Spotlight on Pomegranate Juice

This ancient fruit is one of the most highly researched foods of the Twenty-first Century. Interest in pomegranate stems from the high concentration of anti-oxidants that accompanies the sweetness of its juice. Pomegranate juice has undergone more clinical trials in humans than any fruit juice. These studies have demonstrated that daily consumption of pomegranate juice, about 8 ounces a day for 3 months or more:  
 
1. Reduces dangerous LDL-cholesterol in blood  
2. Improves blood flow to the heart in patients with coronary artery disease  
3. Reduces thickening of the arteries that supply blood to the brain  
4. Lowers the level of systolic blood pressure  
5. Increases anti-oxidant activity in the blood of patients with diabetes  
6. Slows the progression of prostate cancer in men who have already been treated for prostate cancer.  
 
Laboratory studies have demonstrated that pomegranate juice can maintain the health of your blood vessels by several interacting mechanisms: 
 
1. Reversing a process called LDL-oxidaton. LDL, which stands for low-density lipoprotein, is the major protein responsible for transporting cholesterol in your blood and depositing cholesterol in the walls of blood vessels. The level of oxidized LDL in blood is emerging as a leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease.  
2. Decreasing inflammation in the lining of blood vessels. Inflammatory cells called macrophages, found in the walls of your arteries, accumulate cholesterol and deposit it in the vessel wall, initiating a process called atherosclerosis, a major step in hardening of the arteries. Pomegranate juice prevents this type of inflammation and inhibits atherosclerosis.  
3. Raising the levels of nitric oxide, a chemical that keeps your arteries supple and flexible. Many types of stress impair your blood vessels’ ability to make nitric oxide or increase the rate of its destruction. Pomegranate juice can prevent both reasons for reduced nitric oxide: impaired synthesis and rapid breakdown.  
 
The anti-cancer effects of pomegranate juice are related to its ability to induce cancer cells to self-destruct, a process called apoptosis. Pomegranate juice has been shown to induce apoptosis of human breast, prostate and colon cancer cells by activating genes and enzymes that regulate apoptosis.  

The exact factors in pomegranate juice responsible for its beneficial effects are not certain. Whenever it’s been studied, unsweetened pomegranate juice has been more effective than any single component or combination of known components. Not only does pomegranate juice contain potent phenolic anti-oxidants, like other brightly colored fruits, but pomegranate juice contains unique complex sugars that are anti-inflammatory on their own. In diabetic humans and mice, feeding pomegranate sugars did not raise blood sugar. Compared to the sugar from white grapes, pomegranate sugar had significant anti-oxidant effects in diabetic mice. White grape sugar actually increased oxidant stress in diabetic mice, whereas pomegranate sugar decreased their oxidant stress.  

These statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug administration. The product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. It should not be substituted for conventional therapy. 
 
This article is provided for general educational purposes only and is not intended to constitute (i) medical advice or counseling, (ii) the practice of medicine or the provision of health care diagnosis or treatment, (iii) the creation of a physician--patient relationship, or (iv) an endorsement, recommendation or sponsorship of any third party product or service by the sender or the sender's affiliates, agents, employees, or service providers. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your doctor promptly.  


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