Studies Show Saffron Spice May Help Prevent Vision Loss or Even Reverse Vision Loss in Patients Suffering from AMD

May 18, 2009

A recent press release from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Vision Science (The Vision Centre) indicates that research by Silvia Bisti, professor at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Vision Science (The Vision Centre), University of L’Aquila, Italy, has shown that saffron (a high-priced golden culinary herb made from crocus flowers) not only protects vision cells from damage, but may also act to slow and possibly even reverse vision loss caused by age-related macular degeneration (AMD), retinitis pigmentosa and other diseases causing blindness.

A clinical trial with patients suffering AMD in Rome has yielded early indications that treatment with a dietary supplement of saffron may cause damaged eye cells to recover.

Another line of animal research has found that saffron is active in affecting genetic diseases of the eye, such as retinitis pigmentosa, and offers the prospect of slowing down the progression of sight loss.

And in yet another study, saffron given to human patients suffering from age-related macular degeneration, has resulted in signs of cell recovery.

Read the full press release.




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15 Responses to “Studies Show Saffron Spice May Help Prevent Vision Loss or Even Reverse Vision Loss in Patients Suffering from AMD”

  • ari

    thanks for the link. the change in visual acuity was bare minimum-
    After saffron supplementation, visual acuity increased in 20 patients (by one line) and remained unchanged in 5.
    this is a small step in the nutrition fight against amd. my suspicion is that just like in areds, the clinical results will be extremely modest. a patient with 20/80 vision who barely makes it to 20/70 with saffron, wont be happy. i know i wouldnt.
    amd is an age-related deterioration, like dementia and arthritis etc. we have barely made a dent in those diseases, despite great advances in nutrition. it will take a quantum leap in science to make a significant dent in amd. we need to fix the gene that allows for drusen, and we are not close. thankfully we have avastin for wet amd.

  • Hi again Dr. Ari, if you copy and paste

    to your browser, you will read a full peer reviewed, double blind, crossover trial on the beneficial effects saffron has for those in the early stages of ARMD. This is one of many, the latest being concluded at the University of Australia in conjunction with Sydney University just last year, also recording similar results.
    All the participants re-gained at least two lines on the Snellen Eye chart (their sight was noticeably improved). It should be noted that these improvements are only partial (a full recovery of sight should not be anticipated) and are soon lost after cessation of the 20mg tablets.

  • ari

    i will add that there is an on-going study sponsored by the nih, a highly respected org. hopefully they have have finished recruiting and will be giving us data in the future.

  • ari

    umm…i stick by my initial skepticism. i googled and looked at the link above, as suggested by mr stewart. i saw zero studies published in peer-reviewed literature. nothing. i saw some animal studies and some research that was unpublished. not one article mentioned that her data was published. not one. i did read a lot of anecdotes from patients for whom it helped. thats worthless. (i read the same dopey anecdotes for drops that reverse cataract).

    for all i know saffron works. but there is no reasonable proof. there are several major journals in ophthalmology and eye research. when her data is published there, ill be hapy to re-visit the issue.

    if i am wrong, please enter a link to the articles.

  • Those with early or advanced MD, please Google Professor Silvia Bisti and review the results of her latest double blind, crossover, peer reviewed clinical trials and

    THEN Google Falsini, macular degeneration and finally Google

    It’s not that Dr. Ari is ignorant of ongoing research, it’s simply that these very thorough and professional clinical trials were conducted after his earlier posts.

  • A recent double-blind, peer reviewed trial at two Australian Universities proved Ari’s comments to be totally incorrect, or at least seriously out-date. The results from the Australian trials (which concluded early 2012) showed that all 29 of the participants regained at least two lines of vision (on the opthamologists’ reading charts) after taking the saffron for three months. An informal trial is being conducted world-wide to measure the effect of saffron on more advanced cases of armd. The results of this can be seen on the website. Go to the “Results to date” page. The success of dose related saffron is nothing short of amazing.

  • Adrian

    The unfounded dispute and general disregard shown by Mr Ari’s comments crystallize what is wrong with general physicians or general ophthalmologists. Too quickly, they are, to play down any new science that they are too lazy or too reluctant to research. The old adage, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, or new science in this case, applies.

    If your doctor takes this approach when you present him or her with this science then it is time to find a new physician.

  • ari

    i suppose it cant hurt, except your wallet. unfortunately, no good proof any of these supplements work. you’ll never find info about success in respectable peer-reviewed journals- typically anecdotes or small number of cases, not double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled studies, in newspapers, websites etc., so there’s no way to know if it really works.

    the only study that showed a slight decrease in dry amd converting to wet amd was in the areds study, and those supplements are easily available in the drugstore. and mind you, it only dealt with conversion from dry-wet; did not show improvement in vision of dry amd patients. we continue to wait for better drugs undergoing research, but it will be a while, im afraid.

  • Dr John H Mogan

    my wife has had A M D in one eye for 5 years. In spite of lack of enthusiasm of

    my consultant collegues she has taken l.arge doses of lutein zeaxanthin and

    vitamens without any futher changes in her condition

    I will certainly obtain saffron via the net and begin treattment once I have obtained

    the information of dosage used in Rome.

    Johnb H Morgan M B Ch B

  • Keith Hume

    An article in the Daily Mail,( circulation 3.5 million) states that a British research team have done a thorough study and concluded that saffron supplement did improve sight sharpnes with a gain of another line on the sight char. However when the supplement is stopped the effect is lost. This research has no commercial affiliations

  • Joy Midge

    Also, the centre is existent :

    One of their investigators are actually a real doctor, an ophthtalmologist.

  • Joy Midge

    This seems to be an initial investigation.

    To Ari Weitner: There is a paper published in IOVS ( a reputable journal publisher) , here are the links —

    Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2005;46: E-Abstract 171.
    (Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science. 2008;49:1254-1261.)

  • ari weitzner

    i just think that when researchers state something like their product can reverse vision loss from armd, that ought to be on the front page of the nytimes if true. it is obviously not true, or at least not proven, and any legitimate researcher would never suggest such a thing. therefore, i have a low opinion of those who make such grandiose suggestions.

  • Sam Jones


    I haven’t seen where this company of doctors is trying to sell (or hawk) anything, my point being that there is so far nothing for them to make a profit out of with regard to their current findings from the research.

    Aslo you should look up the authors in particular Dr Trevor Lamb

    Dr Lamb also appears to be an editor at the “Journal of General Physiology” this appears to be not a shabby recognition of a ‘real doctor IMHO.


  • ari weitzner

    this is not a recognized center that i have ever heard of. to suggest reversal of armd from a supplement sounds outrageous. their studies have not been published in any journal i am aware of. how can they possibly show signs of “cellular recovery”? i wouldn’t place much hope in this- does not sound scientific, but appears more directed to the consumer.