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04.01.2011


Crocetin energy booster improves sleep quality too

Supplements that boost energy are all very well, but most are of limited use because of their disastrous effects on sleep quality. Stimulants give a little bit of a boost at best, but sleep is essential. The stimulatory substance crocetin, a carotenoid found in Gardenia jasminoides [structural formula shown below], is unusual in not having this negative side effect. According to a Japanese study, crocetin actually improves quality of sleep. A little.


Crocetin energy booster improves sleep quality too


Crocetin energy booster improves sleep quality too
Supplements containing crocetin are already on the market in Japan. [rakuten.com] They contain alcohol extracts of the fruits of Gardenia jasminoides. Riken is the manufacturer, but is unlikely to be the only one.

Apart from relieving fatigue, crocetin has other interesting effects. Animal and cell studies show that the compound improves memory [Behav Brain Res. 2007 Nov 2; 183(2): 141-6.] [Behav Brain Res. 2006 Oct 2; 173(1): 112-5.], reduces the formation of plaques in the brain and inhibits the formation of cancer cells. Japanese researchers who were looking at whether crocetin helps tired eyes [yes it does] reported in 2007 that subjects who took crocetin also slept better. [Jpn. J. Vis. Sci. 2007 28 7784.] The results of this study were what prompted the research that this article is about.

In September 2010 researchers at Kansai University and at Riken published the results of a human study in which they had given 17 young men with mild sleeping problems a capsule containing 7.5 mg crocetin every day for two weeks. The men took a placebo for a similar period too.

When the researchers monitored the men's sleeping behaviour in a clinic they observed that crocetin reduced the number of times that the men woke.


Crocetin energy booster improves sleep quality too


Crocetin energy booster improves sleep quality too


Their findings are not a complete surprise. Animal studies have shown that crocetin or rather the sugared version, crocin, the structural formula of which is shown here above reduces anxiety. [Phytomedicine. 2008 Dec; 15(12): 1135-9.] Anxiety reducing substances usually improve sleep quality. What's more, traditional healers have been using Gardenia jasminoides extracts for centuries as a sedative.

Source:
Phytomedicine. 2010 Sep; 17(11): 840-3.

More:
Crocetin: the energy booster from gardenia 02.01.2011