gets defficient, you’ll probably notice when you go blind.

      1. Hi R Wood – Thanks for your question! Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D supplementation are still recommended for those following a whole foods, plant-based diet to ensure adequacy/prevent deficiency.

        To help guide you in choosing a supplement brand, you can look for bottles that contain USP or NSF seals ( is another reputable source). These organizations certify supplements, check that the product contains the dose amount that is advertised on a bottle, and verifies that the supplement is not contaminated with dangerous substances (for more information, check out this link: I hope this helps!

        Janelle, RD CD
        Registered Dietitian and Health Support Volunteer

    1. Yes, that is a good one.

      The whole birth control concept is fascinating.

      I want to say don’t let the young people hear it, because they will hear that sentence and miss the rest of it.

      1. It sounds like it should be a Stand-up comedy routine.

        Did you hear that Melatonin could almost be a form of birth control?

        Yeah, they call it the circadian rhythm method.

        The couple takes it and they both fall asleep.

    2. Hardly ever does the whole food version of whatever substance have the same effect on a human as the pillerized form. I have no data to back that up, but Dr. G has shown us this over and over and over. There probably are exceptions though. Good luck finding out.

      1. I tried Melatonin for a little while a few years ago.

        I stopped because a doctor said that it can cause dependence and that our bodies will stop making our own Melatonin.

        I think that is what he said.

        I briefly was giving it to my dog for the anti-cancer benefits, but I stopped that because it worked oppositionally to some of the other things I was giving and I kept forgetting which things.

        I still have a bottle if anyone wants some.

          1. Yeah, gengogakusha.

            It didn’t help me either, and the concept of possibly becoming dependent upon it made it not worth it.

    3. Hi Nasser – Thanks for your question! This video is referring to melatonin supplements specifically, not whole foods like pistachios. We often see that supplements contain isolated, high doses of a nutrient or compound that are significantly higher than what we would ever find in foods. Whole foods, on the other hand, are packaged with a variety of other nutrients that is designed for our body. I have not seen any research or recommendations advising against intake of pistachios with pregnancy. I hope this helps!

      Janelle, RD CD
      Registered Dietitian and Health Support Volunteer

  2. I would love to see a video about the strengths and purities of the supplements recommended by Dr. Greger, vitamins B12 and D3. These are, as supplements and as noted in this video, completely unregulated. I recently bought some cyanocobalamin from CVS, and couldn’t find any information about manufacturing processes or quality control, much less testing results of strength and purity, either on the bottle, online, or by calling the company (my questions were not answered; I didn’t receive any calls back).

        1. True, methylcobalamin is less stable, and more expensive. Needs to be sublingual. But, again, some people, particularly the elderly, don’t convert cyanocobalamin to the active form.

  3. I use the detailed reports from to make my product purchase decisions for nutritional supplements, which is accessible only by paid subscription at $42/yr. I take vitamin B12 (of course!), algal oil and curcumin daily, and vitamin D in the winter so it is important to me to have confidence in the products I select. ConsumerLab tests for and publishes results on ingredient levels as claimed by the product label and sometimes tests purity levels and freshness. For example out of 29 fish and algae oil supplements tested 5 failed to meet freshness or purity standards. For turmeric/curcumin 31% of products failed dosage or purity standards. ConsumerLab’s melatonin report (updated July 2018) reviews 12 products all of which passed the dosage test, however purity was not tested, unfortunately. “Top Pick” was Swanson 1mg, which I use occasionally. The Swanson product contains gelatin but I use it so infrequently I don’t care. There is a vegan product in their melatonin test results.

    1. JS,

      Do you find the subscription has changed what you take?

      Do you find it useful?

      Do they test for both amounts of product and impurities?

      I end up searching for GMP, lab-tested products and spend more.

      If Swanson keeps testing well, I probably would just switch to that.

      I don’t take many supplements now and I probably never will because I just tried it with my dog and the supplements ended up doubling my credit card bills for the past three months. Way too much money.

      He will still get his Turkey Tail Mushrooms and I have emergency Yunnan Baiyao on hand, but supplements cost almost as much as medical and food just plain makes more sense, if you can handle eating the healthy stuff.

      1. Hi Deb-12 Weeks!! Yes, I find the ConsumerLab site useful. It has given me peace of mind to know the supplements I take meet quality standards, and in one case I switched to a lower cost supplier. Higher price does not necessarily mean higher quality. I don’t subscribe year after year because I don’t use the site that often.
        BTW, you say you don’t take any supplements. If you are eating 100% whole food, plant-based, like many of us on this site, you absolutely need to supplement with B-12. It is quite inexpensive.

        1. Thanks JS,

          Yes, I do take B-12 when I remember to.

          I also do have fortified soy milk and nutritional yeast every day.

          Which is necessary, because I can go through stretches when I forget my B-12 for a few months, but I don’t forget my soy milk green tea latte ever. I am thinking of getting off the latte’s, but I will ponder it, because of knowing myself about the B-12.

          I have cognitive issues. Honestly, I never went to see whether it was dementia or early onset Alzheimer’s – (I had relatives with each of those and the medical was expensive and nothing they ever did actually helped at all and once they were diagnosed, they lost their rights, even to say whether they were in pain or not or whether to live or die at the end. Nobody medical would listen to their words, no matter how many times they repeated coherent sentences.) I did fail the peanut butter test.

          Changing my diet, balancing my blood sugar and getting rid of sources of aluminum and drinking Fiji water and supplementing zinc and taking B-12 has helped, but I still do have cognitive problems. I have trouble processing any information. I have done the math and we live in a culture, which intentionally makes everything confusing in every direction and that has not helped. I ponder it and I might go back into the confusion at a higher level if I stop learning every day because learning what makes everything confusing is what helped me to get out of the broken brain issues. It gave me a way to handle things. This site has helped so much, but I still find little details, which could have tripped me up every single day. I have reached the part where I have to go back and watch the things I learned when I first came here over again or I lose the details too much.

    2. Thank you thank you JSBaker I just signed up for consumer Labs…just what I needed. Thank you for posting. It is now $47.80 a year, but worth it in the savings I can get through comparison.

  4. Does anyone have a list of reputable supplement companies that have been independently verified to have the correct amount of ingredients and good quality in their supplements?

    1. This ‘doctor’ is fearmongering.
      FROM THE FDA WEBSITE: Manufacturers are required to produce dietary supplements in a quality manner and ensure that they do not contain contaminants or impurities, and are accurately labeled according to current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) and labeling regulations.

      If a serious problem associated with a dietary supplement occurs, manufacturers must report it to FDA as an adverse event. FDA can take dietary supplements off the market if they are found to be unsafe or if the claims on the products are false and misleading.

      1. Jimbo I will not speak to this particular, as I just don’t know.
        But as to the sports supplement industry there are problems known problems and they are pretty much continual.
        The UFC who runs professional fighting employs USADA, a drug testing firm to test all athletes.
        Their findings are often positive results from known legal supplements which are found to contain performance enhancing substances most commonly steroids.

        The athletes are often not taking the steroids,(it would be quite idiotic as they know of the testing before and after fights) but finding them in the legal supplements.
        Why this is happening is unclear. One person involved with the UFC was marketing his own line of supplements, and his internal testing of materials found his line contaminated with this or that. Upon investigation he found the vats used in manufacture (the plant he used was located in China) were not being cleaned properly, so traces of drugs from prior manufacture would show up in later batches.

        It is sports nutrition and not this, so I will not claim they are the same. But USADA has a list of supplements which are legal which will show a positive and fighters are told of these, and to avoid them, so they will not show false positive. But the false positives are still occurring.
        One fighter here, Jon Jones, had a false positive a few years back due to a steroid being contained in a legal sex enhancement product.
        He was cleared when the product was produced studied and found to contain a steroid which of course is not legal for it to contain.

        He is now again suspended following another fight, and it appears it may be a like issue, as he was certainly knowing he would be drug tested after the fight,(they retest them almost immediately after a fight) but it is under investigation.As this happens with some regularity within the sport with other athletes likely it is not just him but speaks of problems in the supplement industry.
        But again this is sports not general health supplementation.

      2. He is NOT fear mongering, it’s just a sad fact there is no watchdog…besides random testing. If you need to believe self reporting works as quality control when there is lots of $$$ at stake, good luck with that.

      3. OH yeah, we can trust that FDA. They’ve never allowed baaad stuff before (and again).

        First rule is know your sources; second rule, never fully trust governmental sources or anyone else with an “unclear” track record or profit motive.

      4. Jimbo,

        It is useful to bring up GMP or the practices of the FDA, but you have a disrespectful attitude toward ‘the doctor’ and that is something I don’t find useful at all.

        I don’t know if you are a medical doctor, but I don’t understand you using punctuation as if to imply this genuine medical doctor isn’t a doctor.

        I am not trying to say it negatively.

        You have something to offer to communities, but put-downs are disrespectful and maybe somehow you can find ways to “respectfully disagree” on topics.

      5. Jimbo

        Contamination of supplements is a known and widespread problem in the US. Your eagerness to pillory Dr Geger has led you to close your eyes to thr facts. This is an issue that should concern us all since I guess there will be nobody here who doesn’t at least take B12.

        ‘Poor manufacturing processes and intentional contamination with many banned substances continue to occur in dietary supplements sold in the United States.’

        ;Dietary supplements were analyzed by evaluating the elemental content in six widely consumed products manufactured by four well-known companies. The elements included the neurotoxic and carcinogenic elements cadmium, mercury, aluminum, lead, arsenic, and antimony, as well as the essential elements zinc, selenium, chromium, iron, and copper, which were often not listed as ingredients on the product labels. Contamination from either xenobiotic or essential elements was found in all samples analyzed. The samples were prepared using US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Method 3052, microwave-enhanced digestion. The resulting digests were analyzed by Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry based on EPA Method 6020B. The analytical protocols were validated by analyzing a multivitamin standard reference material, the National Institute of Standards and Technology Standard Reference Material 3280.’

        ‘Since 1999 several groups have analyzed nutritional supplements with mass spectrometric methods (GC/MS, LC/MS/MS) for contaminations and adulterations with doping substances. These investigations showed that nutritional supplements contained prohibited stimulants as ephedrines, caffeine, methylenedioxymetamphetamie and sibutramine, which were not declared on the labels.’

        1. Tom,

          That is the right answer and it is why Dr. Greger is doing the process.

          Dr. Greger,

          You would have fewer people throwing verbal stones at you if you mentioned GMP or Lab Tested or, in this case, a sentence from the history.


          It sounds like you have done your homework and also that you are emotionally connected to taking Tryptophan. Dr. Greger was not attacking Tryptophan, but you are right, it was allowed back on the market because it was only one manufacturer who made it with the particular contaminant. In this case, he is pointing to a similar contaminant found in a different supplement and it is important for people to hear that. People who are highly researched on supplements and who are using GMP, lab tested things are the ones who will call it fear-mongering.

          Every single person I am interacting with walks into Walmart or CVS or a grocery store and picks up what is on sale. They don’t even have the notion that it might not have the product or that it might have contaminants and honestly, it is because they got so sick of how the Press handles every subject that they have a mental logic of not wanting to hear one more confusing thing about nutrition. They don’t have the time to do the process I have been doing and they don’t sit around watching doctor shows or PBS nutrition specials.

          They work and come home and work on their house and run errands and then go to the movies or watch entertainment. The reason I found the nutritional teachings probably is that most “entertainment” became serial killer and perversion oriented, which I never liked. I have had people I was best friends with write serial killer movies and I never watched them and I interacted with people out in California where the list of people who I know who either wrote or directed that type of thing A movie or B movie level is high enough that I wonder what is wrong with all of them. Having had one of them write a script like that, which was never made into a movie and kill his wife and daughter was a little too real for me.

          Worse, my grandmother had a type of dementia where she thought everything happening on television was happening in the room, so when the Food Network started advertising serial killer television shows, she would start panicking just from one commercial.

          I genuinely think there is an entertainment and educational Standard American Diet, which is just as not good for people and my friends out in California wanted to be cooks in the unhealthy entertainment industry and I got rid of cable and watch PBS and nutrition videos online.

          I can be entertained by a doctor like Dr. Greger every day and have it add to my mental health and my physical health.

    2. Check out which is supposedly an independent testing company an does consider purity of product. Wonder if Dr. Greger is familiar with it and supports it?

    3. I would be interested if anyone out there is aware of trusted independent third party certification marks we can look for on supplement products to give some confidence that they provide what they claim to provide. I would hate to be relying on a B12 source (for example) only to find out later it did more harm than good …

      Here are some examples:

      NSF may be more reputable than others but would like to hear other opinions

  5. This is the second time this ‘doctor’ attacked tryptophan. Apparently he ignored the many comments last time telling him to LOOK AT THE ACTUAL HISTORY. How on earth does a DOCTOR equate melatonin production with the production of L-tryptophan that is produced using genetically engineered bacteria? IT IS WELL KNOWN IF THE DOCTOR LOOKED AT ANY REPORTING FROM THE TIME that the bacteria made to make the tryptophan unexpectedly mutated and started producing a toxic by product at the same time the maker lowered filtration. Melatonin is not made using bacteria. There are several ways to produce melatonin, the most common is by reducing 5-methoxyindole-3-acetonitrile with Sodium and Ethanol.

    1. Jimbo,

      He is talking about the similarities between the contaminants in both supplements.

      He is not discussing the manufacturing processes.

      I don’t hear him attacking tryptophan either. He is saying that the contaminants from some Tryptophan were attributed to causing an outbreak of disease, which affected more than 1000 people. That is a significant number.

      As far as the FDA, aren’t regulating the things well enough and the problem is that when things are tested, year after year, there are reports of many supplements failing.

      I went to Vitamin Shoppe and the workers there had never even heard of GMP and I tried to show it to them on a bottle, but couldn’t find any. There are probably things there, which are GMP, but not in the section we were looking in.

      1. Here is the history of tryptophan and I agree that is such useful information.

        It is disconcerting that Melatonin is testing to have similar contaminants and, Jimbo, I agree with you that the history of tryptophan brings balance to that subject, but I agree with Dr. Greger that if Melatonin is testing to have similar contaminants, then it is important for people to understand that.

        I am sorry that you are frustrated with Dr. Greger.

        Your pointing to the history is useful.

        I had never heard of GMP until last year and most of my friends don’t know about it. The concept of buying 3rd party lab tested products is so new to me that I do not assume people will have heard of it. The fact that the Vitamin Shoppe workers had never heard of it and my friends hadn’t heard of it and neither has my family or coworkers, it is something you only find when you search for it and I hadn’t known to search for it until this past year. Now, I double check everything.

        Dr. Greger,

        Peace to you. Grateful for all you do for us. Have a nice weekend.

    1. There are many people who don’t eat meat but very, very few of them are actually vegans.

      The belief that 100% grass-fed beef is healthy or even just harmless is based on no evidence whatsoever, to my knowledge. It’s just based on a very shaky chain of reasoning ……… and great marketing.

      I have previously shown you the Uruguayan study where the more 100% grass fed beef people high ate, the higher the rates of cancer were.

  6. My personal experience with melatonin was it gave me a irregular heart beat. I have no history of any heart problems it was a benign arrhythmia, a few abberant beats probably PVS’s, which only existed when I took it and subsided completely when I did not.

    It seems unlikely it was just the melatonin, but I will not say certainly not. My guess is it has some other things which were contaminants which caused this.
    Some legal supplements such as those of the DHEA variety are known to have this effect of on occasion, producing arrhythmia.

    But really I just don’t know. The result however is I stay completely away from this supplement. Other things are available which seem safer but honestly I don’t have a problem sleeping for the last several years. I would use valerian or some other if I did. There are probably at least 20 or so various herbs which enhance sleeping.

    1. Researching this a bit in the canadian study 8 or the 31 samples were found to contain serotonin. Serotonin is known to have as side effect… heart palpitations… as far as I am concerned just finding this out….problem solved.

  7. My personal history with melatonin was a rash over two thirds of my body. Don’t know if it was the melatonin or the impuritites, but I swore off it after that!

  8. The fact that over the counter supplements are not FDA regulated is a concern. However, when one considers that a host of FDA approved pharmaceuticals have surfaced after the fact as toxic and deadly ameliorates that concern (opioids and Vioxx come quickly to mind). Aside from the purity factor, what are we to do with at least one Italian study which cites melatonin as a potent anti-carcinogen substance?

    I read Dr. Greger’s blog on a regular basis because I find him refreshingly balanced and evidence based.

  9. There are a handful of supplement manufacturers that are well regulated and tested (according to my ND). They are certainly more expensive as a result. Too bad there isn’t research on these high quality melatonin products.

  10. I take melatonin every night for sleep. I have a real sleep problem an tart cherries an other foods that are high in melatonin don’t work for me. I need to take a combination of things to help with sleep. I tried valerian an that made me very groggy the next day. I also would like to point out that melatonin actually helps the brain by protecting the neurons sleep is crucial for brain health an without it it causes neuron damage so I would rather take it then not take it. Unfortunately we don’t live in a perfect world.

    1. I am in a similar position. I have intractable insomnia and have taken many different combinations of supplements to help me sleep. I have found a liquid 5-10 mg of Melatonin to work well, although nothing works 100% of the time. I also subscribe to Consumer Labs to vet the supplements I take, and I use Fakespot to check on reviews when purchasing from Amazon.

      I have also used a program on Alexa called Yoga Nidra, which is basically a type of meditation, and that can help, depending on the type of insomnia I’m experiencing. (I am aware that Amazon did not create the concept of Yoga Nidra, but this is the version of it that I use.)

  11. Canadians should note that all supplements sold in Canada are regulated. Every supplement is issued a unique NPN (Natural Product Number) eight digit number. You can search the Health Canada database for details supplied in the vetting process. Supplements must contain what they say they contain. In plain language:

    “2.3 Quantity
    Under section 44 (2) (b) (c) of the Regulations, the finished product specifications shall contain detailed information for each medicinal ingredient respecting its quantity per dosage unit.

    The tolerance limits for the quantity of medicinal ingredients should conform to the relevant pharmacopoeial standard or to 80% to 120% of the label amount.”

    Because of the regulatory environment, most supplement brands in Canada are also manufactured in Canada.

    1. Find curious the video does not mention pistachios as a source for melatonin. My recollection is there was a recent mention on the site that a couple of pistachio nuts would provide as much melatonin as is produced during a good sleep.

      Then there is this: “Trace amounts of melatonin can be found in almost all plants, vegetables, fungi (mushrooms), and algae, but some foods and herbal ingredients contain more than others. Pistachios are the highest reported source of melatonin, providing about 0.25 milligrams per one gram of dried nuts. That means you only need to eat about 25 grams of pistachios to get a potentially effective dose of melatonin.”

      If bodybuilders are disdaining supplements for whole plant based foods, don’t you think should too? ; )

      1. James, if you read the Do tor’s Notes under today’s video, you will see that the next video in this series is about melantonin rich foods. I suspect pistachios will be among those foods mentioned in the next video.

    2. Ah Canada, or should I say oh Canada. Same problems as us, pipelines problems, natives not getting rights, killings economy drugs and this and that in this specific supplements. But it seems their solutions are just a little better than ours almost always. More helpful. Looked into immigrating but needed about 2 M cash on hand to subvert their age based immigration system and there is family so….
      Necessity breeds invention…they came up with several pot testing drug kits for drivers, so field police can administer, pot now legal there…..what do we do here…demonize pot and say it leads to more deaths by driving intoxicated, gotta outlaw it again. Never thinking to bother trying to combat that new problem..sorta like that….. just a better way.
      Regulate the supplement industry….why not?

    3. Go to Swanson’s site and try to order various supplements from a Canadian address….you’ll find the downside of more regulations on supplements. Nothing wrong with supplements having the right amounts and no contaminants..but along with this comes various parties trying to corner the market…restricting access.

      The research on this site is biased. There are many herbal-based supplements in the EU that are more or less regulated as drugs….with solid research…don’t see any mention of this here?

      As soon as the research is done…YOU will pay for it through more regulation and much higher prices…. Don’t be surprised by what happens with the current numnuts in charge….

      There is some research on supplements and a lot of clinical research.

      1. Consumerlab analyzes many types of supplements for purity and label accuracy from various manufacturers and also has a certification program.
        They also review the studies relevant to the claims for the various supplements. They have found quite a few instances of contamination or mislabeling. Having said that, many or most of the products have passed their tests. I think this shows that at least in the US, it’s wise to be concerned about what is being sold.

        What specific biases are you referring to?

      2. OK. Easy to say but where then is this ‘solid research’? Why not post it?

        As far as I know, this review from 2011 remains accurate

        ‘Currently, thousands of TM and other CAM herbal products are available as therapeutic agents worldwide. Yet few of these products have been subjected to randomized clinical trials (RCTs) under the International Conference on Harmonization (ICH) Good Clinical Practice Guidelines to determine their efficacy and/or safety (International Conference on Harmonization 2010.). Of the nearly 2000 herbal medicine clinical studies listed on the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register as of June 2009, most concern single-plant herbal or phytomedicine ( In recent years, in the case of multicomponent herbal medicines, an increased number of RCTs on traditional herbal medicine has been reported in the literature (World Health Organization 2004). For example, an Australian study on a Chinese herbal medicine prescription for the treatment of allergic rhinitis concluded that level II evidence is available that may substantiate the use of Chinese herbal medicine for both seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis (Xue et al. 2003). Unfortunately, the quality of the majority of the clinical studies of herbal medicines reported to date is of great concern due to a number of factors that have rendered the data of dubious value. In a review of 206 RCTs on herbal medicine, which was published in Medline from 1966 to 2003, important methodological components of RCTs, particularly allocation concealment, generation of the allocation sequences, and intention-to-treat analyses, were incompletely reported. In these studies, only slightly over a quarter of the trials adequately reported blinding, and one-fifth reported generation of random allocation sequences (Gagnier et al. 2006). Furthermore, an earlier review of 2938 RCTs on TCM reported in 1980–1997 (Tang, Zhan, and Ernst 1999) concluded that the majority of these studies suffered from methodological defects. For example, only 15% of these studies used blinding, the sample size was mostly less than 300 patients, the controls were inadequate, few studies used quantitative outcome measures, and the studies were short term.’

      3. Well this strikes me of a similar thing to health care. Do not regulate the market and we get health care insurance which is way cheap, but maxes out at a set amount and then if something big happens, you have to pay out of pocket. Fine for you and sounds good until something big comes along.

        Which is why in a way the public has to be protected against their baser interests at times. Health care costs resulting in the one biggest cause of personal bankruptcy. Yet a plan can be way cheaper if that is allowed. So regulate it remove them and health insurance of course is more expensive.

        Now are not supplements the same? We get a cheaper product if it needs not meet standards set by regulation and certainly it is way easier to set up shop and begin a business, but is the product as good and is the public being served?.Sports supplements are notoriously bad in this regard, certainly leading the industry in that, but what they do there could be done in any part of the supplement industry, if the same get rich quick crowd decided to enter it. I have known peoples with no qualification what so ever making and selling what amounts to junk with no quality control standards.

        Yes it is the worst of the worst but really nothing prevents that happening elsewhere. I would pay a little extra and actually do to get quality stuff. Creatine is a good example. The company I use has strict standards and has a process that protects from contaminants. Check on the potential of creatine supplements to have contaminants anytime…it is a bit dated of around 15 samples…one was not contaminated. Dr Greger did a video on this.
        Click on creatine for brain power I think it was or sports supplementation in the search box…the numbers are there…..gross contamination.
        Sure creatine other than the one company is dirt cheap.

        1. Checked just now my numbers were off but here is the reality of it…from the video on creatine boosting brain power…
          “That was actually asked more generally of the editor-in-chief of the Harvard Health Letter recently, to which he replied, “For now, to be on the safe side, I’d advise against taking creatine, concerned that creatine supplements might contain toxic impurities.”
          Was he just being paranoid? Nope. “Levels of…organic contaminants and heavy metals in creatine…supplements.” They tested 33 different brands on the market, and found a whopping 50% of them exceeded the maximum level recommended by the European Food Safety Authority for at least one contaminant.”

          How about a little lead to go along with that creatine bubba?
          And creatine has been on the market for since about the mid nineties widely popular and sold. And though this was 2012 data no scandal has occurred like with the fish oils and Ireland study on contaminants to bring this to the public eye, so likely the same situation is present today….half.

          No regulation…this is what happens. I pay more for non contaminated creatine…gladly. Others friends of mine…no one knows there stuff is likely contaminated so they pay for the cheapest on the market….human nature is to do that. So what societal deficit from having them have lead in their diet…..we pay in health consequence as a society when they get sick from it eventually.

          So it is clear regulate the darn things.

          1. Here from a creatine specific website a mention on how the manufacture itself if done without quality control, may produce three toxic compounds…here is one..
            “Dicyandiamide: One common contaminant of cheaper brands of creatine is Dicyandiamide (DCD), a derivative of cyanamide. DCD is produced if creatine synthesis is not taken to completion. In the presence of strong acid DCD converts into hydrogen cyanide, which is of obvious concern to any creatine user, since hydrogen cyanide is toxic. The potential danger is that stomach acid might similarly produce hydrogen cyanide from DCD in creatine brands containing large amounts of this contaminant”

            And that is not even touching on the other contaminants referenced above heavy metals and such.
            Go creatine go cheap this is what you hazard…should not stupid peoples or kids be protected by government?
            I think they should. Kids may be buying the cheap stuff, what do they know? Should we not protect our kids? Kids buy this all the time.
            How stupid has our society become?

            To save a buck we risk our kids…..idiotic

            1. Ok here is a link from one of the supplement guys in the sports nutrition industry and references the one, out of scores of manufacturers for creatine, that has not detectable levels of dicyandiamide within them…one. The only safe stuff is the german manufacture process.

              And the article goes on to express the other contaminants…this is what no regulation does in this industry. Yes it is the worst of the worst but nothing says it could be herbs or this or that they save a buck on and give you who knows what.

              1. Wow, good information from both of you.

                Yes, I have been looking at the Chinese herbs and supplement studies and worried about things like contaminants, because of my dog n of 1.

                Mentally, it is hard to wrap my mind around it all.

                I keep doing the mushrooms, because of the Turkey Tail, Maitake and Shitake studies.

                Yesterday, my dog’s vet came and he has taken the position that he is the one keeping my dog alive as long as possible and as long as I listen to him, I can have him around longer. He doesn’t attribute it to the mushroom supplements or dietary changes, he thinks that it is the steroids knocking his cancer back, the antibiotics supporting the liver and me not taking him for rides or walks and keeping him calm, which is why he is alive.

                He went back to survival rates and changed the information and used the rates for the stage of Hemangiosarcoma where it hadn’t entered the organs and changed his “scratching his head at 3 months” to “He will be scratching his head if he is alive at 6 months” and he talked about maybe needing to go up on the steroids, though we will have to arm wrestle about that.

                My dog may already be dependent on it, but I have been looking at the risks of infection and diabetes and muscle breakdown and I have been reading about dogs losing their hind legs from it. I also did read that it can knock lymphomas back, but I also read that it affects insulin resistance, which some people don’t like with cancer. My dog may be on it, because after 3 months, he might have to be on it for a long, long time, even to ween him off, but it is going to be a half a pill or a quarter pill. He sat across my kitchen table and talked about 3 pills twice a day or something like that and said that people put dogs down, because of the messes in the house.

                He is still the sweetest person, but he is about to find out that I tend to be a little bit stubborn.

                It is so hard for my mind to follow medical model logic and it is so hard for his mind to follow the holistic logic.

                I don’t want to throw out the baby with the bathwater, but his claiming ownership of the success, ten seconds after telling me that he has never seen anything at all affect the outcome. Most dogs die within a month if they have his type of tumor. Most die within the first 2 weeks if the owner doesn’t spend the $10,000 for surgery.

                He isn’t going to even say, “Those mushrooms are really impressive” if he is pro-Keto, which he is.

                Not trying to put him down. I am just processing it all.

                His pills cost me $600 per month. I want to find out if I knocked the infection out and I just read that he could tell me the answer, even if the WBC is high from the steroids themselves because the WBC will skew a certain way during an infection versus just being raised from steroids, but he isn’t going to “play” with me and I would rather he did humor me and let me have things my way a little bit more.

                He can’t stop me from whatever I want to do, but it is clear that he feels like I am being deceived by the fact that some dogs can survive longer the way he is doing it. Though he has never seen it before in the decades he has been a vet.

                Genuinely, I am not trying to put the man down. He represents medical model and I sometimes need medical people. Then, we get in a power showdown and eventually I try to get out of their grip. I don’t think he is authoritative enough for us to have real problems and I am not angry enough.

                1. Tom and Ron,

                  I just want the two of you to know that you both have been a genuine blessing to me.

                  I appreciate that you have been kind. I know that I am still in my first year of learning all of this and I am trying to learn so many topics at once.

                  Both of you have been so helpful to me and have caused me to think more deeply about each topic.

                  I have genuinely enjoyed every day I have been here.

                  Thank you.

                  1. My dog is still eating and drinking like crazy. The lung sounds seem to be gone, but he has started to slide more on his back legs.

                    These are the moments when I understand the continuum between medical and holistic and between one way of treating and another.

                    That is a good thing.

                    Maybe by the end of this, I will understand people better.

                    I am nervous about him getting weaker and I know that I will be afraid it is the steroids and my vet will think it is because I lowered them to one pill over the course of the month.

                    I haven’t learned enough to do this walk properly, but I am sure giving it my best shot.

                    1. It can be the steroids and it can be the Cancer spreading.

                      No matter what, I feel like the diet did slow the Cancer down.

                      Maybe by 3 times.

                      Unfortunately, unless he lives a few more months, nobody around me will acknowledge any of it.

                  2. Tom has some qualification not me Deb. But thanks for the compliment.
                    You seems to know some specific things a bit better than both of us though, by my guess.

                  3. Thanks Deb but we are all students here. This is why I come here – to learn. Not just from the videos and blogs but also from the observations and questions in the comments section. Every day I get at least one new issue or topic to research and check out.

                    Today, Jimbo’s and Harold’s arguments led me to do several Pubmed searches. I am definitely going to be using ConsumerLab and/or LabDoor before buying my next batch of supplements.

                    1. I have the same experience.

                      I end up having so many things to look up by the end of each topic that having a community discussion really does ad to the experience.

                      I need to borrow the response you posted to Jimbo and bring it over to Youtube.

  12. “I take melatonin every night for sleep. I have a real sleep problem an tart cherries an other foods that are high in melatonin don’t work for me…”

    – – – – – –

    I bounce on my rebounder for about 10 minutes before I hit the sack, and this helps me fall asleep right away. I think I’ve always been a light sleeper, though. I usually get up every three hours during the night to take a leak (can’t blame a shrinking bladder, as “science” says it really doesn’t). But I don’t mind; I always fall back to sleep immediately. Feels good to stretch some muscles, actually.

    It amazes me how people can lie there like a slug for 7-8 hours straight without wetting the bed. More power to them!

    1. It is probably related to prostate so would not apply but..
      I used to for years and years wake up mid sleep 3 hours or so and have to pee. I added nuts walnuts almonds and pumpkin seeds to my diet in pretty good amounts and …it completely disappeared.
      With American men it is considered a gimmie they will have some prostate enlargement and then have to wake up and pee.
      So probably it would not work. But I never did feel I was not completely emptying my bladder prior to bed…… so perhaps it was some other effect?
      If one is not eating them I would give it a try if that was me. Eight hours, I really feel much more repaired.
      Seems like with a interruption I would not get that deep sleep thing. So I felt a slightly depressive effect.

      Now if I do take a thing for sleep which is usually about never I end up sleeping 10 or so hours which I guess may not be healthful.

            1. >>50 mg of l-theanine
              Assume that’s an extract. If there’s caffeine in it, I cannot take it – too caffeine sensitive.

              I resolved my decades long severe problem falling asleep using psychological methods and wearing blue-blocking glasses in the evening. Anyone using digital devices or LED lights in the evening/night who has sleep problems should try blue-blocking glasses. The blue light suppresses melatonin secretion, messing up your circadian rhythm. Too much energetic blue light is also associated with some eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration.

              I must admit though that as an older male with BPH, I do get up several times a night. I’m working on that by reducing fluids in the pm, not eating for 3 hours before bedtime (my vegan diet contains lots of H20), taking low-dose beta-sitosterol, and eating at least a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds in the morning.

              1. Just to venture my personal experience, which I can only say is remarkable in this. I did wake up last night but as I had a light dinner it was as I got hungry ;) Didn’t really even have to pee at all. Which is the norm now.

                I eat walnuts, pumpkin seeds and almonds most nights with or around dinner which is two or so hours before bed. My diet has gotten gradually better over the years but I think it has not changed that much to account for the difference, other than the nuts I have added.

                I wonder if the combination somehow potentiates the effect.

                1. I do take flax but in the morning. I was for quite a few years completely typical in that and thought as everyone has it, that was just a consequence of being male and older. Actually going out and about, it was a bit of a problem as well. I had to often check first where a bathroom was. I now have that necessity on occasion in the mornings, but typically as I overhydrate in the mornings, and only following that. Other than that it is like I was when I was in my 20’s. Friends used to kid me…old man has to use the bathroom every couple of minutes.

                  I can only say it is truly remarkable. I honestly never thought one could in any aspect return to youth. But in this it seems so.
                  A whole bunch of hibiscus tea I drink also(despite Dr Gregers warnings on that) but otherwise I am vegan now and was 25 years not a big difference in diet.

                2. Interesting. I eat nuts/seeds in the am and early afternoon when I’m most active. Maybe I should see if shifting to later helps for some unknown reason.

                  1. It is hard to say with these things at times, as the studies they are only doing it, in one very limited way typically for one isolated substance . So who knows if pumpkin seeds effects are potentiated by some other nuts. Really it has never been tested. We know pumpkin seeds work, but that is not to say they could not work better.
                    I did a driving vacation this summer with some others and I never ever had to stop to pee. The others always did. All much younger than me. I was also scarfing down broccoli sprouts which is the only other outlier I have not mentioned.

                    Something is working and its been a while now, more than a year certainly, though I didn’t take count on how long as it, I guess, gradually got better. So likely I didn’t notice it for quite a while… and I was not expecting any improvement. Just real used to getting up to pee every night.Thought the pumpkin seeds may help to avert prostate cancer a bit, which is why I started with them. The other things are just gradual improvements in diet.

                    1. Now if only I could find some thing which would help me to run and lift like I did in my 20’s. ;)
                      I switched to focus on hitting and kicking the heavy bag, as I dislike the steady decline, and that I did not do as much in my youth so am now better at it. F you age, take that…..
                      Ten years from now I suppose I will have to find another though. This being a seemingly never ending battle tactical changes are necessary at times.

                    2. Oh, I didn’t read the last sentence! Interestingly they don’t specify which problem might reveal itself. Not too too worried though…there’s limited evidence for almost every weird thing you can imagine.

                    3. I wish that necessity would disappear. I know it is not the norm to say ,but I have always felt that way.
                      The demon who runs this place saddles us with things like that to waste our times and lives. For what….. ten seconds or perhaps half a minute with a quiet mind….what a ruse. Better ways to get that.. But no sadly it does not seem to do that.
                      Fools using Viagra I will never understand. Gone I would say bye bye, not so nice to know ya.

                      No moralist nor puritan in that opinion….it just so distracts and is so time consuming.

          1. Margaret, so it sounds like you get up at 2 a.m. just like I do (or thereabouts, every 2/1-3 hours). And here I had the impression melatonin supplements were supposed to keep you sound asleep and all tucked into your beddy-bed the whole night through.

            Just as well I never bother with supplements at all — other than a multi.

      1. “I added nuts walnuts almonds and pumpkin seeds to my diet in pretty good amounts and …it completely disappeared.” Lucky you, Ron — completely, yet!!

        I (as a broad) always eat all three of those good things — along with chia and hemp seeds. Just not as much as you do.

        As I say, this interruption doesn’t really bother me, this getting up during the night business. Especially if I (subconsciously?) might want to zap a strange dream or something. The human body can often be a damn nuisance, but we’re stuck with it.

      2. Ron –
        I’ve read that pumpkin seeds helps with BPH symptoms, but never that walnuts or almonds do. I eat 2 TBL ground flax seeds, 1 1/2 TBL whole pumpkin seeds, and about 2~3 ounces of nuts everyday including walnuts and almonds (higher fat vegan diet). Also take beta-sitosterol, which some studies indicated helps. Not quite at a 100% cure, unfortunately, but significantly improved.

  13. I weaned myself off melatonin supplements about 4 years ago. It was a hard time in my life. I had massive insomnia. Today, I happily report having very few sleep challenges.

    1. I cant wait for that to happen for me. I would love to be able to just go to sleep like I used to it’s been a real problem for for a few years now. An I would rather take melatonin then a prescriptions.

            1. Hi Lida

              On the previous video I think it was, mine was the first comment to appear. However, it was an off-topic comment about a news release just out from the European Society of Cardiology. It announced the results from a study which found that people eating low carb diets experienced significantly higher mortality than people eating high carb diets. Given the widespread popularity of low carb diets, and the fact that this is a website for persons interested in nutrition, I thought that people might appreciate knowing about the press release.

              However, because it was the first post and off-topic, YR suggested that I might be ‘hijacking’ the discussion away from the actual video topic. Hmmm, I thought So now I’m calling myself ‘Hijacker’ – for while at least.

              1. You are forgetting that you were first called a hijacker by another poster in one of the earlier videos. I forget what the topic was about, but somebody grumbled that you very soon switched it to statins expected. Is your memory failing? And I pretended to scold you and send you to the corner? Sheese, put the blame on me, why don’t you. :-(

                But I do think “Hijacker” is kind of cute — and apropos. Fits you very well.

                  1. “Charmaine says:
                    August 23rd, 2018 at 4:36 am

                    I’m somewhat irritated that the EMF blog has been hijacked to talk about statins. What’s the point of leaving a comment when it will be drowned out by off topic chatter. Besides people’s opinions are still just people’s opinions. If some people do suffer side effects from whatever, the effect is very real and can prove dangerous for that person…regardless of what naysayers or supporters have to say about the subject.”
                    – – – – –

                    If anybody wants to wade through the EMF thread again — lots of silly statements — you’ll see that we discussed this “hijacking” topic further, below Charmaine’s post.

                1. YR

                  I think you were the first to use the term ‘hijack’ though.

                  As for the other person, I didn’t take much notice. I got the impression that he was one of those posters who favours headwear with a lining of baking foil.

                  1. Ah, I should have read further down the thread before responding. So yes, Charmaine was first.

                    As I wrote though, I don’t take much notice of the anti-statin/’high cholesterol is good’ crowd. They don’t seem greatly interested in what the evidence says, which is what engages me most. Consequently I found your posts more memorable

                    1. “Consequently I found your posts more memorable”
                      – – – —

                      ‘Fess up, TG. You find ME to be more memorable. :-)

                    2. Methinks you should reverse back to “TG.”

                      Others who don’t keep up with the threads might ask you the same question as Lida. And then you & I’ll have more ‘splainin’ to do. Deja vu all over again.

            2. Some foolish people, despite the fact we are encouraged to go off topic to discuss things, and it is totally normal and acceptable, were jumping on Tom for going off topic.
              I personally think it was one person using multiple identities and addresses with a axe to grind, because Tom posed a opposition view to theirs on some things(people can be childish and vindictive), but I think it presented as several people, and I think on several threads. So it is a inside joke. Who can complain if one already states one is a h. They cannot defeat him in normal debate or discussion they then do things like that.

              But me thinks, it is one of the red flag words the NSA software uses to screen internet data so….wave hello to the NSA gals and guys….. at least one real person there has probably been incited to check the site as result of multiple use.
              Yes our wonderful government, in this time of any amount of money for defense, and no money for universal health care or college tuition, in addition to having cameras in all areas operating 24/7 (I pass five on my way to town from my rural area every day), devotes money and people to monitor such things as discourse on the internet. In this wonderful time of 1984.

              1. Hmm……… well sorry Tom has already responded. But I am certain it was more than just YR Tom..she was only joking, I thought her reference was to me not you, as well. I go off topic far more than you and much of it not remotely connected to nutrition, nevertheless the discussion at hand ;( Funny names as I recall doing the complaining not just YR). I am certainly surprised I have not been already expelled, these monitors are way to calm about things.

                But memory is not perfect perhaps you are right.

                1. Well teeny tiny points of no concern fascinate me so….reality bites it is that started the ball rolling of being off topic on at least one thread.
                  A interesting name as I totally agree.

            1. YR,

              I have a funny white noise machine story.

              When I was caretaking my Great Uncle, I would stay up until 4 in the morning to cover the bulk of the night, but he was afraid of the quiet, so the minute I turned the light off and fell asleep, he would get up and take apart the sink faucet or things like that. My grandmother was tag team caretaker with me back then, and she got up at 5 and we had this one hour, where neither of us could seem to manage to cover and I am not kidding that I would wake up and there would be no faucet because he got tired halfway through the job.

              I figured out that it was that it got too silent, so I got one of those and put it on the sound of waves and the first night, I heard him wake up and get up and he was using the commode as a walker and was rolling it back and forth with the rhythm of the waves.

              Anyway, after he died, I tried to sleep with it on and it drove me crazy and kept me awake all night long.

              When I was in California, I had a machine, which used to bring the brain into different alpha, theta, delta, gamma waves and that did cause me to fall asleep. I have looked at the earthpulse PEMF device, for that reason, but I never tried it.

          1. You might also check out “Sound Sleep, Sound Mind” by Barry Krakow, MD. Helped me. For many decades I had a terrible time falling asleep. Along with relaxation techniques, “Sound Sleep …” resolved that problem. Still working on staying asleep. I also use black out curtains as I am very sensitive to any light.

    1. So you’re playing “granny” for a while now, huh Deb? Will you be feeding her a WFPB diet? I hope Doggie won’t get jealous!

      1. YR,

        The 7-year-old is the one who seriously struggles with jealousy.

        Three of her relatives sort of passed her off to a few others, the second day of her Summer vacation.

        She received the message by text that the homes she was living between all were being sold and she wouldn’t be coming home and her mother ain’t gonna be coming with her to where she is living now.

        The household she lives in now has a dog, too, and she is so jealous of the dog that she wants to change seats with him in the car because the Dunkin Donuts people said how cute the puppy was and forgot to tell the recently abandoned 7-year-old how cute she genuinely is.

        I help out spending time with her nights and we build cardboard box forts and do crafts and I try to sneak in moments of education.

        1. I have other friends who have been the recipients of the “hot potato child” in this new culture of “hot potato parenting.”

          It is so common nowadays, maybe because of the tendency of families to be smaller.

          I think “hot potato” used to be “I live with my parents and grandparents.” I had a great-grandmother who took in all of the displaced relatives – the never married and the divorced and vets with PTSD and addiction types of people. She had the tiniest house on the block, but could always fit everybody in.

          Now, it is toss them like a football across the field, because “You’re so far away. Doesn’t anybody live in one place anymore…”

          1. I think, looking at the combat cultural wars, that is part of the driving away force.

            I ponder it often because it is as if most of the kids can’t stand living with their parents and half of the couples get divorced and I look at a higher level and see the political system. I go back through the history of this country and it is like:

            We can’t get along, so we move to another country.
            We get there and can’t get along, so we form another state.
            In America, some of the States are basically from church splits.
            Then, the historical church buildings are empty, except for tourists and who knows maybe someday it will be governmental buildings, which we visit that way.

            Somehow, most of us do the wrong process and it is the SAD of relationships, too.

            It is like we set boundaries against each other and set up false communications to get away with the things we want to do, which the authority figures don’t want us to do.

            Alternating generations liberal and conservative and alternating generations learning etiquette and polite communications for the sake of the whole versus standing up for themselves and learning the art of the deal.

            Unfortunately, the money people are the ones who win the cultural battle and pump out serial killer movies, and suddenly thousands of kids want to be Hannibal L, because he is smarter than everybody else and powerful and charismatic, where they used to want to be astronauts.

            I am not a psychology person and haven’t studied cultures, I just see that there really are SAD versions of culture all over the place.

            I am someone who liked the hero movies and inspirational based on a true story versus reality tv and antihero movies, but I know that I am outnumbered. I don’t like serial killer television, but I used to like action films. Die Hard and The Bourne Identity would be more my Speed.

            1. “We can’t get along, so we move to another country.”
              – – – –

              So true, Deb. It’s really sad. You’ve heard the expression, “Wherever I go, there I am.” We can’t keep running from ourselves, which is what it boils down to. We have to be our own best friend.

              Gone are the days (or so it seems) when families sat together at mealtimes and discussed things — without whipping out their little toy-toys (iphones). And had “family fun” vacations together — camping trips & etc.. Lots of dysfunctional families, nowadays. :-(

              1. YR,

                The kids have nobody.

                Not even their parents.

                The sweet 7 year old has never met the “baby Daddy” who fathered her. She didn’t really understand which adult was her mother as of last Summer either, because her mother was there, but was always on social media, working or dating boyfriends and never really interacted.

                She would stay at one relatives house after school and another relatives house at night, but that group just moved a 24 hour car drive away and didn’t take her.

                These kids aren’t fed food, don’t have people teaching them or emotionally or physically supporting them.

                She is going to not have discipline or education or the ability to emotionally handle anything and kids without parents are on their own financially by the time they are 18, in a society, which doesn’t have enough jobs to employ 18 year olds.

                I am praying for her.

                She is as cute as a button, but already grew a horn, which was removed.

                She only eats pizza and fast food and junk food.

                I grew up that way, too, but I didn’t grow a horn by age 5.

                I worry for her.

                1. Several of my friends have been walking a parallel path with other young kids.

                  Most of them the grandparents get handed the kid, if they will take them in the hot potato game.

                  In each of the cases the mother and father has been on pot. Some the mother was on other drugs.

                  it is hard, because Foster care has dismal statistics. 75% of the kids don’t learn to read. I think it is 60% end up incarcerated or homeless. A high number of the girls become pregnant and a high number are abused, so as bad as family hot potato is, it is better than an orphanage or Foster care.

                  Some of the kids went that way and it really is worse.

                  A few of them even got adopted, but both families gave them back after adoption and the kids really do get more messed up.

                  1. No, I didn’t grow a horn.

                    I grew up eating utterly empty calories most of every day, punctuated with large quantities of soda.

                    I did so well on things like Slim Fast or Atkins Bars, because I could just basically eat fortified candy bars and drink chocolate milk 5 or 6 times per day and not have to think about anything else. No food prep. Just chocolate finger food and a 7/11 Double Gulp.

                    Yes, I had other phases where it was hostess cupcakes or ring dings or ding dongs for breakfast and phases where the fortified chocolate bars, became fortified chocolate power bars.

                    But, no, I didn’t get a horn. Not saying that she has Cancer already, but she is someone who begs for cookies, cupcakes and popcorn and candy for snacks and she wants all at one setting. She is not heavy. She runs around like crazy, but french fries might be her only vegetable and she doesn’t even eat watermelon for fruit. I suspect she will get heavy someday, but not yet.

                    It’s estimated that up to one third of the odd protuberances have a cancerous connection; explaining the remaining two-thirds of occurrences is more problematic.

                    1. Her grandmother and grandfather and great-grandmother are people who eat junk food like crazy and they are the ones who started that problem.

                      Her mother buys and eats her own junk food and used to threaten the grandmother that if the grandmother didn’t supply her with junk food, she wouldn’t allow her to see the daughter.

                      That was when they were under the same roof. I think it was a package of unshared Oreos, which caused the move to 7 hours away a few years ago.

                      The mother just gave her child away and went to a concert and said that she didn’t have money to contribute to back to school clothes. Last year, I had helped her learn her alphabet and basic addition and subtraction, and I ended up buying her some school clothes, which is how you end up getting the hot potato child passed at you, which is why people move 24 hours away from the negligent mother to see if she might step up and actually buy some underwear for her child, instead of Victoria Secret for herself, but that trick never works and the child will be 7 hours from her mother and 24 hours from the rest of that group and the fact that she was staying with a relative of mine when the text came, where suddenly the girl had no houses to go back to, our team got the girl and the mother originally said she would come move down here, but that switched to her not being able to come, and offering custody of her child up, so that her child could go to school, which became complicated, because the pot smoking baby daddy had once lied like crazy to try to get custody of the kid in a court of law, but the court allowed him to change his sentences to not get arrested himself, but he has never sent a dime of money for the girl and neither has mommy.

                    2. On the positive end, last June, she did not know her alphabet after Kindergarten.

                      The other day, she brought a chapter book and read a page for me and it had complicated concepts, like a girl being teased calling her “Hearse girl” and she did the whole page.

    1. My phone doesn’t show the comments over there.

      Are they regulars?

      I will have to look.

      His most polite audience is Care2. They just say thank you over and over again.

      I know that he visits his people at Youtube comment section, too, but they didn’t seem as engaged to interacting last time I looked.

      I watch the topic videos over there and the daily posts over here.

  14. Good video as always. I understand that the contaminants in the supplement are dangerous and practically unavoidable, but is the pure melatonin itself, when used in controlled doses, dangerous as well?

    1. It’s not entirely clear. As Dr Greger mentioned, there is evidence of suppression of sexual function in animal studies that may or may not be present in humans. Other side effects can also occur. If a person is wary of the concerns, the supplements can be avoided by using light and food with melatonin. The supplement form is considered “likely safe” for short term use, “possibly safe” for use up to two years, and “possibly unsafe in pregnancy and children. -Dr Anderson, Health Support Volunteer

  15. I am a shift worker (7pm-7am four days a week). I think there are more shift workers than jet-laggers, but it seems difficult to find information on how to best cope with this schedule. I was taking 5mg Melatonin each morning when I needed to sleep all day. It worked well, I could get seven hours of sleep and stay up all night, but then I started having vertigo episodes while I was at work. I cut out the melatonin, but now I don’t sleep as well and it is harder to stay up. The vertigo has seemed to subside some, though. Any connection?

    1. I do agree with Dr Kadish’s opinion, not specific to the Canadian study however. I think it is a good well done study that likely has direct relevance to US over the counter purchase of M.

      That said, shift work is known to produce sleep disturbances, it is part and parcel to the territory.
      And Dr Kadish and some others on this site in discussion, have ventured some perhaps better ways to get M with real solid dose amounts that match their labels with few contaminants.
      Serotonin is a very potent thing and can produce heart palpitations and very many other side effects. HTP and this and that provide a conversion possibility to serotonin, but are not that specifically.

      So I would not be surprised to find a supplement with serotonin in it to produce any amount of untoward symptoms. Eight of 31 here did have that in the canadian study. And overt overdose on M may produce untoward symptoms as well.
      So If I wanted to continue use with no other alternative available, and some other things tried, such as natural forms of M, shown I guess in the next video…I would consider only getting M from one of the proven safe sites, some shown here in discussion.
      I would expect at least one manufacturer is providing the real thing at appropriate dose with no contaminant.
      Just me with no qualification in this but that is my opinion.

    2. It does cause dizziness and people have asked if it contributes to vertigo, so you are not the only one asking.

      “Melatonin supplements can hinder nervous system responses that enable the body to compensate for the drop in blood pressure when a person moves from a seated to standing position,” Ray said. The study titled, “Melatonin attenuates the sympathetic nerve responses to orthostatic stress in humans,” was published in the Sept. 15 issue of the Journal of Physiology (London).

      1. Medsafe lists Melatonin it is known to cause vertigo.

        It reduces blood flow as my theory of a possible mechanism “A much rarer cause of recurrent vertigo is intermittent interruption of blood flow to the back part of the brain.”

        I looked up to see if Melatonin is related to calcium deposits and there were sentences, but I don’t understand them and that topic is just my hunch and may not be real.

        One said, “Pineal calcification jeopardizes melatonin’s synthetic capacity and is associated with a variety of neuronal diseases”

  16. Unlike Dr. Greger I have found that using melatonin has been a safe and appropriate product for situation such as yours. Although some companies in the supplement industry are less than up front and ethical that fails to suggest that all fall into the same category. I would recommend that you decrease your dose as it’s not uncommon to find a lower dose including .5mg to be equally as useful, without any side effects.

    In terms of purchasing quality products, I would recommend that you go to They have quality bands that have a higher level of consistency, and utilize GMP (good manufacturing practice) , typically at the pharmaceutical level. If you’re interested in exploring a bit more on the inside scoop on supplement quality you might consider going to . I have no fiduciary association with either of these firms, however I do utilize their products for patients.

    It’s unfair to paint the industry as all rotten eggs as there are a select group of manufacturers who go well above the requirements to insure consistency and proper potency, without adverse additives.

    You might also consider that one of the studies quoted is Canadian ( and the products were purchased at the local grocery stores and pharmacies in Guelph, Ontario. Neither of which would be my recommendation.

    The high overall safety noted by numerous groups, giving melatonin a “possibly safe” rating considering the long term and extensive use in the US, should leave this supplements use as appropriate when used in low dose for sleep purposes. and as two examples. There can be side effects when using the wrong dose and in a very small percentage of people, regardless of dose. This is no different than any other supplement or medication.

    Use the least dose to meet your need and be aware of any side effects. Our clinical use has been very useful for years in the correct patient population. When you consider that 88% of women complain of sleep issues ( why not try a supplement with minimal side effects and an overall high safety index vs sleep medications that clearly have multiple warnings and adverse events ? Obviously pick a reputable brand.

    Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger

    1. I am sorry but I am unclear on this. The canadian study you mention, was for something like 17 over the counter brands bought in Ontario.
      What would suggest that more more variance in content, would be present in Canada than in the US? If anything it appears their standards on supplements are as strict or stricter than ours, though with m perhaps they are both really not regulated that well.

      So please explain this part..”and the products were purchased at the local grocery stores and pharmacies in Guelph, Ontario. Neither of which would be my recommendation.”

      1. I honestly did not scroll through all the pages from Web MD on it, but did not notice manufacturing processes purity processes studied. I did a pretty good look through on the NIH comment you provided and found this…”FDA regulates dietary supplements such as melatonin, but the regulations for dietary supplements are different and less strict than those for prescription or over-the-counter drugs.”

        And not a whole lot more on manufacture. There study references were all on or about use, not that.
        So please explain.

        1. As a counter to the Canadian study, if for reason of location that study was found suspect, I suppose I would use this one,
          though quite dated, had purchase of M in Minnesota I think it was. I don’t think any regulatory oversite has increased since then however that would change the climate as to manufacture.

          Dr Gregers studies on contamination or poor manufacture I think are three in total but only the abstracts are available here.

    1. The abstract does not appear to show the brands by name. However it appears not to be by price but more so by type….. sublinguals as opposed to capsules and/or other herbs added in…that sort of things appeared more of a effect.
      By my read however it appears pretty widespread which would suggest beyond just price. A purchase of the study would probably have them listed.
      Not to infer viable forms of M with accurate amounts listed, with testing performed a third party, is not on the market. Some have been suggested in this discussion on the issue by other readers.

    2. Hello Kristen. Thanks for your comments.

      The study doesn’t mention brands, they used a product code to show the results of the brands tested. If you want to check the full article is here:

      Melatonin Natural Health Products and Supplements: Presence of Serotonin and Significant Variability of Melatonin Content


  17. These are from the Huffington Post.

    “According to a 2005 meta-analysis of melatonin studies from MIT, also led by Wurtman, researchers found that the widely available high doses of melatonin are ineffective. “After a few days, it stops working,” wrote Wurtman, in a press release accompanying the study. When the brain’s melatonin receptors are exposed to too much of the hormone, they become unresponsive, he said.”

    “Consumer Reports said melatonin supplements helped users fall asleep “only 7 minutes faster and sleep 8 minutes longer on average,” according to a 2013 analysis. And the same report notes that “about 20 percent of users in our survey reported next-day grogginess,” and recommended that users exercise caution before driving the next day.”

    1. RESULTS:
      Melatonin content was found to range from -83% to +478% of the labelled content. Additionally, lot-to-lot variable within a particular product varied by as much as 465%. This variability did not appear to be correlated with manufacturer or product type. Furthermore, serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine), a related indoleamine and controlled substance used in the treatment of several neurological disorders, was identified in eight of the supplements at levels of 1 to 75 μg.

      Melatonin content did not meet label within a 10% margin of the label claim in more than 71% of supplements and an additional 26% were found to contain serotonin. It is important that clinicians and patients have confidence in the quality of supplements used in the treatment of sleep disorders. To address this, manufacturers require increased controls to ensure melatonin supplements meet both their label claim, and also are free from contaminants, such as serotonin.


    Also from the Huffington Post “But, ironically, with prolonged use, it can actually amplify insomnia. Having too much melatonin in the system, the theory goes, overwhelms the receptors, changing how a patient reacts to the hormone — whether it’s endogenous or exogenous.

    According to Dr. Wurtman, melatonin supplements may work at first, but soon “you’ll stop responding because you desensitize the brain. And as a consequence, not only won’t you respond to the stuff you take…you won’t respond to the stuff you make, so it can actually promote insomnia after a period of time.”

  19. More importantly, melatonin is a hormone. With children, according to Grander, it can affect puberty, disrupt menstrual cycles and impede normal hormonal development.

    Excess melatonin can also induce hypothermia, as body temperatures reduce during melatonin release, and stimulate overproduction of the hormone prolactin, which can cause hormonal problems and even kidney and liver issues in men.

    1. Oops, that is from the Huffington Post, too.

      Sorry, there was a bully over at YouTube, so I had to do 30 seconds of research to shut him down.

  20. John Hopkins says: Do not use melatonin if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or have an autoimmune disorder, a seizure disorder or depression. Talk to your health care provider if you have diabetes or high blood pressure. Melatonin supplements may also raise blood-sugar levels and increase blood pressure levels in people taking some hypertension medications.

  21. PubMed: “Some of potential harmful effects of exogenous melatonin therapy include immunomodulatory effects which confers the risk of worsening certain rheumatologic condition such as rheumatoid arthritis [30]. It might also result in amenorrhea when used in large doses, which is likely due to suppression of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH)”

  22. According to the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation

    “The American Academy of Sleep Medicine, however, recommends against the use of melatonin and sleep-promoting medications for demented elderly patients due to increased risks of falls and other adverse events [2].”

    “Melatonin may also be unsafe in people with orthostatic hypotension, bleeding disorders, diabetes, depression, autoimmune diseases, seizure disorders, and transplant recipients [15]. In elderly patients with dementia, melatonin treatment has been shown to worsen caregiver ratings of patient mood [16]. It may also interfere with the action of other drugs.”

  23. One review of 15 studies involving 284 subjects found that those who took melatonin before bed fell asleep 3.9 minutes faster on average and slept 13 minutes longer.

    Another, of 19 studies involving 1,700 people, found melatonin users fell asleep 7 minutes faster on average and slept 8 minutes longer.

  24. Web MD

    “The challenge with melatonin is that it’s complicated. If you take it at the wrong time, it can shift your body clock in the wrong direction, and that can cause problems,” Lewy says.

    Taking too much can also lead to bad dreams and grogginess the next day, and it can make many drugs less effective, including high blood pressure medications, seizure medications, and birth control pills, Breus says.

    Less effective seizure meds

    Less effective birth control pills might have interesting side effects! Not sure that makes sense if it might act as a birth control, but more than one site said it. (Health line said it this way: The combination of birth control and melatonin may alter the effectiveness of birth control pills.)

    The American Association of Poison Control Centers reports that calls about melatonin have skyrocketed 114% nationwide since 2012, with 79% of the 24,000 calls in 2016 involving children.

  25. It can cause acne by affecting estrogen levels. This is my hypothesis.

    So many people are saying it causes acne and most of the experts aren’t mentioning it, but it affects the hormones and the hormones affect acne.

  26. I found a cool article explaining that melatonin can increase the susceptibility to get Diabetes, but I don’t know how to copy the link and get it to paste here on my phone. I just tried again and it didn’t work.

    Trying to remember the site. Ithad OS I the title but it didn’t start with that.

    Google can melatonin cause Diabetes.

    1. In a study comparing two different doses of melatonin (4 mg versus 0.4 mg), participants who were assigned the 4 mg dose saw their melatonin levels rise 65-fold higher than normal peak levels! And those levels remained elevated (above 50 pg / ml) for approximately ten hours after oral administration. This means that if you took 4 mg of melatonin at midnight, you would still have higher-than-normal levels through the morning – and with that comes the suppression of insulin and disturbed glucose metabolism.

      One might reasonably speculate, from these findings, that eating when melatonin levels are relatively high – while your pancreatic beta cells are functionally “sleeping” – could result in even more pronounced disturbance of blood glucose regulation.

      This may partially explain why late night eating has been found to be associated with high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), and why feeding a person a meal at 10:30pm results in prolonged high blood sugar and elevated 24 hr blood glucose levels.

      However, this effect may also extend beyond just eating late at night – if you are using melatonin supplements. As we established above, elevated melatonin levels (and consequently inhibited insulin response) that result from melatonin supplementation can linger for ten hours. This could interfere with appropriate insulin response during breakfast the next morning.

      1. Deb- It would be very helpful if you could supply a url to studies you discuss.
        I always want to the studies themselves.

        4 mg sounds like a high dose to me. I am not convinced that is safe over the long term i.e. might suppress my pineal gland’s ability to produce melatonin.

  27. I had a factory sealed bottle of melatonin tablets. Between two teaspoons I crushed a small tablet. I placed a very small amount of the powder on a finger and licked it. Almost immediately my heart began to race. I never used the product again. Not safe.

  28. Thanks for the great video on the Pistachios.

    In one previous video it said taking melatonin at the wrong time can make the jet lag even worse.

    Can I ask when it is the best time to “take” them?
    Does this correlate to the same time when you are supposed to block the light, as described in the previous video?
    Or just immediately before you go to sleep (and want to fall asleep?)

    Thank you

  29. Are NSF verified melatonin supplements any better?
    I have significant DSPS. Behavior modification alone has been ineffective, so I supplement with daily melatonin, per my neurologist’s recommendation.

  30. First of all I’d like to say thank you to Dr. Greger and his team for all their efforts, the information content on this website is amazing.

    I switch to a plant based diet 3 months ago and everything improved except my sleep…I went from 8h to 5/6h a night without any other changes in my routine. Not feeling like a zombie but I do feel tired and its affecting my gym routine. I’ve tried kiwi and other melatonin packed fruits but nothing seems to work.

    Any help would greatly appreciated :)

  31. Hi, Rui Policarpo! Congratulations on improving your diet and health! There are a number of things that might help with your sleep. If you are not already doing so, try exercising early in the day. Pistachio nuts in the evening may also help. More on that here: Avoiding exposure to light at night, especially electronic screens, such as TV, phone, computer, tablet, etc. before bedtime, and making sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and a comfortable temperature may also improve your sleep. Reading a book and/or meditating before bed can be a relaxing way to get to sleep, and warm baths can have similar effects. I hope that helps!

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