Quick Links: Cool-Tech ¦ Green Credentials ¦ What is affron ¦ How does it work? ¦ Why Choose ¦ Harvest ¦ Mental Health

Saffron flowers on field

affron® is effective for alleviating occasional stress, maintaining a healthy mood and avoiding occasional sleeplessness. affron® also supports normal cognitive health, overall mental wellness and contributes to relieve menopause symptoms. There are nine published clinical studies to support this and more studies are scheduled for publication .

Click here to view the study summary

September 2023: A new study indicates affron® was shown to have the ability to stimulate endogenous melatonin production in the body. This latest in vivo study on affron® and melatonin has yielded extremely promising results in the area of improving sleep and well-being. This study delved into the interaction between affron®, the premium saffron extract, and melatonin, the key hormone regulating our sleep-wake cycle. To request a copy of the study, please click the button below:

The main features of affron® are:

  • Maintains a positive mood
  • Improves how you feel during periods of occasional stress and tension
  • Improves sleep quality associated with occasional sleeplessness
  • Supportive for menopausal women

Now affron® is water soluble, which means that this versatile ingredient can now be used in an even greater variety of products, such as liquid applications.

AFF® ON Cool-Tech – The Technology Behind affron® Production

Saffron is among the most expensive botanicals in the world, literally worth more than its weight in gold. This is why adulteration of saffron extracts is common in the market. To guarantee best Quality, we control the whole process, from harvesting to delivery and endorse affron® with DNA certification. The saffron is cultivated in Pharmactive’s own fields in the Spanish Castilla-La-Mancha region, where Crocus sativus L. has been grown and nurtured for centuries.

Cool-Tech is a patented, low-temperature proprietary production process that creates highly concentrated affron® with long lasting actives and stability of at least 36 months. This technique achieves superior saffron quality with less industrial processing, less energy use and zero chemicals.

Green Credentials

For affron® production, no fertilizers or additives of any kind are used during the harvesting or manufacturing process, which is endorsed by the organic certification. The exclusive AFF®ON COOL-Tech process offers a significant advancement in sustainability, as the process uses less energy and therefore significantly reduces its carbon footprint.

This was witnessed first hand during a visit to Pharmactive in late 2022, by Biogredia’s own Bengt Hansson and Nic White, whilst they were attending the Pharmactive summit meeting.

Affron® - A High-Quality Ingredient for Cognitive Health Products

What is affron®?

affron® is a premium saffron ingredient standardized to 3.5 % Lepticrosalides®, by HPLC – a complex of bioactive compounds responsible for the beneficial and organoleptic properties of affron®. Its extraction process (AFF ON Cool-Tech®) and therapeutic application are internationally patented, getting the highest quality and bioactives preservation at the lowest energy consumption and without the use of ethanol.

How does affron® work?

The active ingredients in affron® – crocins and safranal – improve cognitive status and promote restorative sleep by multiple mechanisms of action:

  • Restoring neurotransmitters – mostly serotonin, norephinephrine and dopamine – balance in the brain, as selective reuptake inhibitors.
  • Showing anti-inflammatory, immune-regulating, and antioxidant properties – including the modulation of antioxidant enzymes.
  • Finally, it supports neuron health due to the positive effects on neurotrophins – such as BDNF, a group of proteins involved in the survival, development and general function of neurons (7 and 8).
Affron® - A High-Quality Ingredient for Cognitive Health Products

Why choose affron®?

affron® is the best clinically supported saffron ingredient on the market, with seven clinical trials focusing on mental health (in 6 of them, affron® was the only active ingredient), two clinical trials on sleep quality, 4 on mood and anxiety symptoms improvement (one of them is the unique dose-response study in a branded saffron extract). affron® is the first saffron extract to be clinially studied in adolescents, with excellent results in the reduction of anger and mood improvemnt. In total, +900 participants where included in the studies. It also counts with a pharmacokinetics study, which proved its biovaliability.

Through the clinical studies, the ingredient has been proven to work for people suffering from various mental health conditions and to be well-tolerated.

Key Benefits:

  • Improves mood
  • Relieves stress
  • Supports relaxation
  • Improves sleep quality

These benefits have been recognized by the authorities from Japan and Canada, which approved claims for products containing affron®.

Click to watch the Pharmactive YouTube on affron®

affron® is water-soluble and readily applicable to food formats or supplements. It is kosher and halal certified, non-GMO, non-irradiated, doping-free certified.

For all above, affron® has been awarded six times and recently recognized as the best saffron-based ingredient for Cognitive health by the prestigious consultancy Frost & Sullivan. The award recognises the value-added features/benefits of the product and the increased return on investment it gives both brands & their customers.

Read the Frost and Sullivan report

Download the Sleep and Sport whitepaper

The Saffron Harvest

The history of saffron use goes back almost three millennia, being mentioned by authors like Solomon and Homer. Our supplier, Pharmactive, owns saffron fields in the exceptional Castilla-La-Mancha region, in Spain, where Crocus sativus L. has been grown and nurtured for centuries. Pharmactive collaborates with selected saffron farmers, supporting local and sustainable agriculture. Their craft has been part of their cultural heritage for centuries, consisting traditional methods that provide unique features to the final product. The complete evolution of Saffron to affron®, from field to finished ingredient, happens in Spain.

The Decline of Mental Health during Covid-19

Cognitive decline impacts millions of people worldwide, and is often linked to individuals who have suffered from anxiety and depression (1). This is the key reason for why cognitive issues, and specifically Age-Related Cognitive Decline, are now among the primary health concerns for the European Union (2). Ever since the worldwide outbreak of Covid-19, we have witnessed how anxiety, stress and depression have spread through previously healthy parts of the population. The impact on mental health has been high, with research showing that even sleep quality has been compromised during the pandemic (3 + 4). Unfortunately, all market trends predict that Covid-19 has made a significant and long-term negative impact on our mental health (5).

Why Pharmactive is a Preferred Partner of Biogredia

All Pharmactive ingredients are submitted to rigorous testing and quality controls an all stages of development; from crops and all the way up to the final product. Their laboratories perform strict traceability and quality control, something which has earned them numerous quality certificates.

affron® is a high-quality ingredient which is hand-picked by Biogredia. We believe that this ingredient will help you create a new and exciting product for cognitive health that your customers can trust and benefit from in years to come. Do you want to learn more? Feel free to contact Bengt for more relevant research and information.

Please get in touch if you want more information or have questions about our ingredients.

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  1.  Clark DA, Beck AT. Cognitive theory and therapy of anxiety and depression: convergence with neurobiological findings. Trends Cogn Sci. 2010; 14: 418-424. http://deci-europe.eu/deciproject/deci/about-mci-dementia/
  2. https://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT%2BTA%2BP6-TA-2009-0063%2B0%2BDOC%2BXML%2BV0//EN  
  3. Gloster AT, Lamnisos D, Lubenko J et al. Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on mental health: An international study. PLoS One. 2020; 15(12): e0244809.
  4. Murata S, Rezeppa T, Thoma B et al. The psychiatric sequelae of the COVID-19 pandemic in adolescents, adults, and health care workers. Depress Anxiety. 2020. doi: 10.1002/da.23120. Online ahead of print.
  5. Kocevska D, Blanken TF, Van Someren EJW, Rösler L. Sleep quality during the COVID-19 pandemic: not one size fits all. Sleep Med. 2020; 76: 86-88.
  6. MINTEL Report. COVID-19: The Longer-term Implications for European Consumers. 2020.
  7. Marx W, Lane M, Rocks T, Ruusunen A, Loughman A, Lopresti A, Marshall S, Berk M, Jacka F, Dean OM. Effect of saffron supplementation on symptoms of depression and anxiety: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutr Rev. 2019. 77:557-571.
  8. Moratalla-López N, Bagur MJ, Lorenzo C, Martínez-Navarro ME, Salinas MR, Alonso GL. Bioactivity and Bioavailability of the Major Metabolites of Crocus sativus L. Flower. Molecules. 2019; 24: 2827.
  9. Lopresti AL, Smith S, Hood S, Drummond PD. Efficacy of a standardised saffron extract (Affron®) as an add-on to antidepressant medication for the treatment of persistent depressive symptoms in adults: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. J Psychopharm. 2019; 33:1415-1427
  10. Ladan Kashani et al, Efficacy of Crocus sativus (saffron) in treatment ofmajor depressive disorder associated with post-menopausal hot flashes: a double-blind,randomized, placebo-controlled trial – Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Volume 297, pages 717-724, (2018)
  11. Chae-Young Kim et al Effects of Saffron Extract (Affron®) with 100 mg/kg and 200 mg/kg on Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis and Stress Resilience in Chronic Mild Stress-Induced Depression in Wistar Rats – Nutrients 2023, 15, 4855. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15234855