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60% of St. John's Wort Supplements Fail ConsumerLab.com Tests of Quality

Many Found to Be Low in Key Compound
White Plains, New York, September 26, 2016 — St. John's wort extracts can be as effective as standard antidepressant drugs for treating mild to moderate major depression, with significantly fewer side effects. However, recent ConsumerLab.com tests revealed that six of ten St. John's wort supplements contain much lower levels of key plant compounds than expected. These compounds, hypericins and hyperforin, are associated with the herb's effectiveness. In a suggested daily serving, ConsumerLab.com found amounts of hypericins and hyperforin ranged across products by more than 2,000% and 20,000%, respectively.

"The wide variation across products means that some St. John's wort supplements may be helpful for depression, while others may not contain enough of the herb to have a meaningful effect," said ConsumerLab.com President Tod Cooperman, M.D. The high failure rate may be attributable to adulteration of St. John's wort extracts with dyes which resemble St. John's wort when tested using outdated analytical methods. ConsumerLab.com tested products using a method which identifies the hypericin molecule and is not "tricked" by dyes. The FDA does not specify which methods manufacturers must use to verify the quality of ingredients and supplements. Supplements were also tested by ConsumerLab.com for potential contamination with the heavy metals arsenic, cadmium and lead and pills were checked to be sure they would break apart properly to release their ingredients.

ConsumerLab.com was able to identify four St. John's wort supplements which passed all of its quality tests and it identified a "top pick" among them.

ConsumerLab.com's St. John's Wort Supplements Review is now available online at https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/St_Johns_Wort/stjohnswort/ and covers the following 10 products: Gaia Herbs St. John's Wort Flower Buds & Tops, Nature's Way Perika St. John's Wort, NOW St. John's Wort, Planetary Herbals Full Spectrum St. John's Wort, Shaklee MoodLift Complex, Standard Process MediHerb St. John's Wort, Swanson St. John's Wort, Vitacost St. John's Wort Extract, Vitamin Shoppe St. John's Wort Extract and Whole Foods St. John's Wort. 

The report summarizes the clinical evidence regarding the use of St. John's wort, including differences between forms (extracts and herb powders), dosage, what to look for on labels, possible side-effects, and potential drug interactions. 

Founded in 1999, ConsumerLab.com is a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. Membership to ConsumerLab.com is available online and provides immediate access to reviews of more than 1,000 products from over 400 brands. The company is privately held and based in Westchester, New York. It has no ownership from, or interest in, companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products.