Tested and True – Mood Booster – St. John’s Wort

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Consumer Reports* chose St. John’s wort as one of its “11 Supplements to Consider” in 2010.   The combination of flower, leaves, and stem are collectively referred to as the aerial (above ground) portion of the St. John’s wort plant that are used medicinally.  St. John’s wort contains at least seven parts that may be associated with its biological effects.


Claims and Purported Use

St. John’s wort has been shown to be effective for improving symptoms of forms of depression*.  Some studies have shown the St. John’s wort extracts are as effective as standard anti-depressant drugs, including anti-depressants in the SSRI (Prozac) family as a treatment for mild to moderate cases of major depression – and with significantly fewer side effects (Linde 2008, Szegedi 2005).  But, three other highly recognized human studies showed not benefit with St. John’s wort.  The differences in research findings are related to numerous factors such as outcomes being measured, the number of people in the studies, and the products tested.   Most St. John’s wort products on the market do not meet quality testing, but those below do.



Nature’s Bounty St. John’s WortDouble Strength

Nature's Bounty St. John's Wort, 300mg, Capsules

New Chapter St. John’s Force Supercritical St. John’s Wort, Softgels

New Chapter St. John's Force Supercritical St. John's Wort, Softgels

Selected Potential Side Effects

St. John’s wort may cause insomnia, vivid dreams, anxiety, dizziness, headache, skin rash, and tingling.  It can cause the skin to become extra sensitive to the sun.

Selected Drug Interactions

St. John’s wort can decrease the effectiveness of a wide range of drugs, including birth control pills, heart medications, HIV/AIDS drugs, and warfarin.  Also, St. John’s wort may increase the effects of certain anti-depressants.

Reference Guide for Tested and True Dietary Supplements

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Tested and True: Multivitamins

Tested and True: Vitamin D

Tested and True: Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ-10)

Tested and True: Glucosamine and Chondroitin

Tested and True: Probiotics

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Tested and True: Nutrition Bars

Tested and True: Nutrition Drinks & Powders

Tested and True: Weight Loss Accelerators and Appetite Controllers

Tested and True: Mood Booster SAM-e

Tested and True: Mood Booster St. Johns’ Wort

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*reference: Consumer Reports Health


About Dave Barnas, M.S., CES, NASM-CPT

Dave is the true health guy. He is the founder and owner of True Health Unlimited, LLC, a personal health and fitness company in Tolland, CT & Wellness Writers, a subscription wellness newsletter service that incorporates live & virtual wellness workshops for companies across New England. Dave earned both a Bachelor's (1998) and Master's Degree (2000) in Nutritional Science from the University of Connecticut, and also holds certifications as a National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Personal Trainer, National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist, Aerobics and Fitness Association of America Group Instructor, and Nutrition Specialist. He's also the lead author for four published works. Dave has over 20 years of combined experience in nutrition counseling, dietary supplement advising, personal training, corrective exercise training, health coaching and public speaking. In addition, he's spent over 25 years studying spirituality, meditation, and personal growth strategies. Dave's clients are all ages: youth, college championship level athletes, folks in their retired years, and everywhere in between. He's worked with three of the nation's leading physicians as a dietary supplement advisor and been a guest lecturer at Harvard University, Yale University, UConn, St. Joseph College and various church groups, health clubs, and high schools. In 2013, he was invited to Whole Foods Market to share his Real Food Therapy Guide. And in 2015, Dave's funny "Snowga" (yoga in the snow) video caught the attention of The National Weather Channel, who aired it to shake off cabin fever and bring laughter. In 2016, Dave & Hollie (his wife) founded Wellness Writers and deliver evidence-based Wellness E-newsletters to spread a message of health and happiness to various businesses throughout the US. Dave currently serves as a personal trainer in Tolland as well as a wellness coach and writer for several businesses, gyms and wellness facilities throughout the US.

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