A Sleep Remedy with Proprietary Secrets

A new product, Dream Water, is designed to help one relax, fall asleep and improve the quality of sleep using the all natural ingredients melatonin, GABA and 5-HTP (tryptophan). A single-dose 2.5 oz bottle retails for $2.99. They also offer a more dilute formulation in an 8 oz bottle. They suggest drinking half a bottle, keeping it at your bedside, and drinking more if you wake during the night. What dosage will you get from half a bottle? From a whole bottle? There’s no way to know. They offer a money back guarantee, free shipping, free samples, and lots of testimonials; but they refuse to disclose how much of what is in their product.

The DSHEA only permits structure and function claims like “supports prostate health,” but this product is clearly being promoted as a remedy for insomnia. The “Quack Miranda warning” is not displayed on the home page, but the “Dream Responsibly” page says “These statements have NOT been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is NOT intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease.”

Is it legal to sell this as a remedy for insomnia? I guess the legality depends on whether you define insomnia as a disease. Maybe they define it as an impairment in a function that needs supporting. Maybe they can get away with it.

What’s the scientific evidence?

It’s a “perfect blend” of three ingredients that they say produce relaxation and sleep. Do these three natural medicines really work for insomnia? I looked up the ingredients in The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database.

  • Melatonin: For primary insomnia, melatonin reduces the time it takes to fall asleep by 12 minutes but does not improve sleep efficiency. There have been reports of adverse effects like elevated blood pressure and increased bleeding tendency in patients taking Coumadin. There are concerns about possible interactions with 11 categories of drugs, from antidiabetes drugs to contraceptives. The Dream Water website doesn’t mention any of this.
  • Tryptophan is rated as “possibly unsafe” and there is “insufficient reliable evidence to rate” effectiveness for insomnia. There is a long list of possible interactions with several other categories of drugs.
  • GABA – insomnia is not even on the NMCD’s list of things that “people use this for.” They found insufficient reliable information about safety and effectiveness to even give it a rating. We don’t think GABA even crosses the blood-brain barrier.

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

I wrote their representative and asked:

I’m wondering about the dosage. Can you tell me how much melatonin, tryptophan and GABA are in each bottle? Have any placebo-controlled studies been done?

She answered:

Unfortunately we cannot share specifics as the formula is proprietary. We also don’t have any formal placebo testing as of yet.

I replied:

So you’re suggesting that I use something with an unknown amount of active drugs, something that has not been properly tested, and that I simply take your word for it that the company has found a “perfect blend” without knowing how they found it or what exactly they found? No thanks, I’m not that gullible.

She answered:

I completely understand your concerns.

Gee, knowing that she understands makes me feel so much better….

Double Standard?

ConsumerLab tests dietary supplements to assess purity and to determine if they contain the amount of ingredient claimed on the container label. How can they determine whether the amount in the container matches amount listed on the label if there is no amount listed on the label? And if they test Dream Water and measure the amounts of the 3 components, wouldn’t that reveal the proprietary secret?

I wonder about the folks who are selling Dream Water. If they had an infection, would they be willing to take a new pharmaceutical product that was not FDA approved, that was an untested mixture of 3 prescription antibiotics, two of which had not been proven effective for that infection? Would they buy it if the dosage of the ingredients was kept secret, and would they be willing to trust the word of some unidentified person in the pharmaceutical company that it was an optimal mixture (someone who was claiming to somehow know it was optimal without bothering to test it)?

For crying out loud, even my food labels specify how many grams of fat are in a serving!

Posted in: Herbs & Supplements

Leave a Comment (47) ↓

47 thoughts on “A Sleep Remedy with Proprietary Secrets

  1. psamathos says:

    Well, at least it doesn’t purport to contain extremely dilute amounts of caffeine…

  2. TimonT says:

    Thanks, Harriet. I completely understand your concerns.

  3. Scott says:

    Based on the “how it works” page, they seem to be going for the “address deficiencies, and oh my, these particular ones cause insomnia” angle. GABA is “[t]he most important inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain”, melatonin “helps govern the body’s internal clock”, 5-HTP is “the metabolic precursor to seratonin, which is responsible for mood, hunger and sleep”.

    So nicely weasel-worded in the detail text, but I think they probably went too far with the bold headings:

    “GABA relaxes & reduces anxiety”
    “MELATONIN induces sleep”
    “5 HTP Relaxes, & improves sleep”

    Those sure sound awfully specific to me.

  4. FreeSpeaker says:

    Another concern is whether the larger bottle contains the same amounts of active ingedient as the single dose size. If so, it may be homeopathic in nature, and will induce “Rip Van Winkle Syndrome”.

    I am surprised that the representative of the company did not tell you that your concerns are nothing to lose sleep over.

    Many products in the World of Woo have “proprietay blend” as one of their main ingredients. Imagine of a vaccine manufacturer used some.

  5. Watcher says:

    A couple of notable facts:

    Adding tryptophan does nothing as shown through people investigating the “thanksgiving syndrome” of falling asleep right after eating a large amount of turkey. Maybe if they added tyrosine hydroxylase they could accomplish something …

    Lunesta actually works via the benzodiazepine receptor-GABA complex, performing as an agonist. But is shown to only shift the sleep phase-response curve by roughly 8 minutes on average in controlled sleep studies.

    Melatonin is actually pretty good for getting to sleep; there’s a large uptick of serum levels right before sleep induction, as indicated by the phase response curve, and is one of the major indicators of circadian rhythm as it pertains to sleep/wake cycle. If you do a “Melatonin PRC” search on pubmed you can find many studies showing the efficacy of melatonin to treat some sleep disorders. There is also a growing body of evidence using rhesus monkey trials to help better understand the sleep/wake cycle in which they use melatonin to alter the onset of sleep for study purposes.

    This is from good-old wikipedia, but mirrors what I’ve read in the past about the problems with melatonin regulation:

    Studies from Massachusetts Institute of Technology have said that melatonin pills sold as supplements contain three to ten times the amount needed to produce the desirable physiologic nocturnal blood melatonin level for a more rapid sleep onset. Dosages are designed to raise melatonin levels for several hours to enhance quality of sleep, but some studies suggest that smaller doses (for example 0.3 mg as opposed to 3 mg) are just as effective.[83] Large doses of melatonin can even be counterproductive: Lewy et al.[84] provide support to the “idea that too much melatonin may spill over onto the wrong zone of the melatonin phase-response curve” (PRC). In one of their subjects, 0.5 mg of melatonin was effective while 20 mg was not.

    So yeah, I’d want to know how much is in it too. I’mless worried about GABA and tryptophan in this instance.

  6. LovleAnjel says:

    Another reason why DSHEA needs to be repealed.

    I have a concern that the main ingredient in their remedy is guaranteed to wake people in the middle of the night…to use the restroom.

  7. cguidott says:

    “Proprietary” = “Secret Formula” – It’s really no different than coke having a formula, or KFC’s spice mixture. Does have a completely different feel when it comes to dietary supplements though…

  8. Versus says:

    The FTC rules on advertising supplements might keep “Dream Water” promoters awake at night:

    “In addition to the amount and type of evidence, the FTC will also examine the internal validity of each piece of evidence. Where the claim is one that would require scientific support, the research should be conducted in a competent and reliable manner to yield meaningful results. The design, implementation, and results of each piece of research are important to assessing the adequacy of the substantiation.”
    “A common problem in substantiation of advertising claims is that an advertiser has valid studies, but the studies do not support the claim made in the ad. Advertisers should make sure that the research on which they rely is not just internally valid, but also relevant to the specific product being promoted and to the specific benefit being advertised.”
    ” Ads that include consumer testimonials about the efficacy or safety of a supplement product should be backed by adequate substantiation that the testimonial experience is representative of what consumers will generally achieve when using the product.”

    Dietary Supplements: An Advertising Guide for Industry

  9. “proprietary blends” often are nothing of the kind.

    I use to work for a chemical containment materials manufacturer that made joint sealant systems for secondary chemical containment. We told our customers we used a custom secret, proprietary blend for our polymer.

    What was the custom, secret, proprietary blend? Standard off the shelf Santoprene polymer. Our product manager would spit into the melting/mixing vat for every new run so we could honestly claim a custom, secret, proprietary formula.

  10. Our former pediatrician once recommended a homeopathic teething pain remedy. The label had a very compelling claim (I’m paraphrasing): Don’t be alarmed if your child finds such relief that upon ingesting this product she falls immediately and deeply asleep. Would that this were true….

  11. magra178 says:

    Athro Undergrnd:

    I hear so many mothers raving about that silly homeopathic teething remedy! They swear by it and say how wonderful it is! A friend actually gave me the rest of her bottle when we were talking about our children’s teething. It was a lot of believing mothers and me, so I kept my thoughts on homepathy to myslef.

  12. Jeff says:

    By law every supplement bottle must have a “supplement facts” panel. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements:

    “If the dietary ingredient is a proprietary blend (i.e., a blend exclusive to the manufacturer), the total weight of the blend and the components of the blend in order of predominance by weight.”

    I could not find this information on the Dream Water website. Personally I would never take any supplement that didn’t tell me exactly how much of what ingredients were in it. Fortunately most natural sleep formulas disclose this information. Here’s one example:

    The product does not claim to treat insomnia and the FDA’s disclaimer is clearly legible at the bottom of the page.

  13. Scott says:

    The label had a very compelling claim (I’m paraphrasing): Don’t be alarmed if your child finds such relief that upon ingesting this product she falls immediately and deeply asleep.

    Given that the “carrier” in many homeopathic “remedies” is alcohol, I actually wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if this did happen. But it would be definite cause for alarm!

  14. chaos4zap says:

    “I wonder about the folks who are selling Dream Water. If they had an infection, would they be willing to take a new pharmaceutical product that was not FDA approved, that was an untested mixture of 3 prescription antibiotics, two of which had not been proven effective for that infection?”

    Unfortunately, I believe they would be willing to take said pill. It’s unfortunate to say this, but I think most of the population would, so long as It’s marketed correctly and not prescribed by a M.D. (everyone knows M.D.s are nothing less than corporate shills and want to keep you sick and coming back instead of treating “the whole body”) The fact that most people would buy the product based on a clever catch phrase or garbage back of the box testimonial and not even notice that the ingredient levels are not provided (much less, the quack miranda warning in little print), is appalling. I would like to say that these companies are insulting our intelligence. The sad truth is, for what is seemingly the majority of the population, they are exploiting their lack of intelligence. Not to say that is any better.

  15. People don’t believe that unsafe things are available for sale. They just don’t.

    Can’t the Quack Miranda be reworded to be clear? And put in a big black box?

    “This is an unregulated product. It has not been tested for safety, so it may harm you. It has not been shown to be effective for anything in particular, so it is unlikely to help you.”

    “Unregulated” is the wrong word, because a product that carried this version of the Quack Miranda would be doing so because of regulations.

    “Not approved by the FDA for any particular use” is meaningless to most people because we make decisions without consulting the FDA all the time. (Is coffee approved by the FDA to improve concentration? Prune juice as a laxative?)

  16. overshoot says:


    The “Quack Miranda Warning” isn’t what it used to be. Zicam is running radio ads specifically claiming that taking Zicam (which? Not specified) will reduce the duration of colds.

    They don’t seem to be worried about regulatory interference. Maybe they realized that it takes long enough that the profits are worthwhile regardless, I don’t know.

  17. edgar says:

    I hear so many mothers raving about that silly homeopathic teething remedy! They swear by it and say how wonderful it is!

    The tablets are very sweet, and I do suspect they make the child feel better.

    A little candy always makes me feel better, too!

  18. Jojo says:

    I tried those teething tablets when my son was teething. I was pretty desperate at the time, and I did not know about DSHEA at the time. In my ignorance, I thought that because it was shelved with the actual regulated OTCs it was regulated the same way. Boy, was I ticked when I found out the truth. Not only did they exploit an exhausted mother, they also provided false hope that my child would experience pain relief. The only teething relief he got was by chewing on the pill bottle.

    There is a little irony here. I stumbled across this website as a result of “doing my research” on vaccines. Not only did this site help confirm my decision to fully vax my son on schedule, it has also taught me how to protect myself and my family against a wide range of pseudo-science, and provided recommendations for a number of good reads as well. So, in my case, the anti-vax advice to educate myself worked to not only reject the anti-vax stance, but also CAM of many types.

  19. Martin A. Lessem, J.D. says:

    So a bit of perspective on the label. There are a few differing approaches we could take to the label depending on how we classify this product.

    Now, as this is a remedy mixture which has a claim, we will look at the requirements for Drug Labeling which is governed by § 201 of Part 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Specifically, let us examine § 201.10 (b) and § 201.10 (c)(2) and (3).

    Let the fun begin ;)

    § 201.10 (b) states, “The term ingredient applies to any substance in the drug, whether added to the formulation as a single substance or in admixture with other substances.”

    This is important because we have to understand what is meant by ingredient before we can move on. So *anything* in a drug is an ingredient.

    § 201.10 (c) states, “The labeling of a drug may be misleading by reason (among other reasons) of:”
    “(2) Failure to reveal the proportion of, or other fact with respect to, an ingredient present in such drug, when such proportion or other fact is material in the light of the representation that such ingredient is present in such drug.”

    So let us look at this in this instance. Dr. Hall contacts Sarpes Beverages, LLC (remember this name as I will return to it in a moment), and asks, “Can you tell me how much melatonin, tryptophan and GABA are in each bottle?” The response she gets from the company representative is as follows, “Unfortunately we cannot share specifics as the formula is proprietary.”

    Based on that alone we have a misleading product under the CFR. But we’re not done yet, and it just gets more fun as it moves along.

    § 201.10 (c)(3) “The employment of a fanciful proprietary name for a drug or ingredient in such a manner as to imply that the drug or ingredient has some unique effectiveness or composition when, in fact, the drug or ingredient is a common substance, the limitations of which are readily recognized when the drug or ingredient is listed by its established name.”

    This is a long one so I will simplify it for you. If what I have is *water* I cannot claim that it does anything other than what could normally be claimed by *water*, unless I can show it has other ingredients which alter its properties. Again, that is misleading.

    Here is where we have to revisit the name of the company. This “DreamWater” is a product of the Sarpes Beverages, LLC. This leads me to believe that should they be challenged under § 201.10 they will claim to be a food company under the CFR. Of course, food labels have requirements as well. These are found in § 101 of Part 21 of the CFR. Food labeling is much less restrictive than drug labeling. Specifically we want to examine § 101.4 (a)(1) “Ingredients required to be declared on the label or labeling of a food, including foods that comply with standards of identity, except those ingredients exempted by 101.100, shall be listed by common or usual name in descending order of predominance by weight on either the principal display panel or the information panel in accordance with the provisions of 101.2, except that ingredients in dietary supplements that are listed in the nutrition label in accordance with 101.36 need not be repeated in the ingredient list.”

    This says in simple terms, whatever you have most of has to be listed first, so technically, Water should be first on the list, followed by the remainder of the ingredients in order of the amounts in the substance, otherwise it is mislabeling.

    The real crux of this whole issues comes with the words on “DreamWater’s” own web site. “Active Ingredients.” While the FDA has not specifically ruled on this, it is generally accepted that “Active Ingredients” refers to the API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient) of a listed drug.

    Perhaps we should report Sarpes Beverages, LLC for mislabeling?

    Food for thought ;)

  20. Martin A. Lessem, J.D. says:

    In case it didn’t come across, I support the Science behind medications and not the woo behind products such as the one above :)

    As a further disclaimer, I am a Regulatory Attorney with a Pharmaceutical company and primarily work in Risk Management and Promotional Review.

  21. Draal says:

    If someone was to ship a bottle to me I can determine the concentrations using the HPLC at my lab.

  22. Angora Rabbit says:

    I did a little poking through the textbooks, which suggest that little if any of the GABA would reach the brain. Assuming it is absorbed by the gut (and since enterocytes love glutamate and glutamine as energy sources, this is not a sure bet), its first target would be the liver. And the liver mitochondria are chock full of the two enzymes that convert GABA to succinate (making glutamate as a side product). Being deficient in either succinate or glutamate is a pretty good working definition of dead, so I doubt there’s a health benefit from “boosting” those levels.

    I’m with Dr. Hall in thinking GABA doesn’t cross the BBB. Which is why GABA is a good neurotransmitter. :)

    GABA addition might be the hinge of their proprietary claim, but anyone can nail two boards together in a new way and call it proprietary.

    Or as my students would say, it falls under the category of “expensive pee.”

    Martin’s post is excellent – thank you!

  23. James Fox says:

    Martin Lessem wrote,” As a further disclaimer, I am a Regulatory Attorney with a Pharmaceutical company and primarily work in Risk Management and Promotional Review.”

    I’m not sure what restrictions your employer has on your extracurricular activities but I think it would be helpful if you were an occasional contributor here on SBM concerning legal issues and ALT/CAM and con’s. Perhaps you could discuss this with the editors?

  24. Martin A. Lessem, J.D. says:

    Angora Rabbit – Thank you :) I try.

    James Fox – I have submitted my CV and a short sample dealing with the History of the FDA (It is actually a sordid tale of multiple deaths and unscrupolous companies) to Dr. Gorski indicating that I would be able to contribute to SBM about once a month if they want me. My company doesn’t care as long as I don’t represent them, but I gladly speak on general topics :)

  25. magra178 says:

    edgar: (on the homeopathic teething tablets)

    I tried them and didn’t find them sweet at all (chalky would probably be the best description I could give them). I did give one or two to my daughter through teething times, and although she did seem to like to take them (she likes almost any food) they didn’t seem to make much difference on teething (although she didn’t have much trouble with teething, and I went to tylenol if she was upset). I did ask a pediatrician about the tablets safety and efficacy, didn’t specify any studies, but did say how they’ve been used for quite a while by millions of mothers, so serious side effects would probably be noted by now (hopefully). One of those endorsing mothers claimed how her son ate half the bottle at one time; I felt it was safe to try, but I certainly don’t endorse any effect, but yes, I could see how children enjoy taking them which may lead to mothers thinking they’re effective (and maybe to some extent that is effective if it makes a miserable teething child happy for 5 seconds). couldn’t find anything on pubmed either.

  26. overshoot says:

    I have submitted my CV and a short sample dealing with the History of the FDA (It is actually a sordid tale of multiple deaths and unscrupolous companies) to Dr. Gorski indicating that I would be able to contribute to SBM about once a month if they want me.

    Oooooohhhh! WANT!

    Best of all worlds: I get my GrokLaw fix and my SBM fix, all at once!

  27. wertys says:

    Re the proprietary secrets thing…I recently had an exchange of pleasantries by email with Blackmores, an Australian company notorious for getting reprimanded by the Therapeutic Goods Administration here for advertising breaches. Their annual report contained a throwaway phrase that they had done an RCT of a proprietary arthritis ‘formula’ which didn’t work out so they wouldn’t be seeling it. After getting past their initial PR wonk of a naturopath I was referred to one of their ‘researchers’. Apparently this individual came up with the formula and patented it or something. On the strength of this he was employed by Blackmores as a ‘Corporate Development Manager’ so he could commercialize the formula. The details of what was in it, and even where the trial was held were never disclosed apart from being identified as ‘one of Sydney’s leading research institutions’, and when I asked if they could publish the result so we could advise pts accurately about the evidence base for all OA treatments I was not answered at all.

    Just imagine Big Pharma doing this and expecting to get away with it !

  28. Draal says:

    Hey, check this out, a picture on Dream Water’s website was lifted directly from Sigma-Aldrich’s website:

  29. Draal says:

    From Sigma’s “Site Use Terms”:

    Intellectual Property Notices. All contents of the Site are: Copyright © 2002–2006 Sigma-Aldrich, Inc. and/or its suppliers and licensors, 3050 Spruce Street, St. Louis, Missouri, 63103 U.S.A. All rights reserved. Elements of the Site are protected by trade dress, trademark, unfair competition, and other laws and may not be copied or imitated in whole or in part. No logo, graphic, sound or image from the Site may be copied or retransmitted unless expressly permitted by Sigma-Aldrich.

    tsk, tsk, Dream Water.

  30. Tsuken says:

    Given how well SSRIs (which of course increase serotonin transmission) can worsen sleep, I’d not be too confident about a serotonin precursor (aiming obviously to increase serotonin) would improve sleep. Sure some people get sedated by SSRIs (and therefore maybe by tryptophan, if there were a substantial amount in dreamwater), but that’s uncommon and idiosyncratic.

    Melatonin is important in regulating our whole diurnal cycle, not simply getting sleepy at night. Supressing melatonin in the morning by getting out in the sun might well do as much to regularise the diurnal cycle (even assuming there’s any significant amount of melatonin in this crap) – and it’s free, and carries extra potential benefit of exercise, or at least some activity.

  31. Zoe237 says:

    Oh yes, I know plenty of otherwise non homeopathic moms who swear by the Hyland’s teething tablets.

    I also know a few who take 5-htp for depression and give their kids melatonin for sleep. I liked to see a more in depth critique of these two supplements. Haven’t heard of dreamwater though. Just the name @@@.

  32. tmac57 says:

    I can assure you, that if I were to drink 8OZ of ANYTHING, 30 minutes before I went to bed, that I would be awake again within about two hours or so.

  33. Zoe,

    People are giving their kids SLEEP MEDICATION??? Of any kind?

    I know it’s tempting, but would they give them valium if they had it?

  34. Zoe237 says:

    That was melatonin, not medication. Is melatonin a sleep medication?

    Alison, to be fair, one particular child had night terrors, and another insomnia, but I don’t know all the details. This may be under a doctor’s supervision, I don’t know. At least one mom I know takes her kids to a chiropractor monthly as their “FP.” And he definitely cures ear infections, according to her.

    Some mainstream moms I know give their kids benedryl on long flights. Or brandy on their gums.

  35. magra178 says:

    I’ve also heard of people using children’s benadryl for flights, but hey, now they can just use dream water!

  36. BillyJoe says:

    “At least one mom I know takes her kids to a chiropractor monthly as their “FP.” And he definitely cures ear infections, according to her.”

    ….most of which are self-limiting.
    What does this “FP’ do if the child suffers a complication like mastoiditis?

  37. Zoe, from wikipedia:

    “A pharmaceutical drug, also referred to as medicine, medication or medicament, can be loosely defined as any chemical substance intended for use in the medical diagnosis, cure, treatment, or prevention of disease.”

    “In pharmacology, a drug is “a chemical substance used in the treatment, cure, prevention, or diagnosis of disease or used to otherwise enhance physical or mental well-being.””

    Melatonin is definitely a drug or medication.

    Yes, we all know people give drugs (yes, including benadryl and alcohol) to their kids to make them sleep. But they should be aware that’s what they are doing, and not imagining that because it hasn’t passed FDA criteria for being a safe and effective drug, that somehow it isn’t a drug.

  38. Regarding sleep medication for kids. Within the parenting community I know, it is not uncommon to give a child (over 12 months) benedryl for a flight. One needs to get the correct dosage and directions from your doctor, it is not on the bottle for children under 6.

    I think I am recalling my pediatricians advice correctly in regard to flying with a child long distances. She said, the advantage of benedryl for children on a flight is that it can help with any nasal congestion which can make them more comfortable with ear/pressure changes AND it may make them sleepy. The disadvantage is some children do not get sleepy, they get hyperactive, the prospects of that on a plane are sufficiently horrifying to most parents. So she does not recommend benedryl for a flight unless you know your child’s response.

    I have given my son Benedryl for flights due to ear issues (before his tubes) and that fact that it makes him sleepy. When I gave my daughter benedryl for a bee sting, I found she had the more hyper response, so I avoid it for her except for hives, bee stings.

    I’ve never heard a parent talk about giving benedryl (or any other non-food item) to a child for regular sleeping or midnight waking issues. But, that maybe my circle of friends or my area.

    Regarding Melatonin, I often check out what Mayo Clinic has to say about supplements or herbs. To me they seem to have a pretty good run down of risks, benefits, knowns and unknowns.

    Dr. Brent A. Bauer, M.D. their CAM internist, says it is not known to offer benefit for insomnia. There is some evidence it may help with jet lag. Lists many unknowns and side effects and notes to ONLY take synthetic versions since animal based versions may be harmful. I don’t want to cut and paste the whole article.

    I have to say twelve hour jetlag with a child is a major pain. Can take a week or more to get back on schedule. I think another commenter noted this, but one good remedy I have found is sunlight exercise. For a baby, even taking them out in the stroller when it’s sunny, seems to help get them back on schedule. Of course, this is personal experience and completely anecdotal evidence and maybe it is only useful because you feel like you are doing “something” to help the situation.

    It’s good to note that since “DreamWater” doesn’t list it’s ingredients accurately it would be hard to tell if the melatonin is synthetic or animal based. Perhaps that is proprietary too.

    I seem to recall some incident of Melatonin contamination way back in the 80s, but couldn’t track down any links on it. Maybe my memory is wrong or has been confused by memories of tylenol, pet food, tomato, spinach, etc contamination.

    Sometimes I think that Americans believe anything you can legally buy is safe, other times I think they believe “what the heck, we have no idea what’s safe, so we may as well do what we want.” Probably a bit of both depending upon personality or mood.

    As it may be noted, This is a ramble, because I did not sleep well last night. :) But I think I’ll pass on the DreamWater.

  39. “But I think I’ll pass on the DreamWater.”

    No pun intended. :) but must have more coffee.

  40. I also wanted to note that a google search of melatonin yeilded a bunch of article that stated something to the effect of ‘melatonin is hormone produced naturally in your body so it should not be harmful to take’

    To me this seems like a load of…hooey. If that were the case, one could take Synthroid, a synthetic version of thyroid hormone without any ill effect. Which you can’t. Taking Synthroid over the long term, causes the thyroid to attrophy. This begs the question, does taking synthetic melatonin undermine the bodies natural production of melatonin?

  41. regarding ear infections
    BillyJoe “….most of which are self-limiting.
    What does this “FP’ do if the child suffers a complication like mastoiditis?”

    Yes, or bacterial meningitis or multiple perforated eardrum or just long term Otitis media with effusion with secondary mild hearing loss in the speech range. Not every ear infection required antibiotic, but they do require medical pediatric monitoring.

  42. Jeff says:

    Zoe237: I also know a few who take 5-htp for depression and give their kids melatonin for sleep. I would like to see a more in depth critique of these two supplements.

    Here’s a well-referenced article on melatonin:

    Beyond Sleep: New Medical Applications for Melatonin

  43. Shannon says:

    if a chiropractor “treats” an ear infection–isn’t that practicing medicine without a license?

  44. BillyJoe says:


    “Not every ear infection required antibiotic, but they do require medical pediatric monitoring.”

    In Australia it is the GP, who would refer onto a paediatrician or ENT if and when indicated

  45. BillyJoe, Yes, that is different than the U.S.. Here babies and kids just go to the pediatrician for all care and then may be referred on to a ENT or pediatric ENT if there is a possible need for tubes.

    Perhaps even in more remote areas of the U.S. kids still see GP or Family Doctors, not sure.

  46. B Hitt says:

    On GABA: The sedating properties depend on how much GABA is released at synapses, not on dietary quantities. These supplement companies are making a couple huge assumptions, that GABA crosses the BBB and also that high dietary intake of GABA somehow forces GABAergic neurons to release more GABA. I’m quite sure most people’s insomnia is not caused by GABA deficiency that can be corrected by supplements. I looked into it when an insomniac friend of mine raved about her GABA pills. She was certain that I, a neuroscientist, would be impressed because it sounded so scientific.

    On proprietary formulas: I worked for a biotech company that sold a kit which included an elution buffer with a proprietary formula. That formula: H2O, nothing else.

  47. Joe says:

    @Shannonon 24 Mar 2010 at 12:27 pm “if a chiropractor “treats” an ear infection–isn’t that practicing medicine without a license?”

    Not if his/her colleagues testify it is standard practice (which, they will). A license to practice any kind of CAM is a license to kill.

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