Although previous research demonstrated the pure, clean-label saffron ingredient can help promote better sleep and boost recovery for athletes, results of a new clinical study in Australia revealed that affron supplementation in recreationally active males was associated with increases in self-reported exercise enjoyment and positive Heart Rate Variability (HRV).
The six-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial included healthy, nonprofessional participants, aged 18 to 65 years, who performed moderate-to-intense aerobic exercise more than three times per week. Activities included such exercises as cycling, running, swimming, tennis, aerobics, and/or boxing. Study subjects were chosen using strict exclusion criteria. 62 volunteers participated in the study, and 59 completed it. Each subject took 14 mg of affron, two times per day.
The researchers provided participants with a standard sports wearable to measure HRV, allowing the subjects to engage with their watch and see results daily and in real-time. At the end of the trial, the male participants taking affron demonstrated statistically significant changes compared to the placebo group in heart rate variability (HRV), measured during bedtime. The HRV is an indicator of recovery as previously revealed in studies on adults with occasional stress and/or burnout, who exhibit decreased HRV.
“We decided to use a sports watch in the study model during sleep-time as it offers a very easy-to-use means of measuring heart rate. Using the sports watch, consumers can see for themselves the impact of affron in real-time and in the long term,” notes Raymond. To measure how much the volunteers enjoyed their workouts, the research team employed the Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale (PAES). Results revealed a statistically significant increase in PAES score over time in the affron group, with no such increase in the placebo group. This suggests an improvement in enjoyment and mood with a daily intake of affron.
“Affron’s positive effect on heart rate and workout enjoyment could be attributed to various physiological mechanisms at play,” adds Alberto Espinel, Head of Strategic R&D in Active and Functional Natural Ingredients for Pharmactive. “Previous animal studies have endorsed it role in reducing stress hormones such as cortisol while raising the “happy hormones” serotonin and dopamine. The botanical also demonstrated a relaxant effect on smooth muscles and blood vessels. Studies suggest it may even positively interact with the gut flora, which affects the nervous system. Moreover, saffron is touted as a potent anti-oxidant anti-inflammatory.”
Pharmactive’s aﬀron is naturally extracted from saffron with full control by the company from farm to shelf. It is water-soluble and versatile across multiple applications, including supplements, powders, and shots. The recommended amount of affron is 28 mg per day, either enjoyed in a single dose or split into two 14 mg doses per day.