SaffroLean cannot claim to be a treatment for clinical depression because it is a natural supplement and considered to be in the food category, but there are several respected studies that have pointed to some impressive results related to saffron and mood improvement.
The benefits of taking a saffron supplement extend beyond weight loss. Saffron is also a very effective mood enhancer. In traditional Persian medicine, saffron has been used to treat melancholia for centuries. Recent medical studies have confirmed this usage and prompted more research into the mood benefits of saffron.
According to a study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology in 2005, a saffron supplement was as effective at treating mild to moderate depression as fluoxetine (Prozac™). In a six-week study, 38 people aging from 18 to 55 who were suffering from mild to moderate depression were given either a saffron supplement or a dose of fluoxetine once per day. Using the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, participants rated their depression symptoms throughout the six weeks.
At the conclusion of the study, both the saffron supplement and fluoxetine had significantly improved the participants’ symptoms of depression. There was no difference in the effectiveness between the two treatments besides that those taking the saffron extract experienced fewer side effects than those taking fluoxetine.
In 2006, a study done at the Arak University of Medical Science had similar findings. A double-blind study was done with 40 participants experiencing mild to moderate depression. Participants were either given a supplement made from the petal of the saffron crocus or fluoxetine over an eight week period. Throughout the study participants rated their symptoms of depression using the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression. When the study was completed, they found that both groups experienced a similar decrease in depression symptoms.
These studies have led to further research, such as a study in 2008 done by Shahin Akhondzadeh, Ph.D. and his colleagues that explored the effect of saffron upon premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Through two menstrual cycles, 50 women were given either a saffron supplement or placebo. They kept track of their symptoms in dairies during the study. At the conclusion, more than three quarters of the women in the saffron group reported a significant decline in PMS symptoms such as depression and mood swings.
While the medical community still needs to do larger studies before saffron can be prescribed as an alternative to other medications, these studies confirm saffron’s effectiveness as a mood enhancer. The organic compounds crocin and safranal are believed to be the active components in saffron that work to promote mood elevation. These compounds increase levels of serotonin, a chemical in the brain that affects mood. Low serotonin levels are what can cause you to feel anxious, depressed or suffer from obsessive-compulsion. Higher levels of serotonin help to decrease these symptoms. Through these studies it has been confirmed that saffron will affectively raise your serotonin levels, improving your mood.