Saffron Might Save Your Eyesight
Saffron can slow the progression of eye diseases like macular degeneration, which causes blindness.
Collected by hand from the deep red stamens of the saffron crocus, the saffron spice is worth up to $800 per pound depending on its quality.
Saffron is a spice that contains the antioxidant carotenoids crocin and crocetin among other ingredients, with strong antioxidative, cellular and neuro-protective properties. Crocin from saffron has antioxidant activity stronger than alpha-tocopherol, and can prevent the formation of peroxidized lipids, and can partly restore superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity.
The health benefits of saffron are shown to be due to these two carotenoids.
A recent clinical study has shown that taking oral supplementation of saffron (20 mg per day) for three months in patients with early stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or ARMD) induced a significant improvement of retinal function and visual acuity.
According to Professor Silvia Bisti who carried out the research in patients with age-related macular degeneration, “Patients’ vision improved after taking the saffron pill”. This has created a hope that saffron may be the natural answer to stop or delay vision loss from macular degeneration.
In the eye study, macular degeneration patients who ate a diet containing saffron began to experience cell recovery, which resulted in improved vision.
“Saffron appears to affect genes that regulate the fatty-acid content of the cell membrane, and this makes the vision cells tougher and more resilient,” said Professor Silvia Bisti, lead researcher of the study.
How much saffron is recommended? Can we get it in our diet or is supplementation necessary?
For the eye health benefits, one needs to take 20 mg of high quality saffron per day. Yes one can take similar amount of saffron spice that is added to the food or prepared as a tea.