5 Ways Saffron Can Improve Vision Loss

Ways Saffron Can Improve Vision Loss

Saffron is hard to miss. It has a vibrant red-orange color and comes from the flower Crocus sativus.1 Rumor has it that saffron is good for eye health. But is it true?

It sure is. You can thank carotenoids – the pigments that give saffron its color. In the body, some carotenoids are converted into vitamin A – a nutrient needed for healthy vision.

By themselves, carotenoids can still lend a hand. They’re antioxidants, after all.2

Since saffron is a rich source, it can do wonders for your vision. Here’s how.

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1. Protects Photoreceptor Cells

Carotenoids In Saffron Reduce The Rate Of Photoreceptor Death

The retina has cells called photoreceptors. They “translate” light into electric signals, and then into visual perception. Ultimately, your vision depends on them.

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Photoreceptors work really hard! Because of this, they’re vulnerable to oxidative stress. But according to a study in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, the carotenoids in saffron can protect them. They’ll even reduce the rate of photoreceptor death.

While the study was done on rats, the results are definitely worth noticing.3

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2. Prevents Age-Related Macular Degeneration

 Saffron Prevents Age-Related Macular Degeneration Causing Vision Loss

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common cause of vision loss. By 2020, about 196 million people will have it.4 Plus, like many other diseases, inflammation and oxidative stress play a major role.

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However, thanks to the carotenoids, saffron may help. This spice has both anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties. It might be just what you need to stop – or slow down – AMD.5

3. Improves Retinal Flicker Sensitivity

Saffron Improves Retinal Flicker Sensitivity

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AMD also depends on retinal flicker sensitivity. If it’s poor, it means the retina can’t process light well. But if retinal flicker sensitivity is high? Light processing improves, resulting in better vision.

With saffron, the latter will happen. A study with human participants found that short-term supplementation improves retinal sensitivity in early AMD. It’s certainly no cure, but it may pump the brakes.6

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4. Reduces Eye Pressure

Anti-Oxidative Power Of Carotenoids Reduces Eye Pressure

High eye pressure is a major risk factor for glaucoma or damage of the optic nerve. Symptoms include poor peripheral or side vision, but this usually goes unnoticed. And if it’s left untreated? Blindness is likely, so it’s crucial to reduce the eye pressure.7

Saffron can do just that with the anti-oxidative power of carotenoids. Otherwise, oxidative stress will mess with the structure of the eye’s tissue. This makes it hard for fluids to flow through, leading to high eye pressure. More research is needed to see if an oral or topical dose is best.8

5. Prevents Cataract

As antioxidant, Carotenoid In Saffron Prevents Cataract

Another major cause of poor vision is cataract or clouding of the lens. It’s also the number one cause of blindness in the world.

Oxidative stress plays a huge role. When proteins are oxidized, they break down and cause clouding. Other parts of the eye, such as lipids, are also damaged.

Enter saffron and its carotenoids. As antioxidants, they fight oxidative stress. In turn, they protect the eye’s structure, showing potential for preventing or delaying cataracts.9

Saffron isn’t a cure for blindness. Yet, with these benefits, it can help delay vision loss. At the very least, it’ll certainly spice up your life.

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