Mood Boosting Supplements that May Be Dangerous

Last week you read about supplements that can boost your mood.
I received encouraging comments on how much you appreciated the information.

Thank you for the comments and feedback. I love hearing from you!

I also received some great questions about other supplements that boost mood that I did not discuss.

You asked and I’m answering.

I want to take today to share WHY I did not include two particular supplements in my discussion.

It’s all due to safety.

Keep reading to learn about the two mood-boosting supplements that may be dangerous for you to use.

There is a common misconception that “natural products” and “supplements” are safe.

Some folks assume just because something comes from a plant or a health food store it is innately safe.

Newsflash: poison ivy, hemlock, and arsenic are all “natural” products that are most definitely UNSAFE for humans.

The reality is some supplements and natural products ARE safe while others can cause SERIOUS health problems.

It just depends on the product and its quality.

People ask me about supplement and natural product safety all the time.

When considering supplements, safety and effectiveness are my top priorities.

If something is unsafe, I don’t even consider using it. Or suggesting others use it.

And if something is not effective, I don’t waste my money (or anybody else’s) on it.

There are supplements that help boost mood, but are considered dangerous.

That’s right.

There are two supplements that have strong evidence to support they boost mood, but also strong evidence to suggest they may be dangerous to use.

Your health and safety is my top priority.

That is why I’m sharing all the details on why kava and St. John’s wort did not make my cut.

The first culprit is kava.

Kava is known to help with anxiety. Multiple studies show kava is superior to placebo and in some cases, even anti-anxiety medicine.

So kava meets the effectiveness criteria.

Safety, however, is another story.

Kava is associated with over 100 cases of liver toxicity — including the need for liver transplants and even death.

For this reason, kava was withdrawn from Canadian and European markets.

Canada and Germany have since lifted kava bans, however safety is still a concern.

Due to liver toxicity concerns, kava does not meet my safety criteria.

Even though there is reasonable evidence to show kava works, due to side effects it can be potentially dangerous.

The second culprit is St. John’s Wort

St. John’s wort is a flowering plant found in sunny, well-drained locations.

St. John’s wort has a wealth of evidence to show it helps with depression. Studies show it is superior to placebo and even commonly used depression medicines (such as SSRIs).

In fact, St. John’s wort is associated with FEWER side effects compared to standard anti-depressants.

So, you may be wondering, what’s the problem with St. John’s wort?

Great question.

St. John’s wort is associated with MANY serious interactions with certain medicines.

When used on its own, studies show St. John’s wort is safe when used for 12 weeks (and in some cases even longer).

What is unsafe is the drug interactions St. John’s wort has when used with other products.

The risk of interactions is so serious that St. John’s wort products were banned in France. Other countries require cautionary labeling on St. John’s wort products warning of serious interactions.

St. John’s wort can decrease the effectiveness of certain drugs.

Some examples include:

  • Oral contraceptives (aka birth control pills) - St. John’s wort decreases oral contraceptive levels and effectiveness, which can lead to unplanned pregnancy and breakthrough bleeding.
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) medicines — St. John’s wort can decrease serum levels of HIV medicines, which can lead to treatment failure and resistance.
  • Seizure medicines — St. John’s wort may increase the metabolism of seizure medicines, which can result in loss of seizure control.
  • Anticoagulants or blood thinners — St. John’s wort can decrease the effectiveness of anticoagulants, which may lead to blood clots.

Despite the risk of drug interactions, many people still choose to use St. John’s wort.

And this is probably fine, so long as they disclose all medicines and supplements they are using to their healthcare providers.

The problem is when people do NOT let their providers know everything they are using.

If you want to try St. John’s wort, make sure you work with a healthcare provider to make sure you are using it safely.

I’m not opposed to using St. John’s wort. What I am opposed to is using it in an UNSAFE way.

Mood Boosting Supplements that May Be Dangerous

Happiness is important to us all and we know the main detractors from happiness in the Unites States are depression and anxiety.

You know there are supplements that can boost your happiness (see this post for more details).

There are other supplements that are effective, but can be dangerous.

Kava can cause serious liver damage and St. John’s wort can cause dangerous drug interactions when used incorrectly.

Now you know the good, the bad, and the potentially dangerous about kava and St. John’s wort.

Want More?

Are you looking for more information on happiness? Read parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the happiness series and be on the lookout for part 6.