Is it innocuous to take dietary supplements containing melatonin? No, says the national Agency of sanitary safety of food, environment and labour (Anses), which places certain populations at risk, warning against the use of these dietary supplements
Melatonin is a hormone produced naturally by a region of the brain during the night.
In particular, it helps to regulate daily rhythms (sleep-wake) and to promote sleep.
The supplements containing this hormone help to mitigate the effects of jet lag and reduce the time to fall asleep. Approximately 1. .4 million boxes of these tablets, capsules, or sprays, are sold each year in France.
Effects indésirablesL’Anses has received 90 reports of adverse reactions related to these products between 2009 and 2017: headache, drowsiness, nightmares, tremor, nausea or vomiting.
A figure is seemingly low, but sufficient for the agency to be launched in 2017, “an assessment of the risks associated with the consumption of these additions. “What it is to have a few well-documented cases, with a high probability of relationship between the dietary supplement and adverse effects, as is the case here,” says the Pr Irène Margaritis, head of unit for risk assessment related to nutrition in the Coves.
“Moreover, we know that many cases are not reported, either because the consumers are not going to see his doctor, either because the latter does not query the patient on dietary supplements. ” before taking a food supplement based of melatonin, it is necessary “to seek the causes of disorder of sleep, which can come in the way of life of the person” Pr Irène Margaritis In its conclusions, the agency does not recommend the use of these supplements in pregnant women, children, or in people suffering from inflammatory diseases or autoimmune diseases. For people suffering from epilepsy, asthma, or mood disorders, Anses considers that a medical opinion is necessary before supplement.
“More broadly, when a person suffers from a pathology, that it takes drugs or not, it needs to seek the advice of her doctor,” recalls the Pr Irène Margaritis. In France, melatonin is sold as a dietary supplement (in pharmacy or in large and medium surface) when a tablet contains less than 2 mg of active substance. Beyond that, it is a medicine issued on prescription (Buenas, for example). In Germany or in Belgium, beyond 0. .3 mg melatonin is a drug. “Such a disparity between countries suggests that there is a lack of elements to identify the dose at which the supplement becomes a drug,” note the Pr Irène Margaritis. Anses therefore pleads that”a harmonized regulatory framework defined at european level”. According to the specialist, before taking a food supplement based of melatonin, it is necessary “to seek the causes of disorder of sleep, which can come in the way of life of the person (stress, lack of physical activity, exposure to too late at the light.
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