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Can Supplements Really Help With Depression or Anxiety?

Posted 17 June 2022

SCAM OR NOT

Here’s what the evidence says about what works (and what doesn’t).

St. John’s wort “promotes a positive mood.” Valerian root reduces “levels of anxiety and stress.” Lavender oil is “calming for body and mind.”

If you are among the tens of millions of people in the United States who suffer from depression or anxiety, it is easy to be captivated by the promise of mood-boosting supplements. Take these pills daily, their marketing suggests, and soon you’ll be happily bouncing through verdant, sun-soaked fields, no prescription required.

But, while experts say that some mood-lifting supplements are better studied than others, the wider evidence on their effectiveness is shaky at best. “I’m not saying that there’s evidence that these things aren’t useful,” said Dr. Gerard Sanacora, a professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine

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