2008 Pomegranate Monograph

Harry Hirsute

New member
Apr 12, 2006
Propecia, CA


Standing at the Portal
Oct 16, 2007
Clinical Investigations

A group of researchers from the Lipid Research Laboratory, Rappaport Family Institute for Research in the Medical Sciences, Rambam Medical Center, Haifa, Israel, have been investigating the effects of pomegranate juice on various aspects of cardiovascular disease.

In their early studies, they observed that pomegranate juice consumption reduced oxidative stress, atherogenic modifications to LDL, and platelet aggregation in mice and humans (Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2000;71:1062–76). It also inhibited serum angiotensin-converting enzyme activity and lowered systolic blood pressure in a small group of hypertensive patients (Atherosclerosis 2001;158:195–8).

They then investigated the effects of pomegranate juice on various clinical parameters in patients with carotid artery stenosis. A group of 19 patients ranging in age from 65 to 75 years with asymptomatic, severe carotid artery stenosis were randomized to receive 50 mL of pomegranate juice or placebo each day for 1 year.

At baseline, B-mode ultrasound images of carotid artery wall boundaries were obtained, and intimal medial thickness (IMT) was measured at the far wall of the distal common carotid arteries. Atherosclerotic plaques were imaged and their length and width assessed, and flow velocities in the internal carotid arteries were calculated at sites of stenosis.

Among the 10 patients who consumed pomegranate juice, the mean IMT of the left and right common carotid arteries decreased by 13%, 22%, 26%, and 35% at months 3, 6, 9, and 12, respectively. In the placebo group, mean IMT increased significantly, by 9%, from 1.52 mm to 1.65 mm (Clin. Nutr. 2004;23:423–33). Average IMT in middle-aged men ranges from 0.7 mm to 1.2 mm.

Mean systolic blood pressure fell from 174 mm Hg at baseline to 153 mm Hg at 12 months, and mean peak systolic velocity in both left and right carotid arteries fell by 21% in the pomegranate juice group.

In the pomegranate group, serum oxidative state—evaluated by measurement of the level of antibodies against oxidized LDL—fell by a significant 24% in the first month and by an additional 19% by the third month.

Serum glucose and lipid concentrations were not significantly altered, but the lipid peroxide content in the atherosclerotic lesions of patients in the pomegranate group was significantly reduced, by 61% and 44% at 3 and 12 months, respectively.

The authors noted that, “in addition to the regression of the carotid lesion size, the lesion itself may be considered less atherogenic after pomegranate juice consumption, as its cholesterol and oxidized lipid content decreased, and since its ability to oxidize LDL was significantly reduced.”

A group of California researchers including Dr. Dean Ornish also has been evaluating pomegranate juice in 45 patients with coronary heart disease and myocardial ischemia. Patients were randomized to receive 240 mL/day of pomegranate juice or a sports drink of similar caloric content, taste, and appearance. They were evaluated by single-photon emission computed tomographic scintigraphy at rest and during treadmill or pharmacologic stress testing at baseline and at 3 months, and the degree of inducible ischemia was calculated.

Myocardial perfusion improved by an average of 17% in the pomegranate group after 3 months, and worsened by an average of 18% in the control group, for a relative between-group difference of 35% (Am. J. Cardiol. 2005;96:810–4). Angina episodes decreased by 50% in the treatment group and increased by 38% in the control group. The benefits were seen without any change in cardiac medications.

The investigators acknowledged that their sample size was small, but said that the clinically and statistically significant improvements seen “suggest that daily consumption of pomegranate juice may have important clinical benefits in this population.” Both groups of researchers recommended that larger, long-term studies be conducted to establish a possible clinical role for pomegranate juice in patients with cardiovascular disease.

This article was originally published by http://www.internalmedicinenews.com/
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