Document Type : Research articles


1 Nutrition Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

2 Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine, Zanjan University of Medical Sciences, Zanjan, Iran

4 Road Traffic Injury Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran


Background: Depression and sexual problems are common in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) and can influence their quality of life.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of saffron and its main constituent, crocin, in improving mental and sexual health and ultimately quality of life in CAD patients.
Methods: This double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial was carried out during 8 weeks in 3 groups, including 1 placebo and 2 intervention groups. The study sample included 58 CAD patients within the age range of 40 - 65 years, referred to Shahid Madani cardiovascular hospital, Tabriz, Iran, from April 2015 to November 2016. The intervention groups received saffron aqueous extract (SAE; 30 mg; n, 20) or crocin (30 mg; n, 19). All the groups completed the demographic questionnaire, Beck depression inventory-II (BDI-II), Hulbert index of sexual desire (HISD), and MacNew health-related quality of life questionnaire.
Results: The BDI-II score significantly decreased in the SAE (pre- and post test scores, 26.10 ± 11.98 and 21.05 ± 9.93, respectively) and crocin (pre- and post test scores, 27.89 ± 8.46 and 22.68 ± 8.01, respectively) groups (P < 0.001). After adjustments for age, sex, and diagnosis time, similar results were obtained. There was no significant difference between the crocin and SAE groups in terms of total BDI-II score at the end of the study (P = 0.999). SAE and crocin had no significant effects on HISD scores (P = 0.148 and 0.317, respectively). However, they could significantly improve the total quality of life and its subscales (P < 0.001).
Conclusions: SAE and crocin could improve depression and health-related quality of life in patients with CAD, whereas they had no significant effects on sexual desire.