Melatonin is a hormone primarily released by the pineal gland at night and has long been associated with regulating night and day cycles or sleep-wake cycles. It’s also available in products like creams, supplements, or serums. That said, one might ask, does melatonin expire? Let’s find out.
Does Melatonin Even Expire?
Yes. All medications and supplements have an expiration date. But that said, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the product becomes spoiled once it has passed that date; it could simply mean that the supplement’s full potency and benefits may no longer be 100% guaranteed.
What happens if I take expired melatonin?
Once the melatonin product has expired, it becomes less effective, and the changes in the chemical composition or strength could pose a risk to one’s health. For example, an expired melatonin supplement could still interact with anticoagulants, anti-platelet drugs, herbs, and other supplements, so it’s best to stop using the product beyond the expiration date indicated on the label.
How do I prolong the product’s shelf life?
Proper storage is key to a product’s shelf life. Your melatonin products should be kept in their original containers, tightly closed, and out of reach of children and pets. Store them at room temperature and away from extreme temperatures, light, and moisture.
How do I dispose of expired melatonin products?
Expired melatonin supplements should be disposed of properly. Experts say that expired dietary supplements are considered hazardous waste, which could pollute water and land, posing a risk to the environment and, therefore, plants, wildlife, and humans.
Normally, it’s recommended to put the expired medication in a small sealable plastic bag along with used coffee grounds or cat litter and then throw it in the bin. You can also check your local area’s guidelines and information regarding the proper disposal of expired medications.
How to Find the Expiration Date on A Melatonin Bottle
The expiration date for your melatonin can usually be found in one of two places:
- Stamped along the side edge of the label. It will have the month, date, and year and a preceding label saying “EXP” along with the lot number of that batch.
2. Stamped onto the base of the bottle. It will have the month, date, and year and a preceding label saying “EXP” along with the lot number of that batch.
What Does Melatonin Do?
Melatonin is the hormone that the brain produces in response to darkness. Its prime function is to regulate the body’s circadian rhythm to manage its natural sleep cycle, so it’s often used as a remedy to combat sleeping issues like insomnia, jet lag, or irregular sleeping patterns, wherein research has shown that it reduces the period needed to fall asleep and advances the start of sleep in adults and children with this condition and that it could reduce evening confusion and restlessness in people afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, though without improving cognitive decline.
But the benefits of melatonin don’t just revolve around sleep. Recent studies have found it beneficial for the following:
Since melatonin is rich in antioxidants, it can help prevent the risk of cell damage and keep the eyes healthy. The melatonin synthesized in the eye is said to be involved in the modulation of many important retinal functions. According to one expert, it helps lower intraocular pressure, improves retinal ganglion cell function in glaucoma, and could be used as a potential treatment for dry eye.
Human Growth Hormone Increase
One study found that melatonin helps stimulate growth hormone secretion through pathways other than the growth hormone-releasing hormone. Another study performed on hamsters found that using melatonin for a period of 10 weeks resulted in an increase in serum IGF-I levels was interpreted as a result of increased release of GH.
Could Help Treat GERD
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when the stomach acid backflows into the esophagus, resulting in symptoms such as belching, heartburn, and nausea. Several studies say that oral melatonin could become a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of GERD and that it could block the secretion of stomach acids and reduce the production of nitric oxide to prevent the stomach acid from entering the esophagus since the said compound relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter allowing the acid to backflow.
Side Effects Of Melatonin
Melatonin is generally safe, but it can cause relatively minor side effects on some people:
Since it can cause drowsiness, avoid driving or using heavy machinery within five hours of taking any melatonin supplement.
Other lesser-known side effects of melatonin might include a drop in energy levels, mild tremor, mild anxiety, abdominal cramps, irritability, reduced alertness, confusion, or disorientation. Melatonin could also interact with certain medicines, like those for antidepressants, blood thinners, and blood pressure medications.
As with any dietary supplement, people considering taking melatonin supplements should consult their health care providers first to discuss possible health risks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can pregnant and breastfeeding women take melatonin supplements?
Melatonin is considered generally safe. As of date, there is insufficient research on the safety of using melatonin among pregnant or breastfeeding women. Should they want to try, they should consult their health care providers before using any supplement.
Is it safe for children?
Melatonin supplements appear to be safe for children with sleeping problems for short-term use, but additional research regarding their effects on children is still needed. A few side effects like headaches, bedwetting, drowsiness, and nausea have been reported.
Can it be used on the elderly?
Melatonin is considered the preferred pharmacological option for most elderly patients. But in 2015, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine released guidelines that recommend against melatonin use by people suffering from dementia.