Saffron and Tryptophan for Mood

Embrace the Moment

The holidays aren’t necessarily the happiest of times for everyone. Everyday issues with mood and stress can be greatly exacerbated by the pressures of holiday preparations. It’s simply too easy to fall into the trap of trying to make everything so perfect that we forget to pause long enough to enjoy the moment.

The end of the year just may be the most important time for you to pay attention to how you are supporting a healthy mood, as well as concern for your overall health. In these studies, saffron and tryptophan showed promise when it came to mood.

Saffron reduced depression in perimenopause

As women approach menopause—perimenopause—physical symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, and sleep disturbances can occur. Cognitive performance and mood factors such as depression and anxiety are also common. In this study, 82 perimenopausal women, aged 40 to 60, took a placebo or 14 mg of saffron extract twice per day. Doctors measured symptoms at the start and end of the 12-week trial.

Those who took saffron saw greater improvements in mood and psychological symptoms compared to the placebo group and, compared to the start of the study, saffron takers saw a 33 percent decrease in anxiety, and a 32 percent decrease in depression scores. There were no changes in either group for any of the physical symptoms.

Reference: Journal of Menopausal Medicine; 2021, Vol. 27, e8, Published Online

Saffron for Depression

Earlier studies found saffron improved symptoms in post-partum depression, but research combining saffron with antidepressant therapy to treat general depression is limited.

In this study, 139 physically healthy people with persistent depression continued taking standard antidepressants plus a placebo, or 14 mg of saffron extract, twice per day. After eight weeks, while the two groups self-reported similar improvements in symptoms, symptoms measured by clinicians on the Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale declined by 21 percent for placebo and by 41 percent for saffron. Doctors noted other improvements for saffron including better sleep quality, initiative, motivation, interest, and taking pleasure in activities.

Reference: Journal of Psychopharmacology; September, 2019, Published Online

Tryptophan reduced anxiety, improved mood, sleep quality

In this review of 11 random controlled clinical trials on anxiety and mood, participants took a placebo or doses ranging from 140 to 3,000 mg of tryptophan per day.

Overall, those taking tryptophan reported decreases in anxiety and increases in positive mood. In four of the studies, there were significant decreases in negative feelings and increases in happy feelings for those taking tryptophan compared to placebo.

In a separate study, tryptophan reduced the amount of time awake after falling asleep, with those taking more than 1 gram falling back asleep after 29 minutes compared to 57 minutes for those taking doses less than 1 gram of tryptophan.

Tryptophan reduced anxiety, improved mood Reference: Journal of Dietary Supplements, 2021, Vol. 18, No. 3, Published Online

Tryptophan improved sleep quality Reference: Nutrition Reviews, 2021, nuab027, Published Online

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BetsyHealth Note: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your healthcare provider before trying a supplement, especially if you have a medical condition, including being pregnant or nursing, take prescription or over-the-counter medications, or are planning on having surgery.

Article copyright 2021 by Natural Insights for Well Being. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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