Onnit Labs evaluates New Mood effects on college student stress

By Asia Sherman

- Last updated on GMT

© kali9 / Getty Images
© kali9 / Getty Images

Related tags: mood support, stress management, 5-HTP, valerian root, Dietary supplements

Health and wellness company Onnit has added a new study to its growing portfolio of clinical trials to validate the benefits of the “total human optimization” brand’s range of multi-ingredient supplements.

The latest research, published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements​, assesses the effects of the company’s New Mood serotonin booster in regulating mood and reducing daily stress. College students were chosen as test group because of shared stressors like academic performance, pressure to succeed and post-graduation plans.

“The multi-ingredient supplement including lemon balm, 5-HTP, L-Tryptophan and valerian root may aid in mitigating the physiologic stress response in a healthy collegiate population during times of stress,”​ the authors of the study concluded.

Study results noted improvements in physiological stress following New Mood supplementation but could not differentiate effects on psychological outcomes.

Study details

To assess the effects of New Mood on well-being, researchers at the University of Idaho, funded by an Onnit grant, conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial on 56 male and female college students between the ages of 18 and 22.

After a baseline assessment and placebo lead in, the study randomized the prescreened participants into two groups. A first group received the multi-ingredient supplement – two capsules in the morning and two capsules at night – while the other continued taking the rice bran and maltodextrin placebo.

The trial monitored several physiological and psychological outcomes over an eight-week test period. Resting heart rate, blood pressure and salivary cortisol awakening response (CAR) were measured at weeks 2, 5 and 8, while depression, anxiety, stress, and affect were assessed weekly.

Outcomes

Researchers recorded significant negative linear change in CAR, depression, stress and affect throughout the study in the multi-ingredient supplement and control groups, but only CAR differed by group.

“Despite heart rate and blood pressure showing no improvement throughout the study, for both groups, there were significant improvements in physiological stress (CAR) that occurred within the acute period, within 3 weeks of taking the supplement,”​ the study stated.

Improvements recorded on self-reported psychological measures in the control group were attributed to a placebo effect of supplementation, leading the study to lean on cortisol release as an indicator of physiological stress.

The continued decline in CAR over the test period suggested potential improvement of physiological stress even after six weeks of supplementation, “especially important given that heightened CAR is associated with increased likelihood of developing depression one year later.”

What’s more, the timing of the study coincided with midterm exams, when researchers observed that New Mood contributed to a substantial decline in physiological stress.

“During week 5 of the study (around midterm exams, a particularly stressful time for college students), students taking the supplementation experienced a 57% decrease whereas [the placebo group] had a 35% increase in physiological stress,”​ the authors stated.

They also acknowledged that findings are only applicable to the herbal ingredients in combination, but as such, are useful since many stress and anxiety products on the market are multi-ingredient.

Adding to the portfolio

Onnit explains that by testing its “formulas through rigorous clinical trial analysis with top academic institutions”​ it seeks to ensure that “formulas represent the pinnacle of human optimization”. 

A study conducted at the Boston Center for Memory of the company’s flagship Alpha Brain nootropic determined that supplementation for six weeks significantly improved recent verbal memory. Additional trials also provided scientific backing for Onnit’s pre-workout Shroom Tech Sport and Total Strength + Performance formulas, both tested on male students at Florida State University.

In August last year, Unilever announced that it would be acquiring Onnit and adding it to its growing portfolio of wellness and supplement brands.

Source: Journal of Dietary Supplements
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1080/19390211.2022.2077880
“Effect of a Multi-Ingredient Supplement Designed to Regulate Mood on Physiological and Psychological Outcomes: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial”
Authors: A.F. Brown, et al.

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