A new study indicates that Pharmactive Biotech Products’ Affron saffron extract enhances the body’s natural production of the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin.

The study was published in Antioxidants.

Results of a previous clinical study showed that Pharmactive’s potent saffron extract significantly improves sleep quality, helps to support mood balance after awakenings, reduces sleep-onset latency, eases difficulties in falling asleep, and allows for more continuous and less-interrupted slumber,” says Alberto Espinel, open innovation and IP director, in a release. “The new study clarifies the mechanism for Affron’s positive effects on sleep, providing solid scientific support to the previous studies.”

The placebo-controlled animal study was designed to assess the effects of Affron on melatonin synthesis and the kynurenine pathway. Melatonin is a hormone that is synthesized in the pineal gland from tryptophan (only a very minor part of the available tryptophan is used for melatonin synthesis), which is first converted into serotonin—the so-called “feel-good” hormone—and finally into melatonin.

Tryptophan also can follow another pathway and be enzymatically transformed into several molecules on the kynurenine pathway. This unbalanced pathway is negatively involved in several biological processes. The results of the new study indicate that Affron inhibits the enzymes that allow this conversion from tryptophan to kynurenine metabolites, demonstrating the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of Affron, while promoting the synthesis of enzymes responsible for transforming tryptophan into melatonin, resulting in a significant improvement of plasma melatonin levels.

The study shows that Affron has an effect on sleep quality because it stimulates endogenous melatonin production. Furthermore, it was observed throughout this process that the consumption of Affron is safe and has no toxic effects on the body. The primary conclusion of the new in vivo study is that, with Affron, the body can more efficiently generate its own melatonin without the need for melatonin supplements.

“Better sleep is as much about good sleep as it is about duration of sleep,” says Espinel in the release. “Supported by previous studies on Affron’s ability to act as a natural sleeping agent, this latest study demonstrates that it is actively involved in aiding the body’s natural capacity to fall asleep and stay asleep.”

Saffron, the most expensive spice in the world, is derived from the stigmas of the Crocus sativus flower. Pharmactive’s saffron is grown and manufactured at its extraction plant in Madrid. Pharmactive works with selected saffron farmers, supporting local and sustainable agriculture to ensure that the stigmas of Crocus sativus used are high-quality, according to a release from the company. Affron is water-soluble and can be used in foods or supplements.

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