Best Saffron Supplement

Learn all about how the world’s most expensive spice may help reduce inflammation, boost your mood, and more.

Medically reviewed by:
Last updated: Dec 29th, 2023
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Best Saffron Supplement

If you’ve ever shopped for spices, you may have noticed that saffron costs significantly more than any other seasoning. Saffron is considered the world’s most expensive spice for two reasons: how it’s harvested (completely by hand) and the fact that we only use a small portion of the plant (the stigma). With only three stigmata, it can take around 75,000 or more Crocus sativus flowers to make a single pound of saffron spice.

Not only can saffron add a complex flavor to your paella, but its bright orange color is also a key indicator that it’s full of carotenoids — a type of pigmented nutrient and antioxidant that can lower inflammation, improve eye health, and may even alleviate depression symptoms in some people. If trying saffron sounds like an interesting option for you, taking it as a supplement can be a much less costly alternative than using dozens of saffron strands in your meals.

These days, there are numerous saffron supplements on the market. If you’re unsure where to start, our guide delves into how our top picks measure up in terms of price, effectiveness, ingredients, and more. If you don’t have time to read the whole guide, you can take a look at our top five recommendations below.

Summary of recommendations

Our Top Choice

Pure Micronutrients’ saffron supplement is made in the U.S., contains ingredients that are verified for purity and safety, and sells at an affordable price.

Each capsule is vegan and contains zero sugar or GMOs. Buying direct gets you a lifetime guarantee, but buying from the company’s Amazon store (which we recommend) makes it easier to save money through free shipping.

Table of Contents

In this Review

Why you should trust us

Over the past two decades, Innerbody Research has helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions to live healthier lifestyles.

Herbal supplements have been around as long as we’ve known about the plants they stem from, but it doesn’t mean that every supplement is created equally, nor that every claim a company makes about it is going to be true. We’ve spent hundreds of hours researching and testing herbal and botanical supplements that claim to boost your health and wellness.

For this review alone, we reviewed more than 80 scientific studies and journals looking at the safety and efficacy of saffron as a supplement. We also researched the benefits of common complementary ingredients in saffron supplements, such as turmeric, to ensure our recommendations have a strong scientific foundation.

Like all health-related content on this website, this review was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy. We’ll keep an eye on the latest science and evolving product options for saffron supplements to ensure this guide stays up-to-date.

How we evaluated saffron supplements

Despite a company’s best intentions, not every supplement is created equally. When evaluating saffron supplements, we considered four major criteria: safety, effectiveness, cost, and convenience. All of these criteria are important in their own way, but the safety and efficacy of the products carried the most weight in our decisions, while cost and convenience affected them a bit less.


Winner: Pure Micronutrients

The safety measures employed by a company can be a critical factor when you’re considering taking a supplement — especially since the Food & Drug Administration’s regulation of supplements “primarily begins after the product enters the marketplace.”

A common safety measure includes manufacturing the supplements in a facility that adheres to Good Manufacturing Practices (often abbreviated as cGMP or GMP) regulations, ensuring the production line is run and regulated according to the FDA’s standards. This is the closest you’ll see to FDA recognition in the supplement industry. Companies that test their products — especially if they use an unbiased third party — show they’re dedicated to ensuring you’re getting what you expect.

Of course, a supplement’s dose is a critical factor as well, but none of our top picks have saffron levels anywhere close to the potentially dangerous levels seen in studies (over 1,000mg). All of our picks are equal to or above the same dose of saffron used successfully in clinical studies.

Pure Micronutrients won our choice for safety due to the company manufacturing its supplements in a cGMP-compliant and ISO/IEC 17025-certified facility (demonstrating competency and accurate results), its use of third-party testing, leaving out synthetic preservatives, and more. We’ll explore Pure Micronutrients’ safety further in the company’s dedicated section, but these are just a few of the steps taken to protect consumers.

Pure Micronutrients may demonstrate the most safety precautions out of our top picks, but it isn’t the only one to employ additional safety measures. All of our top saffron supplement recommendations are produced in facilities that are GMP-compliant. And Vimerson Health, OLLY, and Nutricost utilize third-party testing. Youtheory tests its products as well, but the company doesn’t make it clear whether that testing is done in-house or by an independent third party.


Winner: Vimerson Health

In scientific research studies, saffron supplements seem to work best in relatively small doses. There are a few other ingredients it pairs well with, depending on your goals — including ashwagandha, zinc, and turmeric, to name a few. But saffron may still be very effective on its own, thanks to its high antioxidant content.

All of our top choices have adequate amounts of saffron based on the amounts used in studies (around 30mg or more), but our winner for efficacy is Vimerson Health’s saffron supplement due to its inclusion of turmeric, cinnamon, and cardamom. These ingredients (along with saffron) have varying amounts of evidence showing they may reduce inflammation and promote better cognitive health. And the inclusion of black pepper extract may increase the bioavailability or absorption of these ingredients, particularly turmeric.


Winner: Nutricost

Most saffron supplements on the market today are around the $20-$30 price range. And while the cheapest option isn’t always the best, pure saffron supplements (those without any additional ingredients, capsule aside) are so similar that you can often find less expensive options that are otherwise virtually identical.

Nutricost continues to be our top pick for the most cost-effective saffron supplement, as you can get an 8-month supply for only $26.95, or about $3.37 per month (versus needing to purchase a $20-$30 bottle every month).

Out of our other top picks, Pure Micronutrients comes in second for cost. One bottle of its saffron capsules offers 60 servings (a 2-month supply) for $24.97 — about four times the cost of Nutricost’s saffron per month, but still less expensive than most.

Nutricost also offers the best discount through its subscription program, which will decrease your cost by 20% (to $21.56), whereas Pure Micronutrients' will give you 10% off (to $22.47). Additionally, all of our other recommendations also offer subscription deals — OLLY and Youtheory both take 15% off, while Vimerson Health offers the lowest subscription discount at only 5% off.


Winner: Pure Micronutrients

Taking a saffron supplement for potential health benefits is pretty convenient when compared to using the spice — there’s no need to cook a meal or weigh your spice on a food scale to ensure you’re taking the right amount. Since this is true for nearly all saffron supplements, we examined a few of the finer details to determine which choice is most convenient.

Pure Micronutrients and Nutricost are the only two of our top picks where the serving size is a single capsule. All of the others require you to take two. Pure Micronutrients, however, also notes that its capsules are designed to be easy to open, meaning you can mix it with a drink or food of your choice. This could be a great alternative if you’re part of the 10-40% of adults who experience difficulty swallowing pills.

A close runner-up for convenience is OLLY — since its saffron supplement is in gummy form, you don’t need to have a drink on hand to take it.

And when it comes to ease of purchasing (or making repeat purchases), almost all of our picks, except Nutricost, let you customize your subscription delivery frequency. This makes them equally convenient for keeping yourself well-stocked.

How our top recommendations compare

Saffron Supplement All Bottles

Photo by Innerbody Research

We’ve put together a chart to help you quickly identify and compare the most important qualities of our top saffron supplements.

Pure Micronutrients
Vimerson Health
Cost per bottle
Servings per bottle
Supplements per serving
Price per serving
Saffron per serving
Other supplemental ingredients?
Ashwagandha, Rhodiola rosea extract
Vitamin D
Turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper extract
Return policy
Subscribe & save?

Additionally, we put together a comparison of pill sizes for all of our top picks (aside from OLLY’s saffron, which is a gummy).

Saffron Supplement Pill Sizes Stacked

Photo by Innerbody Research

As you can see, Vimerson Health’s pill size is the largest of our picks. This could be from the inclusion of multiple other ingredients. And while Youtheory has the smallest capsules, you do need to take two per dose unlike those from Nutricost and Pure Micronutrients.

What is saffron?

Saffron is a valuable spice used in cooking and as a supplement. If you’ve ever tried to buy saffron at the grocery store, you know that it costs dramatically more than other spices. (Depending on the quality, a pound costs anywhere between $500 and $5,000.) However, saffron is a common spice that comes from flowers — its high price is due to the intricacies of its harvest and production.

More specifically, saffron comes from the saffron crocus (Crocus sativus) flower. The long, red, pollen-collecting stigmas in the center of the flower (called threads) are collected and dried to produce saffron powder. Saffron flowers are harvested during a 3-4 week window every year and must be gathered before or right after sunrise because direct heat from the sun can damage the stigma. Each flower grows three stigmata that must be gathered and dried for 12 hours.

Because the flowers are so delicate, mechanical collection is not an option; they must be harvested by hand. It takes over 75,000 flowers and about 200 hours of work to make one pound of saffron powder.

Insider Tip: Though saffron is one of the most expensive spices, saffron supplements don’t cost much more than your average dietary supplement. For our top picks, the average cost per serving is only about $0.63.

Beyond its uses in the kitchen, saffron has been used for many years in Ayurvedic medicine to treat physical and mental issues, including:

  • Low sex drive
  • Memory issues
  • Mood disorders

And though they may not be the first thing you think of when you hear “herbal supplement,” saffron supplements are becoming increasingly popular because of their unexpected accessibility and wide range of potential benefits.

How saffron supplements work

Saffron contains dozens of compounds that work together to provide health benefits, but four stand out as the most important:

  • Crocin
  • Crocetin
  • Picrocrocin
  • Safranal

Most of what you’ll hear about are crocin, crocetin, and safranal. Picrocrocin is most responsible for saffron’s flavor — and that flavor is a good sign you have authentic saffron because it’s a compound that, so far, is only found in saffron flowers. However, there are substantially fewer purported health benefits from picrocrocin than crocin, crocetin, and safranal.

In the same way that picrocrocin determines saffron’s flavor, crocin is responsible for saffron’s red-orange color, and safranal determines its smell. These two compounds are more distinctive — you might see some saffron supplements standardized by either their crocin or safranal content. (The saffron supplements from Vimerson Health and Nutricost are standardized for safranal content, for instance.) But crocetin is a particularly interesting carotenoid, as scientists are looking into the mechanisms behind what appear to be anti-tumor and cancer prevention effects.

Some other major, overarching effects saffron can have on the body include:

  • Neurological pathway modulation (including, but not limited to, BDNF, the HPA axis, and most major neurotransmitters)
  • Immune regulation
  • Inflammation reduction
  • Oxidative stress reduction
  • Neuroprotection

Based on these factors alone, it’s hard to tell exactly how saffron might work in practice, but promising research continues. In the meantime, based on the study results available now, the most practical applications of saffron appear to be:

  • As an adjuvant or second-line antidepressant drug for mild depression and PMS
  • Slowing progression of macular degeneration
  • Fighting erectile dysfunction

In the chart below, we’ll dive a little deeper into the most thoroughly studied applications of saffron for health. It's important to remember that, even in these contexts, we don’t recommend considering saffron as a substitute for standard prescription treatments.


Though some claim saffron can ease symptoms of both depression and anxiety, it shows a clear advantage toward alleviating mild depression. Most studies find that it’s as effective as fluoxetine (Prozac), with fewer adverse side effects. However, one meta-analysis noted that this research into saffron is riddled with publication bias (that only studies showing results get published) and that both Prozac and saffron are equally comparable to a placebo effect, so take this information with a grain of salt. Saffron also seems to improve sleep quality, though whether that’s an effect of its antidepressant qualities or something that contributes to that success is still unknown.


Much like saffron seems to have a positive impact on depression symptoms, it’s a promising supplement for people struggling with PMS that interrupts their life or PMDD, a particularly severe form of PMS. Studies indicate that 30mg of daily saffron shows notable improvements in reducing the self-reported severity of PMS, even when compared to Prozac (which is another gold standard for treating PMS and PMDD). In particular, saffron seems to relieve pain and soreness in the breasts and abdomen better than alternatives. Like the depression studies, however, saffron supplements performed negligibly better than placebos.

Inflammation and oxidative stress

As an antioxidant, saffron may have the ability to decrease oxidative stress caused by free radicals — primarily in the brain — by binding to the lone oxygen molecules. Oxidative stress is linked to dozens of problems, but one of the biggest is inflammation. There’s mixed evidence as to whether or not saffron can lower inflammation depending on what biomarkers you look at. Generally, inflammatory cytokines — the small proteins that modulate inflammatory responses — don’t seem to be as affected by saffron supplementation as malondialdehyde (MDA), which is the key marker for oxidative stress.

However, this result isn’t consistent across studies (particularly in those related to GI inflammation). Crocin, crocetin, and safranal are the key compounds that seem to lower oxidative stress, linked to lower MDA and nitric oxide levels, as well as increased antioxidant enzyme activity.


Saffron displays some surprisingly strong anti-cancer potential, particularly through crocetin. In the last two decades, saffron and crocetin have been tested on several types of human cells, and researchers have discovered that they seem to have both direct and indirect anti-cancer properties. Specifically, saffron appears to be anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic (meaning sick cells die more easily and don’t replicate) alongside the standard antioxidant and anti-inflammatory measures associated with the plant.

In particular, saffron seems to make the biggest differences in breast, ovarian, gastrointestinal, prostate, and lung cancer, as well as leukemia. Researchers are diving into preclinical and clinical trials, as well as patenting specific saffron compounds, to see if there’s more potential for saffron as a safer anti-cancer or cancer-preventing medication. But note that taking a saffron supplement won’t prevent you from getting cancer or cure you of the disease.

Macular degeneration

Crocin is the main compound responsible for saffron’s impact on eye health. Specifically, crocin (and saffron at large) seems to improve age-related macular degeneration, which is an eye disease that damages your retina, blurring the center of your vision. When participants were given 20mg saffron supplements, studies generally showed increases in flicker sensitivity (fERG, which is a general marker of your retinal health) and visual acuity (what those eye tests at the doctor measure). One longer-term study found that those changes stayed stable for at least 14 months. This is particularly important because there’s currently no cure for age-related macular degeneration.

However, note that most of this research was done by a small group of researchers. There’s no reason that this invalidates the results, but we’d like to see the same results performed by a broader set of researchers for validation.

There are several other areas that saffron may influence but are either less conclusive or require more caveats than the conditions above. Most of these have to do with metabolic syndromes and systemic inflammation, which is tricky because medical experts don’t have a complete understanding of how the mechanics of systemic inflammation work yet. However, there are a few more things researchers noticed that saffron might be able to improve.

Metabolic markers

There are a number of health markers that are easy to disrupt, including your blood sugar and HbA1c (a long-term measure of blood sugar levels and stability), cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and weight. Saffron seems to make a little bit of a difference in waist circumference, blood sugar, HDL (“good” cholesterol), and total cholesterol. Generally, participants who took large amounts of saffron (about 100mg/day) for at least 12 weeks lost about 1 inch off their waists and had lower blood sugar levels but not lower HbA1cs.

Likewise, they also tended to have lower total cholesterol levels, higher HDL levels, and possibly decreased blood pressure, but not enough to be clinically meaningful. Some researchers think saffron’s effects on waist size and blood sugar have more to do with its inflammation control than any real metabolic differences, but more studies are necessary to determine if that’s the case.

GI tract and liver health

Thanks to saffron’s potential for decreasing inflammation, some scientists believe that it may be able to play a bigger role than expected in the GI tract. One study found saffron may be beneficial for several gastric diseases, including IBS and IBD, by limiting gastric inflammation and protecting gastric mucosa (the lining of your GI tract). Likewise, another study found that it can reduce your ALT serum levels, which points to improved liver health. However, both of these findings are still relatively new, so more studies need to be done before we can really state whether or not saffron can support your GI and liver health.

Sexual health

There’s some discussion about saffron improving the sex lives of people with sexual and erectile dysfunctions. One meta-analysis of five major studies looking into this phenomenon found that saffron generally had positive impacts, though it doesn’t change male sexual desire. The higher the dose, the more likely it was to work, with the best results coming from a study that gave men 200mg of saffron daily for 10 days to influence erectile dysfunction. However, there are so few studies on this that it’s difficult to draw any serious conclusions.

Some other things — like the fact that 20mg of saffron daily lowered hyperactive (but not inattentive) symptoms in children with ADHD better than Ritalin, or saffron’s potential role in decreasing Alzheimer’s symptoms — are just starting to be investigated but show promise. And some outcomes marketed by supplement companies are actually potential side effects that can be spun into positives, like weight loss from appetite suppression and improved mood. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing: it shows there’s still a lot to be discovered through researching saffron supplements.

With all of its potential effects, it's tempting for some people to think of saffron as a miracle product, but keep your expectations tempered: most of these studies, while certainly promising, still involve small populations of people, and not all of them have consistent results. There’s a lot more research that needs to be done, and supplements can’t cure, treat, prevent, or diagnose any conditions.

Insider Tip: Some saffron supplements advertise themselves as being better for specific concerns, such as mood or weight loss. Unless they contain other ingredients — such as ashwagandha, zinc, or curcumin (the main compound in turmeric) — there’s no way to target individual problems with saffron alone.

How to take a saffron supplement

Generally, saffron supplements provide a dose of 20mg-100mg per day. Most successful studies use 30mg of saffron in two 15mg doses (one in the morning, one in the evening), but a lot of saffron supplements contain about 88.5mg of saffron. That’s more than studies find is necessary to work, but it isn’t enough to cause negative effects by a long shot (you’d need to take at least 1,000mg to be at risk).

Generally, mood-enhancing and eye health improvements start with lower doses around 30mg/day, while higher doses of 200mg and above are necessary if you’re targeting things like ED and hypertension. Note, however, that studies less consistently have good results when they’re targeting concerns that require those higher doses.

Are saffron supplements right for you?

If you’re living with macular degeneration, a saffron supplement may be a particularly useful tool in your arsenal alongside regular eye exams, not smoking, and managing your blood pressure. Saffron supplements tend to work better for people experiencing symptoms of the disease rather than people who may be looking to prevent it. One study found that a genetic predisposition didn’t make a difference in receptiveness to saffron for early-stage age-related macular degeneration; all participants experienced improved visual processing speeds while taking 20mg of saffron daily. It won’t prevent the disease — and, as a supplement, it won’t cure, treat, or diagnose it either — but it may improve your quality of life.

Likewise, if you’re one of the 80% of people with PMS or PMDD who reported they’d rather try a supplement than a prescription antidepressant or contraceptive, saffron may be a good place to start. It shows about the same level of efficacy as Prozac (fluoxetine) in clinical studies, but with fewer adverse side effects, and is better for targeting bloating and abdominal and breast soreness. Saffron supplements have roughly the same effectiveness for people with mild depression as Prozac, but it isn’t something we’d recommend for people with more severe depression or other mood disorders like bipolar disorder.

There’s also some evidence that saffron might be able to support blood sugar regulation in the long term. Most studies conclude that participants’ day-to-day blood sugar evens out after at least 12 weeks of daily saffron use; it also doesn’t seem to lower HbA1c levels, so don’t expect it to steer you away from type 2 diabetes. (If you’re looking for something that might be able to do both, we suggest looking into berberine or inositol.)

Ultimately, if you’re living with a condition that causes significant daily disruptions related to your mood, eyesight, or inflammation but aren’t sure if you’re ready to try a traditional pharmaceutical treatment, saffron may be a reasonable alternative. Before you try a saffron supplement, though, reach out to your doctor to ensure it’s going to be safe for you.

Antioxidants and anti-cancer effects

While antioxidants in our food are particularly good at fighting free radicals, the NIH reports that most clinical studies don’t find general antioxidant supplements work how we’d expect. Antioxidants tend to work best when paired with other compounds found in the original fruits, vegetables, and herbs. It’s a complicated relationship, but taking something like a saffron supplement with antioxidant properties isn’t likely to cause harm as long as it isn’t replacing a healthy diet or medical care.

If you’re exposed to more oxidative stress than the average person, you might still find benefit from increasing your antioxidant intake, either from your diet or something like a saffron supplement. Many of the biggest contributors to oxidative stress should be no surprise:

  • Environmental pollution from living in a major city
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Eating a diet high in saturated fats, carbohydrates, and sugar
  • Drinking a significant amount of alcohol
  • Experiencing chronic stress

Since saffron contains several antioxidants, it may work in tandem with a healthy lifestyle to decrease the risk of cellular damage and its corresponding health problems.

Additionally, taking a saffron supplement is not a replacement for cancer treatment and won’t keep you from getting cancer. It may mitigate some effects of oxidative damage and improve your overall cellular health, but supplements aren’t a replacement for life-saving medical care. It could support your overall health while undergoing cancer treatment, but speak with your oncologist before you start taking a saffron supplement to make sure it’s safe for you.

Are saffron supplements safe?

Saffron is generally safe to take for healthy adults. If taken as directed, it produces very few side effects. Taking more than 1,000mg (or 1g) of saffron may induce more side effects, including toxicity and poisoning, but studies typically find the most success with about 30mg per day. It’s pretty difficult to find a saffron supplement that offers more than 100mg per serving, and for a good reason — combined with the higher risks of adverse reactions at higher doses and increased expenses, there’s very little scientific evidence that positive effects scale with dosage. For example, one study looking at erectile dysfunction found that 200mg of saffron for 10 days significantly improved ED symptoms, but so did a study that used 30mg per day for four weeks.

Side effects for saffron are few and far between, but the few you might run into are mild and include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Stomach issues
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

These side effects should subside in a few days; if they don’t, stop taking them and reach out to your doctor immediately. If you’re allergic to rye, olives, Salsola plants (including Russian thistle), or, of course, saffron, you shouldn’t take a saffron supplement.

A few health conditions may make saffron supplementation dangerous for you:

  • Diabetes or hypoglycemia
  • Low blood pressure
  • Bipolar disorder

Saffron may interact with sedatives to cause more pronounced drowsiness and slow down breathing. You should stop taking saffron before any major surgery involving anesthesia to prevent saffron from further affecting your nervous system alongside the anesthetic.

Meanwhile, on the stimulant side, saffron may affect how you metabolize caffeine, causing it to be broken down more slowly and consequently increasing the chances that you experience side effects of caffeine consumption, like caffeine jitters.

If you’re pregnant or trying to conceive, it’s recommended you avoid saffron supplements. Some research indicates saffron could interfere with fetal development. While the research isn’t conclusive yet (and most of it’s been performed in mice and frogs), it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your baby’s health.

If you're breastfeeding, exercise caution and speak to your doctor first. And if you want your child to try a saffron supplement, stick to one designed explicitly for children: it’s generally safe, but children often need lower doses than adult formulas provide.

No matter how safe a supplement seems, you should always talk to your doctor before trying something new. This goes for saffron supplements as well.

Pure Micronutrients Saffron Extract Capsules

Best for most people

Saffron Supplement Pure Micronutrients Bottle

Photo by Innerbody Research


  • Produced in a GMP-compliant, ISO/IEC 17025-certified facility in the U.S.
  • Third-party tested for purity and potency
  • Easy-to-open capsules allow for mixing in food or drinks
  • Vegan and free of common allergens and GMOs
  • Return policy includes a “lifetime guarantee”
  • Subscribe to save 10%


  • Some reviews mention a bad aftertaste
  • A few of the health-boosting promises don’t have adequate research yet

Pure Micronutrients Saffron Extract is our top pick because of its simple ingredients, safety measures, and customer-friendly policies. This saffron supplement has 88.5mg of pure saffron as its only ingredient, and it’s free from sugar, GMOs, and common allergens like gluten, dairy, wheat, nuts, soy, and eggs. Additionally, Pure Micronutrients’ supplements are Kosher-certified and vegan-friendly.

Saffron Supplements Pure Micronutrients Supplement Facts

Photo by Innerbody Research

Pure Micronutrients’ products are manufactured in a GMP-compliant, ISO/IEC 17025-certified lab in the U.S. All of our top picks are produced in environments that adhere to GMP regulations, but the addition of Pure Micronutrients being ISO/IEC 17025-certified is another measure taken to ensure its products are safe. This certification “enables laboratories to demonstrate that they operate competently and generate valid results.”

When it comes to quality and safety testing, Pure Micronutrients, Vimerson Health, OLLY, and Nutricost all use an independent third party.

Another reason we consider Pure Micronutrients Saffron Extract Capsules to be the best choice for most people right now is the flexibility available in taking the supplement. The company notes that its capsules can be easily opened, and the contents can be mixed into a food or drink of your choice.

If you’ve ever had to open a capsule, you probably know it’s not always the easiest thing to manage without either breaking the capsule or getting the contents everywhere, so we appreciate this as a small but valuable detail that can benefit those who dislike or physically can’t swallow pills. We tested this and found Pure Micronutrients’ capsules were easier to open than the others, and the powder didn’t spill everywhere. (Vimerson’s, on the other hand, made a bit of a mess.) This heightened accessibility is also part of why we recommend OLLY’s gummies.

Some customer reviews have mentioned the supplements having a bit of a bad aftertaste, but this could be due to saffron’s complex flavor profile (especially in large or concentrated amounts). Our testers didn’t personally experience this, but research shows some people can be more sensitive tasters than others.


Each bottle of Pure Micronutrients’ saffron gives you a 2-month supply of its single-capsule doses. You can purchase your bottles one at a time or subscribe to have them shipped to you every 30, 60, or 90 days (60 days makes the most sense in this case, however).

A one-time purchase will cost you $24.97, while a subscription takes 10% off and brings your price down to $22.47. If your purchase is over $60, then shipping is free; otherwise, it’s $4.95.

Pure Micronutrients’ saffron is also available from the company’s store on Amazon for the same pricing, where you can also get free shipping.

When you purchase directly from Pure Micronutrients, your purchase is covered by the company’s lifetime guarantee. If you’re unsatisfied with the product for any reason, you can ship it back to Pure Micronutrients for free (the company covers return shipping), and you’ll receive your choice of either an exchange or your full money back. This is similar to the refund policy from Nutricost, except Nutricost keeps what you paid for shipping and handling, while Pure Micronutrients doesn’t.

Nutricost Saffron Extract Capsules

Best budget pick

Saffron Supplement Nutricost Bottle

Photo by Innerbody Research


  • Largest amount of capsules for a price comparable to competitors
  • Produced in GMP-compliant facility and third-party tested
  • Generous 60-day money-back guarantee
  • Recently added a subscription program
  • Vegetarian-friendly and free of gluten, soy, and GMOs


  • Subscription delivery only available in 1-month increments
  • Money-back guarantee used to be 90 days

If budget is a top concern, we recommend Nutricost Saffron Extract Capsules because one bottle contains 240 capsules (an 8-month supply) for only $26.95. This is the least expensive supplement on our list, but the low price doesn’t mean it’s a low-quality product. These capsules contain the same 88.5mg dose of saffron as found in our choices from Pure Micronutrients and Vimerson Health. (Vimerson technically lists its dose as 89mg, but all of the included ingredients appear to be rounded up to the next whole number.)

Saffron Supplement Nutricost Facts

Photo by Innerbody Research

Nutricost’s saffron supplement, similar to Pure Micronutrients’, is free from gluten, soy, and GMOs. Nutricost’s saffron doesn’t appear to contain any animal-derived ingredients, but it’s still listed as vegetarian and not vegan. This doesn’t mean it isn’t potentially vegan-friendly, but without that confirmation, it may be best to proceed with caution or choose a different saffron supplement that explicitly declares itself vegan-friendly — like those from Pure Micronutrients or Youtheory.

Like all of our other top picks, Nutricost uses GMP-compliant facilities to manufacture its products. And while there used to be a lack of information on Nutricost’s testing procedures, the company has since become more forthcoming with this information and revealed that it does, indeed, utilize an independent third party for its testing. (You can find this information on its website and on the supplement bottle itself.)

When it comes to taking the supplement, Nutricost’s capsules are about the same size as Pure Micronutrients’. Both are single-capsule doses and easy to swallow. Our testers had no issues taking Nutricost’s saffron.

Otherwise, the supplement itself is very standard and straightforward. Most of Nutricost’s benefits come from its price and your potential savings.


Nutricost offers free shipping on orders over $59 to the U.S. Otherwise, standard shipping is about $7 (or more for UPS Ground or Next Day Air, which vary in costs depending on your location).

One bottle of Nutricost’s saffron is $26.95, but subscribing for monthly deliveries takes 20% off and brings that price down to $21.56. This is the best subscription discount out of our top picks, with the runner-up options being OLLY and Youtheory (both take 15% subscriptions).

Something disappointing about Nutricost’s subscription plan, however, is that it’s only available in 30-day increments. All of our other top recommendations allow you to customize your delivery frequency. A monthly delivery might be particularly convenient for a supplement with a 30-day supply, but Nutricost’s saffron offers eight months' worth of pills.

Receiving Nutricost’s saffron each month means you’ll wind up with quite the amount of excess inventory — especially if only one person is taking the supplement. You can modify or cancel your subscription at any time (as with our other picks), but needing to remember to resume your subscription every eight months may squash the convenience of a subscription in the first place. However, Nutricost’s subscription option is relatively new, so it certainly may evolve over time (or so we hope).

On the topic of returns and refunds, Nutricost’s policy is similar to the one from Pure Micronutrients. If you’re unsatisfied with your purchase for any reason, you can receive your money back (minus shipping and handling costs) if you reach out to the company within 60 days of your order. Although Pure Micronutrients’ policy is a bit more forgiving — there’s no time limit, and you receive all of your money back — Nutricost’s is still relatively generous. In comparison, Youtheory only accepts returns of unopened products, meaning you can’t try them first, and (if your supplement is unopened) you’ll have to pay $14.99 for return shipping.

Youtheory Saffron

Best for mood

Saffron Supplement Youtheory Bottle

Photo by Innerbody Research


  • Ashwagandha and Rhodiola may boost mood and reduce stress
  • Branded saffron (“Affron”) examined in multiple clinical studies
  • Vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free
  • Manufactured in GMP-compliant facility
  • The company states supplements are tested


  • Unclear if testing is done by an independent third party
  • Oversized bottle feels like a waste of plastic
  • More expensive than competitors
  • Shipping can be costly, and the return policy is strict
  • Ashwagandha may irritate some GI systems

Youtheory makes a blend of saffron, ashwagandha extract, and Rhodiola rosea extract designed specifically to promote relaxation and help even out your mood. The chart below breaks down how these three ingredients may benefit your mental health.


Saffron may improve some depressive symptoms and potentially increase your resilience against stress-related mental health issues. However, researchers note that laboratory-based stressors have limitations when compared to those experienced in real-world situations.


Ashwagandha may have a calming effect on the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The HPA axis is a neuroendocrine mechanism that regulates multiple bodily processes (metabolism, immune responses, and the nervous system) in response to stress. The HPA axis response to stress leads to an increased production of cortisol. So, ashwagandha may help to reduce the amount of cortisol produced by stressful situations.


Also known as Golden Root, Rose Root, Rosenroot, and Hong Jing Tian (红景天), Rhodiola rosea is an herb that’s been used extensively in traditional Eastern European and Asian medicine. It was often used in attempts to help improve work performance and relieve symptoms of fatigue. More recent studies have shown the herb has the potential to treat stress, anxiety, anger, burnout, and the complications that come from chronic stress. Additionally, a 2020 review of 22 studies found Rhodiola rosea may alleviate symptoms of mild to moderate depression and anxiety.

Youtheory has the smallest capsules out of our top picks. They’re the easiest to swallow of our picks (Pure Micronutrients’ and Nutricost’s capsules aren’t exactly difficult to swallow, though) and don’t have any strange aftertastes. Each two-capsule serving of Youtheory’s saffron supplement contains the following:

  • Affron-brand saffron extract: 28mg
  • Sensoril-brand ashwagandha extract: 150mg
  • Rhodiola rosea root extract: 350mg
Saffron Supplement Youtheory Supplement Facts

Photo by Innerbody Research

It’s worth noting that ashwagandha contains a decent amount of oligosaccharides (a simple carbohydrate that humans can’t digest very well, if at all). These carbohydrates can act as a probiotic, but for people who have IBS or IBD or require a low-FODMAP diet, ashwagandha should probably be avoided.

Additionally, the ashwagandha dose in Youtheory’s saffron supplement is on the low end. Many ashwagandha supplements contain about 225mg-600mg of the plant, which aligns with successful clinical studies. The 150mg here may still give you some mood-boosting effects, but it might be less evident than a stronger dose.

However, the saffron and Rhodiola extract doses are well formulated; the aforementioned 2020 review of Rhodiola studies found that the most successful studies used between 150mg and 200mg of the herb once daily, and others show that saffron seems to work for most people at around 30mg daily. (Youtheory does have the lowest dose of saffron out of our top picks, followed closely by OLLY.)

Also, the brand of saffron Youtheory uses, Affron, has been analyzed in several different clinical studies. Results suggested Affron may help with menopausal symptoms, sleep quality, evening melatonin production, and mood in both adults and teens. Of course, any studies funded by the company that produces the product being studied have the potential to be skewed by bias, but the outcomes are still interesting.

On a final note, we feel that Youtheory could definitely use a much smaller bottle for this supplement. Upon opening it, we initially thought it wasn’t properly filled all the way. This wasn’t the case — all of the pills were there — the company just uses a bottle that’s far too large, to the point that it feels like a bit of a waste.

Saffron Supplement Youtheory Bottle Inside

Photo by Innerbody Research


One bottle of Youtheory’s saffron supplements (60 capsules, or a 30-day supply) costs $36.99 if you purchase it once. Or, you can join Youtheory’s subscription program to save 15% (dropping the price to $31.44) and get a new bottle every 30 or 60 days. The company has recently increased these savings from 10% to 15%, which is a nice improvement. This makes it equivalent to OLLY’s subscription discount.

Unfortunately, Youtheory’s shipping costs and return policy are where the company falls short. Previously, they charged shipping based on how much product you ordered, where you’re located, and how quickly you wanted your package to arrive; shipping could cost anywhere from $3 to $50. In the past year, they’ve gotten rid of this program, instead opting for a flat shipping rate. Ordering just one bottle of this saffron blend now means you’ll pay a whopping $14.99 for standard shipping or $19.99 for express. That’s half the price of the supplement or more.

To qualify for free shipping, you’ll need to purchase $40 or more ($19 less than the threshold for free shipping from Nutricost.) However, you can get free shipping on Youtheory Saffron by ordering via Amazon as part of an order of $25 or more. This makes one bottle, at a normal cost, eligible for free shipping.

If purchased directly from Youtheory, you can return any unopened product within 30 days of purchase for a “full refund,” but you won’t get your shipping fees refunded, and you’ll have to pay another $14.99 for return shipping. That means that if you order one bottle of saffron from Youtheory and have to return it, you’ll end up getting, at most, $7.01 back. It’s better than nothing, but not by much. Overall, this policy pales greatly in comparison to the policies from all of our other top picks, especially Pure Micronutrients’.

OLLY Hello Happy Gummy Worms

Easiest to take

Saffron Supplement Olly Bottle

Photo by Innerbody Research


  • Second least-expensive option on our list
  • Vitamin D may reduce inflammation and support brain health
  • Made in a GMP-compliant facility and third-party tested
  • Gummies are gluten-free
  • No artificial flavors or colors (colors come from carrot and blackcurrant juice)


  • Not vegetarian- or vegan-friendly
  • Produced in a facility where cross-contact with allergens like soy, eggs, nuts, milk, and fish is possible

OLLY’s Hello Happy gummies are citrus-flavored gummy worm supplements (that are very tasty, according to our testers) which contain 50mcg (2,000IU) of vitamin D and 30mg of saffron. While there are currently no studies showing any direct benefits of combining vitamin D and saffron, both of these ingredients may help to reduce inflammation as well as support brain health. Additionally, vitamin D deficiency affects nearly one billion people worldwide, including 35% of U.S. adults, so supplementation may very well be beneficial.

Saffron Supplement Facts

Photo by Innerbody Research

Each bottle of OLLY’s Hello Happy supplement contains 60 gummies for a total of 30 servings — each serving is two gummies. This is the same serving size as the saffron supplements from Vimerson Health and Youtheory. Only Nutricost and Pure Micronutrients have single-item servings.

Part of the convenience of OLLY’s gummies comes from not needing a drink on hand to get your daily saffron; eating a couple of these soft-textured gummy worms should be easier than swallowing a pill for most people. However, if this remains a difficulty for you or a loved one, then taking advantage of Pure Micronutrients’ easy-to-open capsules might be the better route.

OLLY’s gummies are the only one of our top choices to not be vegetarian- or vegan-friendly, however, as they contain gelatin. But we do appreciate that these gummies contain no artificial flavors or colors, especially since some evidence suggests artificial dyes may have links to various health concerns, though more research is needed.


OLLY’s Hello Happy gummies come in either a 30-serving bottle or a 45-serving refill pouch. Both options can be bought as one-time purchases or on a subscription basis. Subscriptions can be delivered every one, two, or three months. The chart below breaks down the pricing.

Single purchaseSubscription (15% off)
30-serving bottle$19.99$16.99
45-serving pouch$22.49$19.12

OLLY’s subscription delivery frequency options are the same as those from Pure Micronutrients, making both brands the most flexible in that regard. Vimerson Health and Youtheory only offer 1- and 2-month increments, and Nutricost only has monthly deliveries.

Shipping from OLLY is free for orders over $59. Otherwise, it’s $6.99 for express 2-day shipping (the only available option).

The company’s return policy only applies to products purchased directly from the OLLY website. If you’re unhappy with your purchase for any reason, OLLY will refund your full purchase price if you return the product within 30 days of ordering. While the return window is shorter, this policy is quite similar to Nutricost’s and Pure Micronutrients’.

Vimerson Health Turmeric Saffron Supplements

Best for cognition support

Saffron Supplement Vimerson Bottle

Photo by Innerbody Research


  • Turmeric and cinnamon show the potential to support cognition
  • Cardamom might protect against free radicals
  • Inclusion of black pepper extract can increase bioavailability
  • Vegan and free from soy, GMOs, gluten, and dairy
  • Manufactured in a GMP-compliant facility in the U.S. and tested by a third party
  • Free shipping on all orders


  • Cinnamon dose is less than seen in successful studies
  • Satisfaction guarantee is only valid once
  • Expedited shipping unavailable for Alaska or Hawaii

Vimerson Health’s saffron supplement includes several ingredients that may work alongside saffron to reduce inflammation — namely, turmeric, cinnamon, and cardamom. Additionally, both curcumin (the active compound in turmeric) and cinnamon might help alleviate some symptoms of cognitive impairment, while cardamom may regulate oxidative stress and protect against free radicals.

Vimerson Supplements Facts

Photo by Innerbody Research

Vimerson’s capsules are the largest out of our top picks, and you’ll need to take two per dose (similar to Youtheory). While these capsules aren’t the biggest we’ve ever seen, they may be a bit more difficult to take than the smaller alternatives. One tester reported that a good few mouthfuls of water was necessary to take these. Each two-capsule dose of Vimerson Health’s saffron supplement includes:

  • Turmeric: 1,000mg
  • Saffron extract: 89mg
  • Cardamom: 50mg
  • Cinnamon: 50mg
  • BioPerine (black pepper extract): 10mg

Black pepper extract has been shown to potentially increase the bioavailability (or absorption) of certain other ingredients, particularly turmeric. None of our other recommendations include ingredients that may enhance the bioavailability of their ingredients.

One bottle of this supplement provides you with a 30-day supply, akin to nearly all of our other top picks (except for Nutricost, which offers an 8-month supply).


Each bottle of Vimerson Health’s saffron supplement costs $22.87 for a one-time purchase or $21.73 through the company’s subscription plan (for deliveries every one or two months). This 5% discount from subscribing is the lowest discount offered by our top picks. However, Vimerson Health is the only company mentioned to have free standard shipping available on all orders. And, if you spend over $50, this becomes free expedited shipping (unfortunately, this option isn’t available for those in Alaska or Hawaii).

In terms of returns and refunds, Vimerson Health offers a one-time satisfaction guarantee. If you’re unhappy with your purchase for any reason, the company will refund your money (including shipping) and provide you with a free bottle of any other supplement of your choice. Keep in mind, however, that this is only available once per customer.

This could be a good option for those who wish to try the supplement but aren’t completely sure if they’ll like it or not. Pure Micronutrients offers similar flexibility, however, and the offer doesn’t expire.

Honorable mentions

The supplements mentioned below didn’t make our list of top picks for one reason or another, but their unique perks might still appeal to you.

BrainMD Happy Saffron Plus

Each 3-capsule serving of BrainMD Happy Saffron Plus contains zinc (20mg), curcumin (400mg), and, like Youtheory, Affron-brand saffron (30mg). It’s also vegan-friendly and free of many common allergens, including dairy, gluten, wheat, yeast, eggs, and corn. However, there are trace amounts of soy in this supplement.

BrainMD’s saffron is more expensive than any other option on our list. A one-time purchase of a single bottle costs $51.45 — a little over double the cost of a bottle of Pure Micronutrients’ saffron. The company’s subscription is fairly unique, as well. Deliveries can be every month, 45 days, two months, or three months. And subscribing for 1-2 bottles nets you a 15% discount, 3-5 gets you 20% off, and six or more saves 25%.

Something we appreciate about BrainMD is that the company offers a 7-day free trial for its supplements, saffron included (you just pay for shipping). However, you will be automatically enrolled in a subscription if you forget to cancel before the trial is up.

Life Extension Optimized Saffron

Similar to Pure Micronutrients and Nutricost, Life Extension’s Optimized Saffron only contains saffron (88.25mg) as its star ingredient. The company claims that its particular brand of saffron, Satiereal, can eliminate cravings and help you lose weight, but research paints a more complicated picture. Studies on Satiereal show fairly positive outcomes, though any study funded by the manufacturer of the product has the potential for bias. Studies on saffron itself have shown mixed results for its effects on appetite — some show a decrease while others have resulted in an increase. Until more research is done on saffron and appetite, it doesn’t feel right for Life Extension to claim its supplement can help you “achieve your weight management goals.”

This gluten-free, non-GMO, vegetarian supplement comes with 60 1-capsule doses for a one-time purchase price of $27.00. If you subscribe, you’ll get free shipping and receive 11% off, bringing the price down to $24.00. Life Extension’s shipping frequency is more flexible than our top picks, allowing you to receive the supplement anywhere from every 1-12 months.

Alternatives to saffron

Saffron supplements aren’t going to work for everyone, and many of the herb’s potential health advantages require more research to determine whether or not they might actually be of benefit. Luckily, for all of saffron’s potential perks, there are other options that may work just as well, depending on your situation. In this section, we’ll delve into some possible alternatives.

To get more antioxidants

The best alternative for a saffron supplement, if you’re looking for more antioxidants in your diet, is to add more of them to your diet. Since antioxidants are best absorbed and used alongside other compounds and chemicals present in foods, taking them on their own won’t do as much for you as taking them with foods. Some antioxidant-rich foods include:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Bell peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Citrus fruit
  • Almonds
  • Avocados
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Oatmeal
  • Legumes
  • Apricots
  • Cantaloupe
  • Mangos
  • Carrots
  • Grapefruits
  • Eggs
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Brown rice
  • Onions

If your diet isn’t something you can change, a greens powder may be a good alternative source of antioxidants. They’re more expensive than saffron supplements — most of our favorites range from $87 to $99 for a one-month supply — but provide antioxidants within their natural contexts (instead of from a capsule).

You can learn more in our guide to the best greens powder.

For depression, PMS, and PMDD

There are several types of supplements that studies have shown can support both depression and PMS or PMDD, as well as a few options for each condition.

If you’re struggling with breast and abdominal soreness, vitamin B6 has shown repeatedly in studies since the 1990s to improve PMS symptoms (especially pain and soreness), as does vitamin E. And a 2022 literature review found that deficiencies in omega-3, vitamin D, vitamin B6, and iron can all contribute to PMS and PMDD symptoms.

If you menstruate, you need more iron than someone who doesn’t, and not getting enough — such as through a vegan or vegetarian diet — may lead to an iron deficiency. Luckily, omega-3, vitamin D, vitamin B6, and iron all come in relatively inexpensive and easy-to-find supplement forms. A good multivitamin should easily fill that gap while also supporting your overall health for about the same price as a saffron supplement, which is much more niche and less critical for your day-to-day life.

Fish oil and other omega-3-rich supplements also seem to improve depression symptoms across several studies. So does vitamin D, where deficiencies are correlated with higher rates of depression (which you may experience in winter), and B vitamins, especially vitamin B12. Additionally, a 2017 meta-analysis found that St. John’s Wort may be just as good as prescription antidepressants in alleviating mild to moderate depression symptoms. However, you shouldn’t take St. John’s Wart if you have more severe depression, are experiencing suicidal thoughts, or take other supplements or prescriptions that increase your serotonin levels.

Some other supplements you may want to consider include:

Of course, most medical experts still recommend SSRIs (such as Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, and Paxil) as your first step in treating unmanageable PMS, PMDD, and depression at any stage. While you might be hesitant, if these conditions interfere with your day-to-day life, don’t be afraid to reach out to your doctor. They may suggest an SSRI, or they may have other ideas for supplements that could work better for you with an intricate knowledge of your health history.

For eye health

The carotenoids found in saffron supplements show great promise for supporting your eye health and may slow the progression of macular degeneration. However, plenty of supplements can support your eyesight in general, and others have equally specific potential benefits.

If you’re not vegan or vegetarian, krill oil supplements may be an alternative. Not only do they contain large amounts of healthy omega-3s, which may support eye health, but shrimp get their classic red-pink pigment from astaxanthin — a carotenoid found to be 6,000 times stronger than vitamin C and 100 times stronger than vitamin E without containing the same negative side effects as other antioxidants and carotenoids. Most krill oil supplements cost around $30 per month — or roughly as much as a saffron supplement — but you can get Costco brand Kirkland Signature krill oil supplements for a mere $0.16 per serving.

Saffron supplement FAQ



Innerbody uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

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