Effects of saffron extract on mood, well-being, and response to a psychosocial stressor

This double-blind, randomized, parallel groups design assessed the efficacy of a saffron extract on emotional well-being in healthy adults (n = 56) with subclinical feelings of low mood and anxiety and/or stress, and evaluated the acute effect of saffron in response to a lab-based psychosocial stressor.

Subjects received either a 30 mg of saffron extract or a placebo for 8 weeks. Participants who received the saffron extract reported reduced depression scores and improved social relationships at the end of the study. Urinary crocetin levels increased significantly with saffron supplementation and were correlated with change in depression scores. The typical stress-induced decrease in heart rate variability (HRV) during exposure to the stressor was attenuated following acute saffron intake.

Saffron extract appears therefore to improve subclinical depressive symptoms in healthy adults and may contribute to increased resilience against the development of stress-related psychiatric disorders.

Jackson PA, Forster J, Khan J, Pouchieu C, Dubreuil S, Gaudout D, Moras B, Pourtau L, Joffre F, Vaysse C, Bertrand K, Abrous H, Vauzour D, Brossaud J, Corcuff JB, Capuron L, Kennedy DO. Effects of Saffron Extract Supplementation on Mood, Well-Being, and Response to a Psychosocial Stressor in Healthy Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Parallel Group, Clinical Trial. Front Nutr. 2021 Feb 1;7:606124.

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