(NaturalHealth365) The leading cause of blindness in adults over 50 is macular degeneration. Up to 11 million older Americans have some degree of macular degeneration related to the aging process. By age 75, 30 percent of people have this eye condition.
However, certain plant carotenoids are known to help reduce macular degeneration risk and delay its progression. In fact, recent studies are specifically showing that you can improve vision by consuming just 20 mg a day of saffron extract.
Preventing age-related macular degeneration is possible
Saffron is a fragrant spice used in cooking. It is derived from the crocus flower, which grows mainly in Spain and France. Scientists have found that a daily supplement of this flavorful spice can help to improve visual acuity and light sensitivity. Patients with macular degeneration who consume saffron daily improve vision significantly. Over time, as many as two additional eye chart lines can be viewed on the standard optometrists’ eye chart.
The main cause of macular degeneration is exposure to ultraviolet light and visible light. Chemical stresses from too much glucose or oxygen in the blood stream can also contribute. These factors cause retinal light-sensing cells to break down. If this continues, vision loss and blindness can result.
Benefits of saffron include healthier retinal cells and stronger visual acuity
Preserving the structural integrity of the macula is crucial to preventing its degeneration. Saffron has been found to protect the macula and help prevent the breakdown of the light-sensitive cells at its center. These saffron benefits help to addresses age-related macular degeneration at its root cause.
In an initial saffron study, patients in the early stages of age-related macular degeneration were either given a placebo or 20 mg per day of saffron. The improvements in eye responses to light were measurably stronger in the saffron group, indicating healthier retinal cells.
A second saffron study found that those taking saffron were also stronger in visual acuity, or sharpness in distance vision. Saffron supplementation definitely helps the light-sensing abilities of the eyes, slowing the progression of macular degeneration. After three months, patients could see another full line on the eye chart.
Improve vision and preserve eye health with natural nutrients
Taking 20 mg of saffron per day also had longer-term health effects. After 14 months, participants had gained the ability to see two lines on the eye chart. Clearly, longer term supplementation yielded even more profound vision benefits.
Another known vision enhancer is the nutrient alpha-carotene. Persons with high levels of alpha-carotene in their systems have a 32 percent lower risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration. Taking alpha-carotene along with saffron extracts and other key retina-strengthening nutrients can be a powerful, natural way to protect eyesight from loss of vision.
The benefits of saffron and alpha-carotene are further enhanced when nutrients like lutein, astaxanthin, cyanidin-3-glucoside and zeaxanthin are taken. Carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers, citrus fruits and dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale are all foods that contain nutrients for eye health. However, the research confirms you can improve vision by taking a 20 mg saffron supplement daily.
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