Red clover for depression and anxiety in older women.
Article Type: Report
Subject: Depression, Mental (Care and treatment)
Isoflavones (Psychological aspects)
Clover (Psychological aspects)
Clover (Usage)
Aged women (Psychological aspects)
Aged women (Care and treatment)
Anxiety (Care and treatment)
Author: Finney-Brown, Tessa
Pub Date: 06/22/2010
Publication: Name: Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism Publisher: National Herbalists Association of Australia Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 National Herbalists Association of Australia ISSN: 1033-8330
Issue: Date: Summer, 2010 Source Volume: 22 Source Issue: 2
Geographic: Geographic Scope: Australia Geographic Code: 8AUST Australia
Accession Number: 232178434
Full Text: Lipovac M, Chedraui P et al. Improvement of postmenopausal depressive and anxiety symptoms after treatment with isoflavones derived from red clover extracts. Maturitas 65:3;258-61

This study from Austria aimed to evaluate the effect of isoflavones derived from red clover (Trifolium pratense) extracts (MF11RCE) over anxiety and depressive symptoms among postmenopausal women. The study used a preparation containing isoflavones in their aglycone form and specifically the compounds biochanin A, formononetin, genistein and daidzein.

One hundred and nine postmenopausal women aged over 40 were randomly assigned to receive two daily capsules of MF11RCE (80 mg red clover isoflavones) or placebo for 90 days. After a washout period of 7 days, medication was crossed over and taken for 90 days more. Anxiety and depressive symptoms were measured at baseline, 90 and 187 days with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and Zung's Self Rating Depression Scale (SDS).

After receiving the MF11RCE compound the total HADS (anxiety and depression subscale scores also) and the total SDS scores decreased significantly. This effect was equivalent to a 77% reduction in the total HADS score (76% for anxiety and 78% for depression) and an 80% reduction in the total SDS score. After taking the placebo, the total HADS (anxiety and depression subscale also) and total SDS scores also decreased significantly in comparison to baseline but only equivalent to an average of 22% decline. The authors commented that although clinical data regarding phytoestrogens and mood disorders is still scarce, the present series determined that red clover derived isoflavones were effective in reducing depressive and anxiety symptoms among postmenopausal women. Commenting further on the potential mechanism, the researchers proposed a role for isoflavones in the protection against neuron damage by inhibiting inflammatory pathways. "Equally red clover isoflavones protected human cortical neurons against glutamate toxicity and oxidative stress, which could have been the result of their antioxidant and estrogenic actions," they added.

Tessa Finney-Brown mnhaa
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