A printed calendar showing the month of June.

Does Melatonin Expire? It Depends on the Type of Melatonin

If you Google, “Does melatonin expire,” you may not find a straight answer. This is because the answer is a bit complicated. Melatonin can expire, but it depends on the type, the company, how long you’ve had it, etc. Currently, melatonin expiration has only been studied in pill form. But you can likely use the same guidelines for other types of melatonin as well.

This includes melatonin liquids and vaporizers like the ultra fast-acting melatonin supplements from MELO Labs. The shelf-life of MELO products and other fast-acting liquids and vaporizers is most likely similar to that of pills. Read on to learn the details about whether or not melatonin expires and how the type of melatonin affects its shelf life.

Does Melatonin Expire?

Several clocks overlapping on a wall in black and white shot.

Like other supplements, melatonin doesn’t really “expire” in the sense that it doesn't become dangerous to take. It just becomes less potent over time. So, an old bottle of melatonin pills won’t necessarily hurt you, but they also probably won’t be as effective as they used to be. The question is, how long will they stay effective? Let’s consider a few different sources.

What The FDA Says

As a dietary supplement, melatonin isn’t required to have an expiration date. The FDA doesn’t regulate these supplements. This means it can be hard to know for sure how long the supplement might still be effective without any information on the label. Shilpa Raut, a research scientist at Amway, claims the shelf-life of vitamins is usually about two years.

Meanwhile, the FDA does require prescription medications to include expiration dates, and they also warn against taking expired medication. The FDA says taking expired medication can be dangerous. Apart from the decreased potency of the medication, they claim expired medicine could change in chemical composition or even develop bacterial growth.

What The Science Says

Despite the warnings from the FDA, some scientific evidence suggests many medications outlive their expiration date. A study from the journal African Health Sciences found a vast majority of drugs worked fine up to 15 years after the printed expiration date.

Other factors like how they’re stored can extend their shelf-life, e.g., storing in a cool, dry place helps to prevent degradation. The study from African Health Sciences also says that medicine cabinets found in bathrooms are (ironically) not a good place to store medicine, thanks to the heat and humidity of the bathroom.

How Melatonin Fits in the Picture

We’ve looked at the shelf-life of vitamins and drugs, but melatonin is not a vitamin or a drug. It’s a naturally occurring hormone produced in the brain’s pineal gland that regulates our sleep wake cycles. As such, it’s a great option to treat jet lag, but it can also help promote sleep in those with occasional insomnia.

Unfortunately, there’s not much research on the shelf-life of melatonin supplements. As a natural hormone, it’s an organic compound – like a vitamin. This suggests it may have a similar shelf-life to that of vitamins. As with vitamins, if you take expired melatonin, it probably won’t hurt you. The most likely thing that could happen is you finding out that it doesn’t work any more.

It’s also worth considering that many melatonin supplements are mislabeled, containing a different amount of melatonin than what’s on the label. For this reason, you should always look for supplements that have been third party tested, so you can feel confident that the label is accurate. For example, all of the melatonin products from MELO Labs are third party tested.

Melatonin is considered well-tolerated and safe, meaning side effects are relatively uncommon and mild at worst for the majority of people. There’s very little harm in taking it after its expiration date (if its label even has one). As long as your melatonin still looks ok, and even if it’s been more than a couple of years, you can try it to see if it still works, but keep in mind it may not.

How the Type of Melatonin Affects Its Shelf Life

Box packaging of MELO Air Melatonin Diffuser in Rainbow Road flavor with usage recommendations printed inside.

Melatonin supplements come in a wide variety of forms. Though more research is needed on all of these, let’s take a look at what we know about the shelf-life of different types of supplements.

Melatonin Pills

As with dietary supplements, most melatonin supplements are pills. But what about their shelf-life? Pills tend to be very dry, which helps them last longer. If they become contaminated by moisture, they can grow mold or bacteria, but as long as they’re kept dry and cool, they should last about as long as vitamin pills.

Melatonin Gummies

Unlike pills, gummies can absorb a lot of moisture, and they also tend to contain sugar. For these reasons, gummies may not last as long as pills. Research scientist Shilpa Raut says gummies and other chewable supplements absorb more moisture from their environments, shortening their shelf-life (especially after a bottle is opened).

Melatonin gummies will probably last up to a year or longer if kept well, but depending on the other ingredients in the gummies and the conditions to which they’re exposed, you may not want to try a gummy that’s older than a few years.

Melatonin Liquids

Liquids are absorbed by the body much more quickly and fully than pills, according to an article from Medicare Europe. They are also easier to take than pills, making them a great choice overall for all your supplement needs.

However, liquids tend to have a shorter shelf-life than pills, in part because it’s impossible to keep them dry. Still, if they’re stored in a cool place where they don’t absorb additional moisture, they should last up to a year or longer.

If you prefer to drink your melatonin, you do have other options. MELO Sip is a powdered drink that comes in small individually-wrapped packets. The fact that the supplement is kept dry helps to extend its shelf-life. All you need to do is add it to a glass of water whenever you’d like to drink it.

In addition to 4 mg of melatonin, MELO Sip also contains valerian root, chamomile, GABA, l-theanine, all of which can help you fall asleep. It also has numerous vitamins and minerals that help promote a good night’s sleep. It works quickly and tastes great, much better than melatonin tinctures.

Melatonin Vaporizers

Melatonin vaporizers are relatively new, and as such, they haven’t been thoroughly studied. However, we do know that vaporizers work very fast: They’re the fastest-acting option you have when it comes to taking melatonin. We also know they are generally safe to use as long as they don’t contain any harmful ingredients.

MELO Air melatonin vaporizers contain just three ingredients: melatonin, organic vegetable glycerin, and natural flavors. They don’t have anything known to be harmful when inhaled. They come in a wide variety of popular flavors, and you’ll feel the effects almost right away.

It’s difficult to say what the shelf-life of these products is, but since they contain oil, they most likely don’t last as long as pills (or powdered drinks like MELO Sip). If they’re kept well, they should last up to a year. On the other hand, if they work well for you, they most likely won’t last nearly that long!

Use MELO Labs for All Your Melatonin Needs

A sachet of MELO Sip Melatonin Powder in Watermelon flavor poured into a glass of water

As we’ve seen, the expiration of melatonin is complicated. Most melatonin supplements will last at least one to two years if they’re kept in a cool and dry environment. Some evidence suggests supplements can actually last a lot longer than that, but all supplements lose their potency eventually. Thankfully, taking expired melatonin isn't likely to hurt you.

The type of melatonin supplement also matters. Pills tend to have a long shelf-life, but they also tend to be one of the less effective options. Melatonin liquids and vaporizers may have a similar shelf-life, and they’ll also work more quickly and efficiently.

This is because pills take a long time to be fully absorbed, and they don’t have great bioavailability. In fact, a clinical trial from the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found melatonin pills on average had 15% bioavailability. That’s way less than even half the dose you think you’re getting. Additionally, pills can take up to two hours to be absorbed.

If you want the most fast-acting melatonin supplements, try the supplements from MELO Labs. They’re so fast-acting and effective that you won’t need to worry about when they expire, because you’ll actually use them!

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published