Did you know it’s National Mental Health Awareness Month? In recognition, we wanted to highlight saffron, an herb that’s quickly growing in popularity for mental and emotional support.*
We invited Alberto Espinel, PhD, to join us in a Q&A on saffron. Dr. Espinel is Head of R&D at Pharmactive, the makers of the most clinically studied, trusted saffron raw material, Affron® saffron.
Q: How does Affron® saffron from Pharmactive compare to other saffron products on the market?
A: Here are the key differentiation points:
- Most clinically studied branded saffron ingredient worldwide: seven human clinical studies 1–6 and unique pharmacokinetics study.7
- Trusted source of the raw material: Affron saffron is homegrown in our private fields in Spain. Our company oversees the entire supply channel. We work closely with our farmers and have set in place a robust quality control system.
- Guaranteed high quantity and stability of bioactive compounds: Affron is standardized, by HPLC to contain >3.5% Lepticrosalides®: the unique combination and synergic effect of crocins, crocetins, safranal and picrocrocins, the bioactive compounds responsible for its cognitive effects.*
- Natural and patented extraction process: Affron is manufactured using a unique patented AFF ON Cool-Tech® actives-saver extraction procedure. This optimizes the preservation and concentration of the key active ingredients, with minimal industrial processing, no chemicals, and low energy use (100% water extraction).
- Low suggested usage: Just 28 mg per day provides powerful mood and relaxation support.*
- Most awarded saffron extract ingredient worldwide: Affron received six international awards (NutraIngredients, NIE, Frost & Sullivan, and Fi Awards).
Q: Affron saffron has one of the lowest suggested usages on the market (28 mg/day) – could you speak to this?
A: Affron exhibits one of the lowest suggested usage thresholds for saffron extracts on the market – just 28 mg per day – with proven bioavailability and rapid one-hour absorption as tested in the pharmacokinetics study.* Additionally, Affron is the only branded saffron extract with a dose-response clinical study, where 28 mg is established as the minimum daily amount.1
Q: How does Crocus sativus L. compare to other forms of saffron?
A: There are 85 known species of saffron in the world, but Crocus sativus L. stands out for its physical and biochemical properties.8 This plant has a long culinary, cosmetic (as a fragrance) dye, and health use history of promoting wellbeing in multiple ways, including cardiovascular, healthy aging, mood balancing, menstruation relief, and eye health, amongst others.*9
Albreto Espinel, PhD. Biologist
Dr. Alberto Espinel was born and raised in Madrid. His professional career comprises more than two decades in academic and industrial positions in several well-reputed and competitive companies in the fields of feed, food, and nutraceuticals production. He directed a probiotic production plant and was appointed as Director of Research and Senior Strategic Manager at Calidad Pascual for 10 years before joining Pharmactive Biotech Products as Head of R&D.
(1) Kell, G., Rao, A., Beccaria, G., et al. (2017). affron® a novel saffron extract (Crocus sativus L.) improves mood in healthy adults over 4 weeks in a double-blind, parallel, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Complementary therapies in medicine, 33, 58–64. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2017.06.001
(2) Lopresti, A. L., Smith, S. J., Hood, S. D., et al. (2019). Journal of psychopharmacology (Oxford, England), 33(11), 1415–1427. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269881119867703
(3) Lopresti, A. L., & Drummond, P. D. (2017). Journal of affective disorders, 207, 188–196. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2016.09.047
(4) Lopresti, A. L., Drummond, P. D., Inarejos-García, A. M., et al. (2018). Journal of affective disorders, 232, 349–357. https://doi.org/10.1016/j. jad.2018.02.070
(5) Nishide, A., Fujita, T., Nagaregawa, Y., et al. (2018). Sleep enhancement by saffron extract in randomized control trial. Japanese Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 46(8), 1407-1415.
(6) Lopresti, A. L., Smith, S. J., Metse, A. P., et al. (2020). Effects of saffron on sleep quality in healthy adults with self-reported poor sleep: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Journal of clinical sleep medicine : JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 16(6), 937–947. https:// doi.org/10.5664/jcsm.8376
(7) Almodóvar, P., Briskey, D., Rao, A., et al. (2020). Bioaccessibility and Pharmacokinetics of a Commercial Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) Extract. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2020. https:// doi.org/10.1155/2020/1575730
(8) Hagh Nazari, S., & Keifi, N. (2007). Saffron and various fraud manners in its production and trades. Acta Horticulturae , 739, 411–416.
(9) Handbook of herbs and spices (2 ed., Vol. 1, p. 469–498). (2012). Philadelphia, PA: Woodhead Publishing Series in Food Science, Technology and Nutrition.