Effect of saffron (Crocus sativus L.) on lipid profile, glycemic indices and antioxidant status among overweight/obese prediabetic individuals: A double-blinded, randomized controlled trial

Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2019 Dec;34:130-136. doi: 10.1016/j.clnesp.2019.07.012. Epub 2019 Aug 16.


Objective: To investigate the effects of saffron (Crocus sativus L.) on lipid profile, glycemic and antioxidant status in overweight/obese individuals with prediabetes.

Methods: In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, the prediabetic patients were randomly assigned to receive saffron (15 mg/d) pills or placebo for eight weeks. Serum levels of lipid profile, fasting blood sugar (FBS), glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine, and diphenylpycrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging activity were assessed biochemically at baseline and at 8 weeks after treatment. The adverse events, if any, were also recorded.

Results: Seventy-five of participants (36 in treatment and 39 in placebo groups) completed the study. Within-group comparisons revealed a significant effect of saffron supplementation on FBS (118.11 ± 3.55 vs. 109.14 ± 6.23), HbA1c (5.85 ± 0.12 vs. 5.70 ± 0.11), and DPPH (11.06 ± 3.24 vs. 13.46 ± 3.33) levels (P < 0.005 for all). In adjusting models, there was a significant reduction in FBS by -7.97 mg/dL, and HbA1c by -0.15% in saffron group compared to placebo. Moreover, saffron intake tended to increase in DPPH radical scavenging activity (2.4% vs. -0.85% in saffron and placebo groups, respectively). However, no significant changes in anthropometric measures, lipid profile, and renal markers were observed after saffron intake compared with placebo.

Conclusion: Saffron supplementation could improve glycemic and antioxidant indices in overweight/obese individuals with prediabetes, however, no beneficial effect was observed on lipid profile and anthropometric parameters. (IRCT20120913010826N19).

Keywords: Crocus sativus L.; Glycemic markers; Lipid profile; Oxidative stress; Prediabetes; Saffron.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antioxidants / analysis*
  • Crocus*
  • Diet Records
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Glycemic Index*
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Overweight / complications
  • Overweight / therapy*
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Phytotherapy / methods
  • Plant Preparations / administration & dosage*
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use
  • Prediabetic State / complications
  • Prediabetic State / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antioxidants
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Lipids
  • Plant Preparations
  • hemoglobin A1c protein, human

Associated data

  • IRCT/IRCT20120913010826N19