Research proves that pomegranate is one of the most concentrated sources of antioxidants. Studies have also proven that key compounds in pomegranate can do something no one thought possible - reverse the process of atherosclerosis (arterial plaque buildup that is the main cause of heart disease and heart attack!).
These studies indicate that pomegranate provides protection against and actual reversal of atherosclerosis by restoring artery health, lowering blood pressure, and protecting low-density lipoprotein (LDL) from oxidation.
Pomegranate also fights several of forms of cancer including slowing the progression of prostate cancer and suppressing the growth of colon, breast, and lung cancer cells. The good news is that pomegranate’s remarkable health benefits can now be obtained in the form of affordable, highly concentrated extracts.
Pomegranates have potent hormonal attributes that have been shown to have estrogenic effects without increasing cancer risk unlike hormone therapy. This may be beneficial in safely minimizing menopause symptoms. At the same time they have also been been proven to cause metastatic breast cancer cells to self-destruct.
Mechanism of Action for Protection from Atherosclerosis
Pomegranate protects arteries by increasing nitric oxide, which improves the function of endothelial cells that line the walls of arteries. Nitric oxide (NO) causes relaxation of the muscles in the walls of the arteries which increases increasing blood flow. Nitric oxide also reduces injury to the arteries which helps prevent the development of atherosclerosis.
Research has shown that oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) can reduce NO levels. Pomegranate juice enhances the nitric oxide synthase activity which boosts NO. In addition, pomegranate antioxidants prolong the action of nitric oxide which increases its effectiveness.
Amazingly Pomegranate has been shown to reverse atherosclerotic lesions in arteries!
An Israeli study showed that pomegranate can actually reduce existing plaque formations in the arteries. In the study patients with significant carotid artery narrowing that ranged from 70 – 90% consumed 1.7 ounces of pomegranate juice each day while others received a placebo. Diet was not changed
Those who drank the pomegranate juice had significant reductions in the thickness of their carotid artery walls, which is correlated with decreased risk for heart attack and stroke. After only three months, the average thickness declined by 13%, and after 12 months, the thickness dropped 35%! During this same 12-month period, the average carotid artery thickness of the placebo group increased by 9%.
The researchers noted a number of improvements in blood markers that help to explain why pomegranate so effectively supports cardiovascular health. For example, total antioxidant status in the blood was increased by 130% after 12 months of pomegranate use, while serum lipid peroxidation was reduced by 59%.
There was also an 83% increase in serum paraoxonase-1, an enzyme that can reduce harmful lipid peroxides in arterial cells and in lipoproteins in coronary and carotid lesions. In addition, one year of pomegranate use more than doubled the time it took for the initiation of LDL oxidation, from 30 minutes to 65 minutes. Since LDL must be oxidized before it can stick to artery walls, this delay in LDL oxidation helps keep plaque from building up. At the same time paraoxonase-1 may help break up existing plaque, leading to overall reductions in plaque formation over time.
How to Obtain the Benefits of Pomegranate
If you enjoy Pomegranate Juice drinking 8 – 12 ounces each day of a high-quality product should confer all the benefits seen in research. Of course eating Pomegranates is another great way to get the benefits!
You can also obtain all these benefits WITHOUT all the sugar contained in juice by taking a standardized Pomegranate Supplement. Look for products that are standardized for Punicalagins not just Ellagic Acid. Ellagic Acid is a highly beneficial chemical, but it does not survive the digestive tract intact while consuming Punicalagins will result increased levels of Ellagic Acid after digestion. Excellent products and brands include:
Jarrow Pomegranate Extract
Life Extension Pomegranate Extract
POM Wonderful Juice