Saffron can enhance performance in athletes

Supplementing with saffron (Crocus sativus) can boost athletic performance and recovery, according to a study published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements. The study looked at the potential enhancing effect of saffron on physical performance, stamina, and recovery.

  • Saffron is rich in carotenoids and has many health benefits.
  • For the study, researchers at the University of Mohaghegh Ardabili in Iran recruited 28 nonactive and healthy male university students.
  • They split up the participants into two groups: a treatment group and a control group.
  • The treatment group received 300 mg of dried saffron stigma every day for 10 days, while the control group received a placebo.
  • The researchers measured the participants’ familiarization with the tests, anthropometric parameters, visual and audio reaction times, and the maximum isometric and isotonic forces on a leg press machine one day before and after the intervention period.
  • Muscular strength, pulmonary function, and reaction time are important to athletic performance.
  • The study revealed that 10 days of taking saffron supplements significantly increased the isometric and the isotonic forces of the participants.
  • It also caused faster visual and audio reaction times.
  • Saffron supplementation also potentially contributed to the improvement of muscle blood perfusion and facilitation in oxygen transport.

These findings of the study suggest that 10 days of supplementation with saffron significantly improved athletic performance.

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Journal Reference:

Meamarbashi A, Rajabi B. Potential Ergogenic Effects of Saffron. Journal of Dietary Supplements. 25 January 2016; 13 (5): 522-529. DOI: 10.3109/19390211.2015.1120259

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