Saffron supplement improves retinal flicker sensitivity

Dec 17, 2010

Short-term saffron supplementation has been found to improve retinal flicker sensitivity in early age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Short-term saffron supplementation has been found to improve retinal flicker sensitivity in early age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to a study recently published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science.

The study, led by Dr Benedetto Falsini of the Universita' Cattolica del S. Cuore, Rome, Italy, aimed to evaluate the functional effect that short-term saffron supplementation may have on early AMD.

A group of 25 patients with AMD were randomly assigned to oral saffron 20 mg/d or placebo supplementation for 3 months and then reverted to the reverse treatment for another 3 months. Focal electroretinograms (fERGs) and clinical findings were recorded at baseline and then after 3 months of treatment with saffron or placebo supplementation.

After the patients had received saffron supplementation their fERGs increased in amplitude compared with the baseline or those on the placebo treatment. Additionally, the fERG thresholds were decreased after saffron supplementation but not placebo.

These results show that the short-term use of saffron supplementation improves retinal flicker sensitivity in early AMD. However, these results need to be replicate and the clinical significance has not yet been quantified. Overall, the study has provided important clues that the nutritional carotenoids found in saffron may affect AMD in ways that may be beyond their antioxidant properties.

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