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Heart & Vascular Health

Pomegranate - Powerful protection for the heart, blood vessels and prostate.

In studies both laboratory and clinical, pomegranate has been shown to be highly protective against cardiovascular disease through several mechanisms including:

  • Reducing oxidative stress1
  • Supporting Nitric Oxide [NO] synthesis2,3
  • Preventing oxidation of potentially harmful LDL (low-density lipoprotein) that is the reason why you develop blockages of your blood vessels - LDL oxidation is an inflammatory process2.
  • Reducing systolic blood pressure6

What you should do

  • Have at least 1 glass of low sugar pomegranate juice every day.
  • Less expensive juice may have lower concentrations of pomegranate and more sugar.
  • Choose a juice that is made from freshly squeezed pomegranates and a juice not made from concentrate.

Punicalagins & Heart, Blood Vessels, Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome & Hypertension

  • Compounds in pomegranate fruit and juice called punicalagins are protective of heart and blood vessels by exerting powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
  • May actually help reverse established atherosclerosis5 One study stated "This study indicates that the proatherogenic effects induced by perturbed shear stress can be also reversed by chronic administration of PFE.7" PFE = Pomegranate Fruit Extract
  • Australian researchers10 found in animal studies that pomegranate blocked the action of alpha-glucosidase and prevented blood glucose levels from rising after eating but had no effect on blood glucose levels in those animals who have not eaten. Spikes in blood glucose after eating is damaging to the blood vessel lining [the endothelium] in normal people and very damaging to those individuals with insulin resistance [metabolic syndrome] and diabetics.
  • Israeli11 and Iranian12 human studies on pomegranate and cardiovascular risk factors in diabetics showed that pomegranate decreased cellular radical oxygen species [ROS] by 71%, and increased cellular antioxidants by 141%.
  • Pomegranate supplementation resulted in a 39% decrease in macrophage uptake of oxidized LDL. Macrophages are white blood cells that engulf LDL and begin the inflammatory process in the blood vessel wall that starts the atherosclerotic process.

Pomegranate & Prostate Disease

  • An important study from the University of California, Los Angeles [UCLA] showed that pomegranate may help in managing prostate cancer in one of two ways:
  1. To help prevent the occurrence of prostate cancer or
  2. To slow the growth and spread of existing prostate cancers.
  • The UCLA study8 showed a remarkable increase in the doubling time for the Prostate Specific Antigen [PSA]  marker for prostate cancer in the blood which was 15 months at baseline [before pomegranate treatment] which jumped to 54 months after pomegranate treatment in 80% of the men --- almost 4 times longer.

Pomegranate & Liver Disease - Oxidative Stress and Fatty Liver Disease

  • A staggering amount of antioxidants are needed each day simply to protect the liver which is the guardian of your health by detoxifying [biotransforming] dangerous substances you come into contact every day in the environment through air, food and through your skin.
  • If these antioxidant resources are less than the demands, your liver will pay the price with a slow progression from fatty change to cirrhosis [fibrosis] of the liver.
  • Fatty liver is often associated with insulin resistance and Type-2 Diabetes and in this setting there is a high risk that fatty change in the liver may progress to cirrhosis.
  • An animal study showed how pomegranate protected the liver against a compound that caused oxidative stress in the liver and prevented fatty change and cell damage14

What you should know

  • Pomegranate juice is known to inhibit a specific drug metabolism pathway (CYP3A4) in the liver.
  • Pomegranates effect on this CYP3A4 which metabolizes many drugs is quite weak and much weaker than grapefruit juice on this enzyme. One paper looked at the relative potencies as follows: grapefruit > black mulberry > wild grape > pomegranate > black raspberry13
  • The following is recommended: 78 mg of punicalagins per day for general cardiovascular protection and support, and from the UCLA study which used 280-375 mg of punicalagins daily in their important study8 to show a protective effect on the prostate, this amount is recommended for this purpose using an evidence-based recommendation.
  • Pomegranate supplements have the advantage of keeping sugar intake to a minimum. Many pomegranate syrups and juices may contain excess sugar to make this juice more palatable as pure pomegranate juice can be considered to be a little tart.

References: For Pomegranate & Punicalagins

  1. Xu S, Touyz RM. Reactive oxygen species and vascular remodelling in hypertension: still alive. Can J Cardiol. 2006 Sep;22(11):947-51.
  2. de Nigris F, Williams-Ignarro S, Botti C, et al. Pomegranate juice reduces oxidized low-density lipoprotein downregulation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase in human coronary endothelial cells. Nitric Oxide. 2006 Nov;15(3):259-63.
  3. Ignarro LJ, Byrns RE, Sumi D, de NF, Napoli C. Pomegranate juice protects nitric oxide against oxidative destruction and enhances the biological actions of nitric oxide. Nitric Oxide. 2006 Sep;15(2):93-102.
  4. Ignarro LJ, Napoli C. Novel features of nitric oxide, endothelial nitric oxide synthase, and atherosclerosis. Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2004 Jul;6(4):281-7.
  5. Aviram M, Rosenblat M, Gaitini D, et al. Pomegranate juice consumption for 3 years by patients with carotid artery stenosis reduces common carotid intima-media thickness, blood pressure and LDL oxidation. Clin Nutr. 2004 Jun;23(3):423-33.
  6. Aviram M, Dornfeld L. Pomegranate juice consumption inhibits serum angiotensin converting enzyme activity and reduces systolic blood pressure. Atherosclerosis. 2001 Sep;158(1):195-8.
  7. de Nigris F, Williams-Ignarro S, Lerman LO, et al. Beneficial effects of pomegranate juice on oxidation-sensitive genes and endothelial nitric oxide synthase activity at sites of perturbed shear stress. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2005 Mar 29;102(13):4896-901.
  8. Pantuck AJ, Leppert JT, Zomorodian N, et al. Phase II study of pomegranate juice for men with rising prostate-specific antigen following surgery or radiation for prostate cancer. Clin Cancer Res. 2006 Jul 1;12(13):4018-26.
  9. Malik A, Afaq F, Sarfaraz S, et al.: Pomegranate fruit juice
    for chemoprevention and chemotherapy of prostate
    cancer. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2005, 102:14813–14818.
  10. Li Y, Wen S, Kota BP, et al. Punica granatum flower extract, a potent alpha-glucosidase inhibitor, improves postprandial hyperglycemia in Zucker diabetic fatty rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Jun 3;99(2):239-44.
  11. Rosenblat M, Hayek T, Aviram M. Anti-oxidative effects of pomegranate juice (PJ) consumption by diabetic patients on serum and on macrophages. Atherosclerosis. 2006 Aug;187(2):363-71.
  12. Esmaillzadeh A, Tahbaz F, Gaieni I, avi-Majd H, Azadbakht L. Concentrated pomegranate juice improves lipid profiles in diabetic patients with hyperlipidemia. J Med Food. 2004;7(3):305-8.
  13. Kim H, Yoon YJ, Shon JH, Cha IJ, Shin JG, Liu KH. Inhibitory effects of fruit juices on CYP3A activity. Drug Metab Dispos. 2006 Apr;34(4):521-3.
  14. Kaur G, Jabbar Z, Athar M, Alam MS. Punica granatum (pomegranate) flower extract possesses potent antioxidant activity and abrogates Fe-NTA induced hepatotoxicity in mice. Food Chem Toxicol. 2006 Jul;44(7):984-93.

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