St. John’s Wort is a popular herbal supplement frequently taken for depression, anxiety, and sleep problems. It has been used for centuries and is extensively available moment as an untoward remedy. One common question aboutSt. John’s Wort is whether it causes weight gain as a side effect. This article will examine the evidence on St. John’s Wort and potential effects on body weight.
What is St. John’s Wort?
John’s Wort, also known by its botanical name Hypericum perforatum, is a flowering factory native to Europe and Asia. It has been used in traditional folk drug dating back to ancient Greece. The name"St. John's Wort" refers to its traditional flowering and crop onSt. John's Day in late June.
The flowers and leaves of St. John’s Wort contain a range of bioactive compounds, including hypericin and hyperforin. These may contribute to its psychiatric effects for conditions like depression. St. John’s Wort today is widely available in tablets, teas and tinctures meant to be taken orally.
John’s Wort (Hypericum Perforatum Extract Powder)has been delved for use in treating mild to moderate depression, anxiety, menopausal symptoms, attention deficiency hyperactivity complaint( ADHD), compulsive obsessive complaint( OCD) and other conditions. still, its efficacity across these uses is batted .
St. John’s Wort and Weight Gain
Does taking St. John’s Wort cause weight gain? Based on current research, there is no strong evidence that St. John’s Wort directly causes weight gain. However, there are some ways it could indirectly influence body weight:
- Improving depression - By relieving the symptoms of depression, St. John’s Wort may reduce fatigue and stimulate appetite in some people. An improved mood and appetite could lead to increased food intake and weight gain.
- Sedative effects - St. John's Wort can cause drowsiness and fatigue in some. This could possibly reduce overall activity levels and metabolism. However, research has not confirmed any significant impact on body weight.
- Hormone activity - There is limited evidence that St. John’s Wort may mildly stimulate estrogen activity. Advanced estrogen situations are linked to increased appetite and fat storehouse, which could theoretically increase threat for weight gain in some women. still, exploration has not observed any clinically significant effect on weight due to estrogen- suchlike goods.
Overall, current studies have not demonstrated that St. John’s Wort causes direct weight gain. People taking it for depression may benefit from an improved mood and appetite, but there is no indication it alters metabolism, fat storage or hormones enough to significantly affect weight.
Side Effects of St. John's Wort
While generally considered safe for short- term use at recommended tablets,St. John's Wort does have implicit side goods to be apprehensive of:
- Gastrointestinal upset - Can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation. Taking with food may help reduce these issues.
- Dizziness and confusion - May occur due to its effects on the nervous system. This typically resolves in a few hours to days once the body adjusts.
- Tiredness and sedation - Drowsiness during the day can occur, but often improves over time. Adjusting dosage may help reduce sedative effects.
- Increased sun sensitivity - Can cause a heightened sensitivity to sunlight. Wearing sunscreen is recommended.
- Allergic reactions - Includes itchy skin rash, hives, swelling, and breathing problems in rare cases. Discontinue use if a reaction develops.
- Serotonin syndrome - Very high doses can potentially cause dangerous serotonin levels when combined with antidepressants. This is rare with recommended dosages.
- Eye damage - Extended use may increase risk of cataracts according to some research.Regular eye exams are encouraged with long-term use.
In most people, St. John’s Wort is well-tolerated, especially when taken as directed on the packaging. But it is important to be aware of potential side effects and interactions with drugs. Monitoring symptoms and staying in touch with your healthcare provider is advised if taking St. John’s Wort regularly.
Does St John's Wort help you lose weight?
There is limited evidence that St. John's Wort may help with modest weight loss. A few small studies have found:
- In a 12-week trial of 39 obese volunteers, those taking a high 900mg daily dose of St. John's Wort extract lost an average of 5 pounds more than the control group. It appeared to help reduce food intake.
- Another study in 80 fat women set up that 300 mg ofSt. John's Wort daily for 8 weeks dropped body mass indicator( BMI) further than placebo. Experimenters proposed it may haveanti-inflammatory goods that reduced water retention.
still, other studies have failed to descry significant weight loss goods. further exploration is still demanded on the impact ofSt. John’s Wort on body weight and composition. At this point, it shouldn't be viewed as a dependable weight loss aid, but may give minor benefits for some people. As always, maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine is crucial for weight operation.
Does St John's wort slow down your metabolism?
There is little evidence that St. John's wort significantly slows metabolism in most people at recommended dosages.
A few small studies found:
- No change in resting metabolic rate in men taking up to 900mg/day of St. John's wort extract over 12 weeks.
- No drop in metabolic measures in menopausal women taking 300-500mg/day for 12 weeks.
However, a couple reports indicate it could potentially affect thyroid hormones like T3 and T4 in isolated cases. Since thyroid hormones regulate metabolism, theoretical concerns remain about St. John's wort slowing metabolism.
Overall, current exploration doesn't demonstrate a clear effect ofSt. John’s wort on metabolism. Larger, longer- term studies are still demanded.Anyone experiencing symptoms like unexplained weight gain, fatigue or cold sensitivity while taking St. John’s wort should have thyroid hormone levels checked by their healthcare provider.
Is it bad to take St John's wort everyday?
Taking St. John's wort daily is generally considered safe for most healthy adults, but there are some risks to be aware of with long-term everyday use:
- Photosensitivity - Daily use can greatly increase skin sensitivity to sunlight and risk of burns or rashes. Wearing sunscreen is important.
- Drug interactions - The compounds in St. John's wort can alter the metabolism of many prescription medications when taken chronically. This includes birth control pills, blood thinners, antidepressants, and others. Close monitoring by a doctor is recommended.
- Eye damage - Some research indicates long-term use may increase rates of cataracts and retinal damage when taken daily. Regular eye exams are a good idea.
- Withdrawal symptoms - Stopping suddenly after taking St. John's wort every day for weeks or longer can sometimes cause issues like anxiety, dizziness, and insomnia as the body adjusts. Slowly tapering off is preferable.
- Lack of regulations - Daily products are not well-standardized or regulated for purity and potency like pharmaceutical drugs. The FDA does not verify the quality of supplements. Consulting reputable brands is wise.
For most people, taking St. John's wort daily appears reasonably safe if dosages are moderate and stacks well with their other current medications. But checking with a doctor regularly about potential interactions and side effects is recommended, especially for long-term daily usage.
What are the side effects of St Johns Wort?
Some of the more common side effects of St. John's Wort may include:
- Gastrointestinal problems - Stomach upset, nausea, diarrhea, constipation. Taking with food may help reduce GI irritation.
- Fatigue and sedation - Feelings of tiredness and drowsiness are common. Usually improves with time. Lower dosages may help.
- Skin photosensitivity - Can cause increased sunburn risk and skin rash with sun exposure. Wearing sunscreen is recommended.
- Headache and dizziness - May experience headaches or a sense of dizziness, especially when first starting. Drinking plenty of water may help reduce headaches.
- Dry mouth - Decreased saliva production may occur. Sipping water or chewing sugar-free gum can help.
- Anxiety and irritability - Some users report increased restlessness, anxiety, irritability, agitation or insomnia, especially at high doses.
- Allergic reactions - Rarely, hives, itching, and swelling may signal an allergy. Discontinue use if this occurs.
Serious side effects are uncommon but may include blurred vision, mania, liver toxicity, and serotonin syndrome if mixed with certain antidepressants. Contact your doctor promptly about severe side effects. Overall St. John's wort is fairly well tolerated, but side effects should be watched for.
Does St John's Wort increase estrogen?
Some research indicates St. John's wort (Hypericum Perforatum Extract)may have mild estrogen-like effects in the body, but evidence is still preliminary:
- Laboratory studies have found compounds like hyperforin may slightly bind to estrogen receptors and promote estrogen-like responses at the cellular level. However, effects appear relatively weak.
- A couple small studies in menopausal women found St. John's wort modestly increased estrogen levels. However, other trials found no significant impact. More research is still needed.
Rat studies suggest high- cure, long- termSt. John's wort may stimulate cell growth in hormone-sensitive apkins like the guts and uterus. It's unknown if this occurs in humans as well.
- Some case reports have linked heavy use ofSt. John's wort to gynecomastia( bone towel growth) in men. still, a direct unproductive effect has not been established.
Overall, current evidence on St. John's wort's estrogen-boosting effects in humans is fairly weak and preliminary. More research in people is still needed, especially looking at the typical 300-900 mg daily doses taken for depression and anxiety. Those with cancers that are estrogen-sensitive should likely avoid St. John's wort out of caution currently.
What foods should you avoid when taking St John's wort?
There are some foods and beverages that should be limited or avoided when taking St. John’s wort due to potential interactions:
- Grapefruit - Grapefruit can inhibit enzymes that help break down St. John’s wort. This can cause levels to spike with unintended effects. It’s recommended to avoid grapefruit juice and fresh grapefruit.
- High-protein foods - Protein-rich foods like meat, eggs and soy may bind to the hyperforin in St. John's wort, reducing absorption. Spacing these foods apart from doses maximizes its effects.
- Coffee - Drinking coffee alongside St. John’s wort may exacerbate side effects like nervousness, insomnia, nausea and headaches in some. Caffeine should be moderate.
- Alcohol - Alcohol intensifies the sedative properties of St. John's wort, increasing drowsiness and dizziness. Moderation or avoidance of alcohol is wise.
- Chocolate - Chocolate can inhibit St. John's wort breakdown and lead to excessively high levels. Consume dark chocolate sparingly when taking this supplement.
Checking with your pharmacist or doctor about any food and drink interactions is advised. Being mindful of intake around dosing times can help manage side effects and efficacy.
In summary, the scientific evidence to date does not strongly support the idea that St. John’s Wort directly causes weight gain for most people. While it may modestly increase appetite and body weight in some cases as depression symptoms improve, clear effects on metabolism, fat storage, and hormones have not been demonstrated. Mild weight loss effects have been noted in a few studies as well.
Potential side effects like stomach upset, fatigue, dizziness, dry mouth, and sun sensitivity seem most common, but are usually mild. Risks may be greater with high doses, long-term daily use, and combining with certain foods and medications. Monitoring your health and staying in touch with your medical provider is important if taking St. John’s Wort regularly. While a helpful herb for some, St. John’s Wort merits a thoughtful discussion with your doctor to determine if it may be appropriate for your individual health needs and body.
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