Recent research indicates saffron may improve symptoms of depression in adults with serious depressive disorders.
In another study, research has found low folate intake may increase the risk of memory loss or dementia. Results of both studies were reported recently in The Natural Standard.
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Saffron is the dried stigma of the crocus flower, known as Crocus Sativus. Saffron may possess anti-cancer, anti-depressant, nerve protective, and antioxidant properties. It also can impact your immune system. Researchers have studied saffron to examine its ability to reduce symptoms of asthma, Alzheimer’s, infertility, psoriasis and menstrual problems.
In the recent study, a comprehensive search was conducted for well-designed clinical trials that evaluated the effects of saffron on depression symptoms in those with major depressive disorders. In the end, five studies were identified for inclusion in the recent study.
Research indicated that saffron dramatically decreased depression symptoms, compared to placebo. In addition, saffron was effective in reducing symptoms when compared to anti-depressant drugs and their results.
Study authors determined saffron can decrease symptoms of depression, but that larger and more long-term studies should be performed before any reliable conclusions can be reached.
The Natural Standard also reported that a recent study has found that people with low folate intake may face a heightened risk of developing memory loss or dementia as they get older.
Folate, and folic acid, are each forms of a water-soluble B vitamin. Folate occurs in food naturally, while folic acid is the synthetic form of vitamin B.
Folic acid is best tolerated in amounts typically found in supplements and fortified foods. Folic acid supplements have been found to increase folate levels in blood and reduce symptoms that come with low folate levels.
Both Dementia and Alzheimer’s have been connected to low folate levels, and high homocysteine levels. Folate and other B vitamins, including folate, are being studied in relation to preventing dementia. Results have been mixed.
In the new study, the Standard reported that researchers reviewed data on 7,030 postmenopausal women – women who did not suffer from memory loss or dementia at the study’s outset.
Data regarding B vitamin intake was collected via questionnaires from 1993 to 1998.
Throughout the average five-year follow-up period, researchers said they found 238 memory loss cases and 69 cases of dementia. Researchers discovered that women who took folate at levels below the daily allowance recommended at the beginning of the study had a greater risk of developing dementia or memory loss. No link was found between vitamin B-6 or B-12 and memory loss, or the risk of dementia.
Researchers said low folate intake may hike the risk for dementia or memory loss later in life. They also reported more research is necessary.