by Dan Roberts
February 8, 2010
Clinical trials in Italy and Australia have shown that the spice, saffron, can improve vision in people with AMD.
The trial was conducted Policlinico Gemelli in Italy by Professor Benedetto Falsini. It was double blind and randomly controlled, involving 25 subjects over six months. Half the group was given a saffron pill for the first three months followed by a placebo the second three months. The other half of the group followed the same protocol in reverse. All subjects in the first group experienced up to 2 lines of improvement in their vision while taking saffron pill, but the effect quickly disappeared when the dose was discontinued. Researchers theorize that the improvement is a result of the anti-apoptotic properties of the spice. A 12-month dose-escalation trial is now underway at the Catholic University of Rome and the University of L’Aquila.
According to Richard Trevino, O.D., in a recent message to MDList, “It seems the research focused on improvements in vision function, rather than actual morphologic retinal improvements (eg OCT changes). This is similar to the research on lutein – it may improve the vision function of surviving cells but does not roll-back the damage that is already present.
“I have read, continued Dr. Trevino, “that the healing benefits of saffron are attributed to crocin, a carotenoid. So, rather than look for saffron pills, you may want to look for a crocin supplement, or just get more saffron in your diet.”