Madrid, Spain—A new study has linked a branded saffron extract, affron, with an improvement in psychological symptoms of menopause.
A press release from Pharmactive, makers of affron, explains that perimenopause includes symptoms ranging from hot flashes to changes in cognitive function, performance, and mood.
This study, published in the Journal of Menopausal Medicine, was a two-arm, parallel-group, 12-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. 82 perimenopausal women received either a placebo or 14mg of affron twice daily for 12 weeks.
Compared to the placebo group, the women who took saffron saw a 33% reduction in anxiety and a 32% reduction in depression scores at week 12. It was well tolerated with no reported major adverse events.
Saffron was not associated with greater improvements in vasomotor symptoms, somatic symptoms, or other quality of life measures.
The researchers suggested further studies using different doses of saffron for women presenting with varying severity of menopausal symptoms.
“This is the first study of affron examining menopause symptoms in average perimenopausal women,” explained Alberto Espinel, Manager of Strategic R&D in Active and Functional Natural Ingredients for Pharmactive, in a press release. “It opens a new health category in our offering of evidence-based personalized nutrition targeting specific demographics.”
The press release notes that saffron is believed to work via a number of mechanisms—it has been demonstrated to influence neurotransmitter activity, mitigate inflammation, regulate hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity, reduce oxidative stress, boost mitochondrial activity, and improve neuroplasticity.
Importantly, the press release states, affron does not contain estrogenic compounds. “These benefits have not been recognized in herbal extracts focused on the balance of estrogens as alternative hormonal therapy replacement,” Espinel said. “This means that in comparison to other botanical extracts that target menopause symptoms, affron doesn’t have undesirable estrogenic effects. This is a key advantage for perimenopausal women seeking natural solutions.”