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POMEGRANATE FOR YOUR HEALTH

A comprehensive review of the scientific inquiries into the possible uses of pomegranate as a therapeutic agent was published by the NIH in 2021. It indicates that there are possible benefits in a very wide array of the commonest health problems associated with the majority of the causes of death in our society. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8595036/#B106 

They published another overview of its potential preventative health benefits. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/pomegranate

Drinking pomegranate juice has shown to have preventive roles for:

  • Obesity, metabolic syndrome, and coronary heart disease – most likely believed to be due to its antioxidant properties. 
  • Gastrointestinal system  – inflammatory bowel disease
  • Central nervous system– ischemic stroke, and memory dysfunction after heart surgery
  • Reproductive system – PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), heavy menstrual bleeding, and nausea and vomiting during pregnancy
  • Rheumatic disorders – Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis 
  • Dermatologic disorders – Facial photodamage, ultraviolet-induced pigmentation skin erythema, striae 
  • Periodontitis and gingivitis – likely related to its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activities. 
  • Renal diseases

More studies are warranted given the many potential benefits still to be proven.   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8595036/

Other than preventative effects, research findings include those for treatment of the following conditions. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4007340/

Diabetes – Fasting Blood Glucose

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial on 40 patients with diabetes and myocardial infarction, administration of pomegranate extract of whole fruit for one month significantly reduced both fasting and post-prandial blood glucose readings, as well as Hgb A1C levels [82]. 

Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress is an important factor in the development of cardiovascular disease in diabetic patients. Data from several studies have documented that pomegranate can reduce measures of oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation. It also enhances the production of antioxidant enzymes. In one study, consumption of Pomegranate juice for 6 weeks in Diabetes Type 2 patients decreased oxidized LDL and anti-oxidized LDL antibodies. In another study it significantly reduced lipid peroxides and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) levels.

Inflammation 

In one study diabetic patients drinking pomegranate juice for 4 weeks significantly decreased serum interleukin-6. 

In another study consumption for 12 weeks in Type 2 diabetes patients reduced plasma Hs-CRP and IL-6 levels by over 30% [85]. 

Lipid Lowering Effects for those with Abnormal Lipid Profiles 

Using a supplement containing 12 antioxidant fruits including pomegranate was administered to 44 males for 4 weeks and showed a reduction in total cholesterol and LDL levels and an increased level of HDL levels [124]. The effect of Pomegranate juice on lipid profiles in Type 2 Diabetes was also evaluated. Consumption for 8 weeks reduced total cholesterol and LDL-Cholesterol.

The effects of polyphenols in green tea extract, pomegranate extract, and ascorbic acid on lipid profiles were studied in Type 2 diabetes patients. The study participants lowered their LDL-Cholesterol (bad cholesterol) levels and increased the HDL-Cholesterol (good cholesterol) levels.

High Blood Pressure  

Pomegranate juice is a rich source of soluble polyphenols including anthocyanins and tannins. These compounds have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-hyperlipidemic, and anti-hypertensive properties [99101]. Drinking pomegranate juice for six weeks significantly decreased systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure in Type 2 diabetes patients [99].

Pomegranate juice, whole fruit, seed extract, and  seed oil, have been used in traditional Persian medicine as anti-hypertensive, cardioprotective , and lipid lowering agents with various reports of effectiveness in the scientific literature, [117]. In one placebo-controlled study reduction of systolic, diastolic, and mean arterial blood pressure was found after 4 weeks of pomegranate juice ingestion.  [121] [122].

Lowering of Serum Cortisol

Eighty-nine Type 2 diabetics were shown to have significantly lowered their serum cortisol levels one hour after ingestion of pomegranate juice. [103].

Obesity   

Obesity is the commonest cause of diabetes, elevated insulin levels and cardiovascular disease.  Pomegranate ingestion by fifty study subjects for eight weeks was shown to lower insulin resistance, high sensitivity-CRP, and body weight.

Cancer  

Both animal and human studies have demonstrated that pomegranate exhibits anti-cancer activity inhibiting  the proliferation of tumor cells and inducing  apoptosis. In this section, we review the clinical literature on colorectal, head and neck, and prostate cancers. Intake of pomegranate (2 capsules/day for 6-7 weeks) protected against mucositis- and dermatitis-induced radiotherapy in head and neck cancer [106]. 

Metabolic Syndrome  

A study of females with obesity and metabolic syndrome documented a reduction of the measurements of glucose, insulin, and insulin resistance with the intake of pomegranate juice. Also respiratory and cardiac endurance and improvement in biochemical markers of metabolic syndrome.[133].

Coronary Heart Disease 

Two double-blind clinical trial of 15 patients  with carotid artery stenosis, and 289 patients with coronary heart disease, who consumed Pomegranate juice for one year reduced the carotid intima-media thickness and inhibited lipid peroxidation in LDL measurements attributed to the antioxidant activity of the polyphenols in the juice. [136].  Comparably, the effect of PJ intake (240 ml/day for 3 months) in 45 patients with coronary heart disease and myocardial ischemia was reported in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Another study showed less intensity and duration of coronary disease related chest pain (angina pectoris) with the use of pomegranate juice.

Oral Cavity – Dental Plaque Gingivitis and Periodontitis 

A study of 15 patients with periodontitis suggested a significant improvement in chronic periodontitis and IL-1 levels measured at 3 and 6 months compared to standard supportive periodontal therapy [172].

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Medically reviewed by Dr. Henry C. Sobo, M.D

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