Does St John's Wort Cause Weight Gain?

The short answer is no, St John's Wort should not cause weight gain, unless it does in fact reduce stress and you were previously not eating due to stress. By and of itself, it doesn't have that effect. There are actually even some claims around St John's Wort and weight loss, although it's hardly a well backed weight loss aid.

Understanding St. John's Wort

St. John's Wort, scientifically known as Hypericum perforatum, is a perennial shrub native to regions of Asia, Africa, Europe, and the United States. It has been traditionally used to treat nervous disorders and has gained popularity as a natural remedy for depression. The active compounds found in St. John's Wort, hypericin and pseudohypericin, are believed to possess antiviral and antibacterial properties.

The Safety of St. John's Wort

Before delving into the relationship between St. John's Wort and weight gain, it's essential to address the safety of this herbal supplement. St. John's Wort generally has a low incidence of side effects compared to prescription antidepressants. Clinical trials have reported minimal adverse reactions, which were often similar to those experienced by individuals taking a placebo. Some common side effects include stomach upset, fatigue, itching, sleep disturbance, and skin rash.

However, it is worth noting that St. John's Wort can make the skin more sensitive to sunlight. Individuals with fair skin should be cautious of rashes or burns following sun exposure. Severe blistering and burns have been reported in cases where St. John's Wort was ingested or applied topically and then exposed to sunlight. While this reaction is not typical for most individuals, it is essential to be aware of this potential side effect.

St. John's Wort and Weight Loss

The weight-loss industry often promotes the use of various herbs to aid in shedding pounds. However, scientific evidence supporting these claims is often lacking. The primary factor in weight loss is creating a calorie deficit by consuming fewer calories than the body burns. Regardless of the weight-loss products one takes, the basic principle remains the same – a reduction in calorie intake.

Despite claims of St. John's Wort being a weight-loss aid, there is no substantial evidence to support this assertion. While this herbal supplement has been found to have beneficial effects on depression, infections, menopausal symptoms, and seasonal affective disorder, its impact on weight loss is unproven. The effectiveness of St. John's Wort in treating weight loss remains a subject of ongoing research.

Precautions and Interactions

Although St. John's Wort may not directly cause weight gain, it's crucial to consider its potential interactions with other medications and its overall impact on health. St. John's Wort has been known to interact with certain medications, including antidepressants, antihistamines, birth control pills, and sedatives. It is important to consult a healthcare professional before incorporating St. John's Wort into your routine, particularly if you are taking any of these medications.

Additionally, St. John's Wort may cause side effects such as dizziness, mental confusion, hives, headache, and dry mouth. It is also important to note that St. John's Wort can increase skin sensitivity to sunlight. Individuals considering the use of St. John's Wort should discuss potential risks and benefits with their healthcare provider.

The Bottom Line About If St John's Work Can Cause Weight Gain

In conclusion, St. John's Wort does not cause weight gain. While this herbal supplement has shown promise in treating conditions such as depression, infections, and menopausal symptoms, its effectiveness as a weight-loss aid remains unproven. Weight loss primarily involves creating a calorie deficit through proper diet and exercise. It is essential to approach weight loss with evidence-based strategies and consult healthcare professionals for individualized advice.

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