Saffron extract may help reduce symptoms of perimenopause, says recent study

A recent study found that supplementation with a branded saffron extract helped reduce menopausal symptoms in women going through perimenopause.

A recent study published in the Journal of Menopausal Medicine1 found that supplementation with a branded saffron extract (affron from Pharmactive Biotech; Madrid, Spain) helped reduce menopausal symptoms in women going through perimenopause. In the parallel-group, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, 86 subjects were given either 14 mg of the saffron extract or placebo, twice daily for 12 weeks.

Outcome measures included the Greene Climacteric Scale (GCS), Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS), and Short Form-36 Health Survey (SF-36). The primary outcome, GCS, is a self-report measure designed to assess physical and psychological symptoms associated with the transition into menopause. Assessed at baseline, week four, week eight, and week 12, results showed both the saffron and placebo groups experienced a significant reduction in the GCS total score over time. At week 12, subjects taking saffron saw a 32% reduction in the total GCS score, while the placebo group saw a 14% reduction. An independent-samples t test revealed that the different between the two groups was statistically significant.

GCS subscales scores showed significant improvements in psychological scores, with a 33% reduction in the anxiety scores and 32% reduction in depression scores after 12 weeks. PANAS scores, measuring positive and negative affect, showed that subjects taking the saffron extract, compared to placebo, had significant reductions in PANAS negative scores, and significant increases in positive scores. SF-36 subscale scores measuring quality of life showed that subjects taking saffron has significant improvements in emotional problems, energy/fatigue, and emotional well-being.

“This is the first study of affron examining menopause symptoms in average perimenopausal women,” said 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.”

Reference

  1. Lopresti AL et al. “The effects of a saffron extract (affron®) on menopausal symptoms in women during perimenopause: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.” Journal of Menopausal Medicine, Published online ahead of print on June 2, 2021