Guest Writer for Wake Up World
Pomegranate is considered a superfood and the best way to benefit from this low in calories, but packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals, nutrition is to cut the pomegranate in half and eat the fresh pink seeds — known as arils — inside the whole fruit.[i] Researchers have found pomegranate to have neuroprotective, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial healing properties that are highly beneficial to your health.[ii]
In a study of 30 multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, half were given a pomegranate seed oil supplement (GranaGard) for the first three months and then placebo pills containing soybean oil for an additional three months. The other half received placebo pills first and then GranaGard for three months. All patients then received GranaGard for six more months.
All patients receiving GranaGard reported a ”positive” effect in their activities of daily life while using the product and had stronger verbal learning test results during the period of treatment. Three cognitive function scores were significantly improved in the three months of GranaGard treatment compared to the placebo treatment.
For the patients receiving GranaGard in the initial three months, verbal learning remained high also at the following three months (while they received placebo), suggesting a longer lasting effect after discontinuation of the treatment. Thus, pomegranate shows the ability to protect the brain — both improvement and stabilization in cognitive decline for MS patients.[iii]
In an animal research study, rats were given pomegranate seed extract (PSE) of 200, 400 or 800 milligrams (mg) per kilogram (kg) for three weeks. In the third week, scopolamine — a memory and learning deficit inducer — was administered 30 minutes before the Morris water maze and passive avoidance tests.
PSE significantly reduced the time (maximum 173%) and distance (maximum 332%) required to reach the platform during the maze test and also increased performance in the passive avoidance tests relative to the treatment dosage. Pomegranate treatment successfully alleviated memory loss and learning deficits in rats by impacting cholinergic system function, oxidative stress and inflammatory cytokines in the brain.[iv]
Control and induced-MS mice were chronically administered ellagic acid (EA) and pomegranate peel extract (PE) dissolved in drinking water. Aafter inducing MS for 10 days, mice were given a dose 50 mg/kg of both EA and PE daily and displayed a significant amelioration of “in vivo” clinical symptoms.
“Ex vivo” analysis showed that spinal-cord demyelination and inflammation in PE and EA-treated MS-induced mice were comparable to those in the control animals, while microglia activation and astrocytosis significantly recovered, particularly in the gray matter.
Both PE and EA dietary supplementation in patients suffering from multiple sclerosis would be beneficial for disease treatment and provide brain protection.[v] Pomegranate juice (PJ) is a rich source of ellagitannins, which are tied to pomegranate’s neuroprotective effect.
Olfactory and motor deficits are typical symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD). In a rat model of induced PD, rats were treated with pomegranate juice at a dose of 500 mg/kg per day for 35 days. PJ treatment protected against dopamine release in the brain and subsequently improved olfactory function and motor activity in the animals.[vi]
The neuroprotective effects of PJ against a neural toxin, lead acetate (LA), were tested in an experiment of 28 male Wistar albino rats, divided into four groups: control, PJ, LA and LA plus PJ. The LA group had a significant decrease in hippocampal volume compared to the control group, while PJ demonstrated protective effects on the brain when compared with the LA and LA plus PJ groups, showing its ability to fight lead poisoning effects.[vii]
Aluminum (Al) is a metal that can create neurobehavioral and biochemical problems. Six groups of male mice were treated for 35 days with 20% PJ, 40% PJ, 400?mg/kg Al, Al and 20% PJ, Al and 40% PJ or tap water as a control. The exposure of male mice to Al decreased learning and memory retention in the shuttle box, Morris water-maze and T-Maze tests related to significant depletions in neurotransmitters and oxidative proteins. In both low and high doses, PJ has health benefits and reduces aluminum toxicity while protecting learning and memory.[viii]
Aluminum trichloride (AlCl3) exposure has been shown to encourage some behavioral deficits and eventually induces anxiety and depression in rodents. Six groups of male mice were administered PJ and AlCl3 orally for 35 days. The control group received tap water while the PJ groups were treated with 20% and 40% PJ, respectively.
The AlCl3 group was treated with 400 mg/kg/day of AlCl3, and the last two groups were treated with AlCl3 and 20% PJ or 40% PJ, respectively. The results illustrated that the anxiety- and depression-like behaviors induced by AlCl3 exposure in male mice can be ameliorated by PJ treatment, through the inhibition of oxidative damage and minimizing the changes in neurotransmitters and hormonal activity.[ix]
Aluminum chloride (AlCl) was used to induce neurobehavioral and biochemical disorders in a mouse study and PJ treatment reversed AlCl-induced neurotoxicity effects on body weight, neurotransmitters and oxidative stress parameters while improving learning and memory in the AlCl-treated mice even at low concentrations.[x]
Acrylamide is a food processing contaminant and carcinogen found primarily in wheat, rye and potato products such as crackers, breakfast cereals, breads, cakes, pies, French fries, potato chips and other snack products.[xi]
In an animal study, acrylamide exposure increased serum levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT), creatinine, interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 ?) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) significantly, increased the lipid peroxidation marker malondialdehyde (MDA) and lowered antioxidant biomarker activities (glutathione (GSH), superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase and interleukin-10 (IL-10)).
Pomegranate peel extract significantly reduced MDA levels, inflammatory blood markers such as IL-1 ? and IL-6, elevated antioxidant biomarkers (GSH, SOD, IL-10 and catalase) and restored liver damage markers (AST and ALT), showing its powerful antioxidant activity against acrylamide-induced toxicity.[xii]
Both peel and aril phenolic extracts (PPPE and PAPE) were shown to significantly inhibit lipid peroxidation and the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in a study of stressed human bladder cancer cells. Therefore, pomegranate may provide protection against the development of metabolic disorders, cancers, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases due to its antioxidant properties.[xiii]
Inflammation is commonly characterized as a defensive and protective reaction of the body to various internal and external stimuli, which aims to maintain your body’s health. In a comprehensive review of research studies on pomegranate and its component EA, researchers confirmed the presence of important anti-inflammatory, anticancer and antioxidant activities of both pomegranate and EA.[xiv]
Chronic diseases are responsible for approximately 71% of deaths around the world. These diseases are characterized by chronic low-grade inflammation and metabolic alterations. In a systematic review of 88 human clinical trials, functional fruits that regulate inflammation and metabolic parameters included cranberries, grapes, pomegranate and strawberries.[xv]
In a systematic review of 16 studies involving 572 subjects, pomegranate supplementation significantly reduced inflammatory markers of heart disease — particularly heart attacks and strokes — and autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis,[xvi] inflammatory bowel diseases,[xvii] psoriatic arthritis,[xviii] psoriasis, noninfectious uveitis, ankylosing spondylitis and Crohn’s disease.[xix] Significant reductions in high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-?) were found.[xx],[xxi]
Pomegranate — which contains a diverse range of phytochemicals including ellagic acid, punicalagin, pedunculagin, quercetin, rutin, tannic acid, polyphenols, anthocyanins and catechins — plays a strong role in the prevention and treatment of gingival and periodontal diseases due to its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.[xxii]
Pomegranate extract exerted antibacterial activity against periodontal pathogens — Streptococcus (S.) epidermidis, S. aureus, lactobacillus (L.) acidophilus, S. mutans, S. sanguinis and S. salivarius[xxiii] — and its component punicalagin also prevents the development of antibiotic resistance.[xxiv]
In comparison studies of pomegranate versus a standard chlorhexidine mouthwash, pomegranate had a more inhibitory effect (84% versus 79%) against dental bacteria — S. sanguis, S. sobrinus and L. casei[xxv] — increased bacterial cell wall breakage, prevented adhesion of bacteria to the tooth surface, inhibited growth of bacterial enzymes[xxvi] and reduced gingival and bleeding scores.[xxvii]
Thrice daily mouth rinsing with pomegranate extract dissolved in water increased the levels of antioxidant activity and decreased activities of aspartate aminotransferase, which is elevated among periodontitis patients.[xxviii]
Probiotic bacteria were found to decrease the periodontal pathogen burden in the oral biofilm and strengthen epithelial barrier function, which enhances resistance to infections. Punicalagin in pomegranate has been shown to increase probiotic bacteria, especially Bifidobacterium species and Lactobacillus species.[xxix]
Not only is pomegranate a great treatment option for gingivitis and periodontal disease, it also has remarkable wound healing properties. In an animal study, a 10% pomegranate extract with 40% ellagic acid ointment had the most accelerated effect for healing of deep second-degree severe burn wounds.[xxx]
The use of pomegranate seed oil in wound healing was studied in a rat model with results showing pomegranate making a significant difference in levels of inflammation and neovascularization in open wounds within two weeks and the granulation tissue level in the closed wounds was significantly higher within 21 days.[xxxi]
In a rat study of the effects of pomegranate or chamomile on wounds, the combination of the two together in lower concentrations resulted in the most accelerated wound healing closure.[xxxii]
In a series of experiments on the effectiveness of pomegranate seed extract oil and curcumin versus ibuprofen as a control, the wound-healing efficacy of curcumin and pomegranate seed oil combined was better than any of the control combinations or each by itself.[xxxiii]
Healing Aspects of Pomegranate
Pomegranate has been called a “miracle fruit” for its seeds being consumed as food, juice and as a functional food.[xxxiv] Significant scientific and clinical evidence in GreenMedInfo.com’s database highlights pomegranate‘s beneficial neuroprotective, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects.
[i] Healthline.com. Nutrition. 12 Proven Benefits of Pomegranate. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-proven-benefits-of-pomegranate
[ii] Doctors Health Press. Food and Nutrition Articles. Top 10 Health Benefits of Pomegranate. https://www.doctorshealthpress.com/food-and-nutrition-articles/health-benefits-of-pomegranate/
[iii] Panayiota Petrou, Ariel Ginzberg, Orli Binyamin, Dimitrios Karussis. Beneficial effects of a nano formulation of pomegranate seed oil, GranaGard, on the cognitive function of multiple sclerosis patients. Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2021 Sep ;54:103103. Epub 2021 Jun 27. PMID: 34243101
[iv] Akbarian M, Mirzavi F, Amirahmadi S, Hosseini M, Alipour M, Feizi H, Rajabian A. Amelioration of oxidative stress, cholinergic dysfunction, and neuroinflammation in scopolamine-induced amnesic rats fed with pomegranate seed. Inflammopharmacology. 2022 Jun;30(3):1021-1035. doi.org/10.1007/s10787-022-00971-7 Epub 2022 Mar 28. PMID: 35348947.
[v] Vallarino G, Salis A, Lucarini E, Turrini F, Olivero G, Roggeri A, Damonte G, Boggia R, Di Cesare Mannelli L, Ghelardini C, Pittaluga A. Healthy Properties of a New Formulation of Pomegranate-Peel Extract in Mice Suffering from Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis. Molecules. 2022 Jan; 27(3):914. doi: 10.3390/molecules27030914. PMID: 35164175; PMCID: PMC8838218.
[vi] Ma?gorzata Kujawska, Michael Jourdes, ?ukasz Witucki, Marta Kara?niewicz-?ada, Micha? Szulc, Agata Górska, Przemys?aw ? Miko?ajczak, Pierre-Louis Teissedre, Jadwiga Jodynis-Liebert. Pomegranate Juice Ameliorates Dopamine Release and Behavioral Deficits in a Rat Model of Parkinson’s Disease. Brain Sci. 2021 Aug 25 ;11(9). Epub 2021 Aug 25. PMID: 34573149
[vii] Ebru Annaç, Miraç Uçkun, Ahmet Özkaya, Ertan Yolo?lu, H?d?r Pekmez, Özgür Bulmu?, Ali Ayd?n. The protective effects of pomegranate juice on lead acetate-induced neurotoxicity in the male rat: A histomorphometric and biochemical study. J Food Biochem. 2021 Aug 4:e13881. Epub 2021 Aug 4. PMID: 34346512
[viii] Gasem Mohammad Abu-Taweel, Mohsen Ghaleb Al-Mutary (2021) Pomegranate juice rescues developmental, neurobehavioral and biochemical disorders in aluminum chloride-treated male mice, Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology, 2021 Jan; 63:126655, doi.org/10.1016/j.jtemb.2020.126655.
[ix] Gasem Mohammad Abu-Taweel, Mohsen Ghaleb Al-Mutary, Pomegranate juice moderates anxiety- and depression-like behaviors in AlCl3-treated male mice, Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology, 2021 Dec; 68:126842, doi.org/10.1016/j.jtemb.2021.126842
[x] Gasem M Abu-Taweel, Mohsen G Al-Mutary. Pomegranate juice reverses AlCl-Induced neurotoxicity and improves learning and memory in female mice. Environ Res. 2021 Aug ;199:111270. Epub 2021 May 13. PMID: 33992638
[xi] Raffan S, Halford NG. Acrylamide in food: Progress in and prospects for genetic and agronomic solutions. Ann Appl Biol. 2019 Nov;175(3):259-281. doi: 10.1111/aab.12536. Epub 2019 Aug 7. PMID: 31866690; PMCID: PMC6899951
[xii] Samy Sayed, Saqer S Alotaibi, Ahmed M El-Shehawi, Mohamed M Hassan, Mustafa Shukry, Mohamed Alkafafy, Mohamed Mohamed Soliman. The Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Apoptotic, and Antioxidant Effects of a Pomegranate-Peel Extract against Acrylamide-Induced Hepatotoxicity in Rats. Life (Basel). 2022 Jan 31 ;12(2). Epub 2022 Jan 31. PMID: 35207511
[xiii] Benchagra L, Berrougui H, Islam MO, Ramchoun M, Boulbaroud S, Hajjaji A, Fulop T, Ferretti G, Khalil A. Antioxidant Effect of Moroccan Pomegranate (Punica granatum L. Sefri Variety) Extarcts Rich in Punicalagin against Oxidative Stress Process. Foods. 2021; 10(9):2219. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10092219
[xiv] Vafa Baradaran Rahimi, Mobarakeh Ghadiri, Mobina Ramezani, Vahid Reza Askari. Anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activities of pomegranate and its constituent, ellagic acid: Evidence from cellular, animal, and clinical studies. Phytother Res. 2020 Jan 7. Epub 2020 Jan 7. PMID: 31908068
[xv] Julissa Luvián-Morales, Francisco Omar Varela-Castillo, Laura Flores-Cisneros, Lucely Cetina-Pérez, Denisse Castro-Eguiluz. Functional foods modulating inflammation and metabolism in chronic diseases: a systematic review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2021 Jan 28:1-22. Epub 2021 Jan 28. PMID: 33506690
[xvi] Aida Malek Mahdavi, Neda Seyedsadjadi, Zeinab Javadivala. Potential effects of pomegranate (Punica granatum) on rheumatoid arthritis: A systematic review. Int J Clin Pract. 2021 Jan 5:e13999. Epub 2021 Jan 5. PMID: 33400368
[xvii] Levin AD, Wildenberg ME, van den Brink GR. Mechanism of Action of Anti-TNF Therapy in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. J Crohns Colitis. 2016 Aug;10(8):989-97. doi: 10.1093/ecco-jcc/jjw053. Epub 2016 Feb 19. PMID: 26896086.
[xviii] Celis R, Cuervo A, Ramírez J, Cañete JD. Psoriatic Synovitis: Singularity and Potential Clinical Implications. Front Med (Lausanne). 2019 Feb 11;6:14. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2019.00014. PMID: 30805340; PMCID: PMC6378889.
[xix] Adegbola SO, Sahnan K, Warusavitarne J, Hart A, Tozer P. Anti-TNF Therapy in Crohn’s Disease. Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Jul 31;19(8):2244. doi: 10.3390/ijms19082244. PMID: 30065229; PMCID: PMC6121417.
[xx] Jang DI, Lee AH, Shin HY, Song HR, Park JH, Kang TB, Lee SR, Yang SH. The Role of Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha (TNF-?) in Autoimmune Disease and Current TNF-? Inhibitors in Therapeutics. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Mar 8;22(5):2719. doi: 10.3390/ijms22052719. PMID: 33800290; PMCID: PMC7962638.
[xxi] Peng Wang, Qiang Zhang, Huijuan Hou, Zhiyong Liu, Li Wang, Reyhaneh Rasekhmagham, Hamed Kord-Varkaneh, Heitor O Santos, Guangtao Yao. The effects of pomegranate supplementation on biomarkers of inflammation and endothelial dysfunction: A meta-analysis and systematic review. Complement Ther Med. 2020 Mar ;49:102358. Epub 2020 Feb 26. PMID: 32147056
[xxii] Arthiie Thangavelu, Sugumari Elavarasu, Rajasekar Sundaram, Tamilselvan Kumar, Dhivya Rajendran, Fairlin Prem. Ancient Seed for Modern Cure – Pomegranate Review of Therapeutic Applications in Periodontics. J Pharm Bioallied Sci. 2017 Nov ;9(Suppl 1):S11-S14. PMID: 29284927
[xxiii] Abdollahzadeh Sh, Mashouf R, Mortazavi H, Moghaddam M, Roozbahani N, Vahedi M. Antibacterial and antifungal activities of punica granatum peel extracts against oral pathogens. J Dent (Tehran). 2011 Winter;8(1):1-6. Epub 2011 Mar 31. PMID: 21998800; PMCID: PMC3184731.
[xxiv] Prasad D, Kunnaiah R. Punica granatum: A review on its potential role in treating periodontal disease. Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology. 2014 Jul;18(4):428-432. DOI: 10.4103/0972-124x.138678. PMID: http://europepmc.org/article/MED/25210254; PMCID: PMC4158581.
[xxv] Pereira JV, Pereira MS, Sampo FC, Sampio MC, Alves PM, Araujo CR, et al. In vitro antibacterial and adherence effect of the extract of Punica granatum Linn upon dental biofilm microorganisms. J Braz Pharmacogn 2006;16:88-93.DOI: 10.1590/S0102-695X2006000100016
[xxvi] Kote S, Kote S, Nagesh L. Effect of pomegranate juice on dental plaque microorganisms (streptococci and lactobacilli). Anc Sci Life. 2011 Oct;31(2):49-51. PMID: 23284205; PMCID: PMC3530267.
[xxvii] Bhadbhade SJ, Acharya AB, Rodrigues SV, Thakur SL. The antiplaque efficacy of pomegranate mouthrinse. Quintessence Int. 2011 Jan;42(1):29-36. PMID: 21206931.
[xxviii] DiSilvestro RA, DiSilvestro DJ, DiSilvestro DJ. Pomegranate extract mouth rinsing effects on saliva measures relevant to gingivitis risk. Phytotherapy Research : PTR. 2009 Aug;23(8):1123-1127. DOI: 10.1002/ptr.2759. PMID: 19170139.
[xxix] Bialonska D, Ramnani P, Kasimsetty SG, Muntha KR, Gibson GR, Ferreira D, et al. The influence of pomegranate by-product and punicalagins on selected groups of human intestinal microbiota. Int J Food Microbiol 2010;140:175-82.
[xxx] Bambang Sektiari Lukiswanto, Alya Miranti, Sri Agus Sudjarwo, Hardany Primarizky, Wiwik Misaco Yuniarti. Evaluation of wound healing potential of pomegranate () whole fruit extract on skin burn wound in rats (). J Adv Vet Anim Res. 2019 Jun ;6(2):202-207. Epub 2019 Apr 14. PMID: 31453192
[xxxi] A Nilhan Atsü Md, Zeynep Tosuner Md, Tayfun Bilgiç Md. Evaluation of the Effect of Pomegranate Seed Oil on Healing in a Rat Wound Model With Antioxidant, Vascular, and Histopathological Parameters. Int J Low Extrem Wounds. 2021 Aug 31:15347346211040593. Epub 2021 Aug 31. PMID: 34463139
[xxxii] Somayeh Niknam, Zahra Tofighi, Mohammad Ali Faramarzi, Mohammad Amin Abdollahifar, Ensieh Sajadi, Rassoul Dinarvand, Tayebeh Toliyat. Polyherbal combination for wound healing: Matricaria chamomilla L. and Punica granatum L. Daru. 2021 May 9. Epub 2021 May 9. PMID: 33966255
[xxxiii] Ebru Uzunhisarc?kl?, Mükerrem Betül Yerer. Role of oil and pomegranate seed oil in wound healing: an study. Z Naturforsch C J Biosci. 2021 Sep 1. Epub 2021 Sep 1. PMID: 34469641
[xxxiv] Fahmy H , Hegazi N , El-Shamy S , Farag MA . Pomegranate juice as a functional food: a comprehensive review of its polyphenols, therapeutic merits, and recent patents. Food Funct. 2020 Jul 1;11(7):5768-5781. doi: 10.1039/d0fo01251c. Epub 2020 Jul 1. PMID: 32608443.
Originally published at Global Healing Center and reproduced here with permission.
About the author:
Dr. Edward F. Group III (DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM) founded Global Healing Center in 1998 with the goal of providing the highest quality natural health information and products. He is world-renowned for his research on the root cause of disease. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center earned recognition as one of the largest natural and organic health resources in the world. Dr. Group is a veteran of the United States Army and has attended both Harvard and MIT business schools. He is a best-selling author and a frequent guest on radio and television programs, documentary films, and in major publications.
Dr. Group centers his philosophy around the understanding that the root cause of disease stems from the accumulation of toxins in the body and is exacerbated by daily exposure to a toxic living environment. He believes it is his personal mission to teach and promote philosophies that produce good health, a clean environment, and positive thinking. This, he believes, can restore happiness and love to the world.
For more, please visit Global Healing Center.