Onnit’s “New Mood:” My Take
I came across a promo for Onnit’s “New Mood Daily-Stress Formula” and decided give the 30-day sample a try. Here’s a breakdown of what I found:
Serving size is 2 capsules, so one $30 bottle lasts 15 days.
Ingredients and Dosages
Below is a breakdown of the supplements and dosages included in a bottle of New Mood. I researched the supplement, whether it had robust studies — multiple human, double-blind, placebo-controlled papers with similar findings — backing up its supposed benefits, and the dosage used to achieve said benefit (if any).
- 30mg per serving in New Mood. Benefits are observed with at least 1g Niacin (the recommended pharmaceutical dose). This would be equivalent to 33 New Mood pills.
Niacin supplementation is well-studied and has some intriguing benefits, including improving cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. The issue is that it would take a whole bottle of New Mood to reach the recommended pharmaceutical dose.
Under the standard pharmaceutical dose, Niacin:
- Increases HDL-C (strong effect) and decreases LDL-C and triglyceride levels (notable effect magnitude) in blood
- Increases fasting glucose and insulin concentrations (minor effect magnitude)
- Decreases risk for coronary heart disease, heart-attack, and stroke (minor)
- No robust evidence supplementation does anything. Uncontrolled, inconsistent, or observational studies only.
40mg per serving in New Mood (5–10 pills for standard dose)
A standard dose of 200–400mg has been found to:
- Reduce blood pressure (notable)
- reduce athsma symptoms (minor)
- aid pancreatic function, which leads to reduction of blood glucose (minor), reduction of fasting insulin over long-term supplementation in persons at-risk for diabetes (minor), and an increase in insulin sensitivity (minor).
They call it the “Onnit Tranquility Blend,” which is 450mg of four ingredients. They don’t tell you the dosage of each respective ingredient, presumably so they can mask how bad they are at meeting standard dosages. The assumption is these extracts are anxiolytic (anti-anxiety).
- Valerian root extract standard dose: 450mg. Meta-analysis suggests no significant effects even at this dose.
- Chamomile flower extract standard dose: 3–10 mg/kg of its active ingredient, apigenin, for anxiolytic effects. Chamomile is approximately 0.8–1.2% apigenin by weight. So in a 180lb. human 53,000 mg chamomile would get you to your happy place.
- Lemon Balm extract standard dose: 300+mg. No effects meeting the research standards I outlined.
- Jujube extract estimated effective dose (not enough human studies): 6,000mg for 180lb human, but no studies meet my criteria.
So 450mg of some unknown ratio of the above plant extracts, even if we knew what the ratio was, is unlikely to do much.
400mg per serving of New Mood
Standard dosages for desired effects are as follows:
- For insomnia — 1 to 2 grams (3–5 pills)
- For pain — 2 to 4 grams (5–10 pills)
- For depression — 3–6g — under physician supervision (6–15 pills)
- For OCD — 6g — under physician supervision (15 pills)
150mg per serving of New Mood
Like L-tryptophan, 5-HTP is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin. Great! Must be well-studied and have a conclusive, cognitive benefits in humans…
…except the only well-studied effect of 5-HTP supplementation is appetite reduction!
- appetite reduction 300–500mg (2 pills) — notable effect magnitude.
12mg per serving of New Mood. The standard dose is 14g for neurological effects (that’s a staggering 1,167 New Mood pills)
Inositol is well-studied. At the standard dose, it has been shown to reduce anxiety and panic attacks. But at a 14g dosage for neurological benefit, you’re going to be needing a different source than New Mood.
Note: If you happen to be a woman with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) you can improve your fertility with a dosage as little as 200mg (17 New Mood pills). There is also a long list of benefits with minor magnitudes of effect, but they have only been studied in women with PCOS.
The ingredient and dosage breakdown speaks for itself. Given, this is a supplement, so it is meant to compliment a normal diet. Additionally, standard dosages of these ingredients would be massively expensive. However, the claim that this supplement helps improve your mood or attenuates stress is dubious at best. Adding to the confusion, the amount of each ingredient has no rhyme or reason: for some ingredients the pill is 1/2 a standard therapeutic dose but for others it is 1/5th, 1/10th, 1/15th, 1/30th or even 1/1000th. Onnit’s New Mood is not only ineffective, but also unhelpful even if you decide to take multiple (expensive) servings.
Based on the research available now (2016), the effect you will likely experience from $60/month of daily supplementation with New Mood is less insomnia (if you have it) and some appetite reduction.
A company representative would probably mention that many of their clients take this supplement and feel calmer. Is a potential placebo effect worth $60/month? Would you drop that money based on rumor and speculation? I wouldn’t bother.
NOTE: I include the number of pills needed to reach a standard dose for each effect; this is to show how New Mood falls short of standard effective dosages from robust studies. Obviously you should not consume that many pills to reach your desired effect. Additionally, please consult your physician before adding any supplements to your diet.