Pomegranate Extracts Treat Diseases of Inflammation
by David Gutierrez, staff writer
(NaturalNews) Emerging research continues to strengthen the evidence that
pomegranate extracts can be used to treat chronic inflammation, and the
diseases that go along with it.
Short-term inflammation is a normal immune response, but chronic
inflammation has been linked to a number of diseases including heart
disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, dementia and autoimmune disorders.
Scientists are increasingly coming to believe that pomegranate helps combat
inflammation, in part due to its exceptionally high content of antioxidants,
particularly those in the ellagitannin family, such as punicalagins and
Prior research has already suggested that pomegranate
inflammation-linked diseases. It has been shown to reduce the risk of breast
formation of prostate tumors in mice, to increase the amount of oxygen
available to the heart and to fight the onset of heart disease
cholesterol from oxidizing. Long-term consumption of pomegranate juice has
also been linked to improvement in the symptoms of erectile dysfunction.
A research team from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland was the
first to demonstrate that pomegranate extract can act directly to combat
study, they showed that when injected into human cells, pomegranate extract
lowered inflammation and levels of enzymes that can cause cartilage to break
down, as in arthritis
The researchers followed this up with a study, published fall of 2008 in the
Journal of Inflammation, in which they fed 175 milliliters of pomegranate
extract to four rabbits, then compared them with two rabbits who had been
given only water
were experiencing chronic inflammation.
The researchers found that the levels of antioxidant
increased and the levels of inflammation markers significantly decreased in
the rabbits after they were given pomegranate extract.
Compared with the rabbits that had been given only water, the animals in the
pomegranate extract group had 7 and 26 percent lower levels of the
inflammation markers COX-1 and COX-2, respectively.
In addition, the levels of inflammatory compounds produced by cartilage
cells also decreased.
"Consumption of pomegranate fruit extract may be of value in inhibiting
inflammatory stimuli-induced cartilage breakdown and production of
inflammatory mediators in arthritis," the researchers wrote.
The study was particularly significant because it demonstrated that
pomegranate extract can reduce inflammation even if digested, and not just
when injected directly into cells.
Most recently, researchers from Case Western Reserve University teamed up
with researchers from the University of South Carolina to carry out the
first study on whether the same effects could be observed in human cells.
This study was also published in the Journal of Inflammation.
"No studies have been undertaken to investigate whether a polyphenol-rich
pomegranate fruit extract (POMx) inhibits the inflammatory activity of
activated human mast cells and basophils," the researchers wrote. "The aim
of this study was to examine whether POMx modulates inflammatory reactions
using human basophilic cell line KU812."
Mast cells play a role in immune function and in healing the body from
The researchers first stimulated these cells with a chemical known as PMACI
in order to produce an inflammatory response. Then they dosed them with
They found that after receiving pomegranate extract, the cells began
producing significantly lower levels of the inflammation-linked cytokines
IL-6 and IL-8.
"POMx or POMx-derived compounds may be of value for the treatment of
inflammatory diseases in which mast cells play an active role," the
Pomegranate extract also appeared to inhibit activation of a gene complex
known as nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB).
NF-kB plays a role in regulating healthy immune responses, and malfunction
of the complex has been linked to autoimmune disease
Sources for this story include: www.nutraingredients.com;