DNC News

Pomegranates:

 

Subject: Pomegranate juices and extracts play a role in treating high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, breast and prostate cancer.

 

I've never been one for eating pomegranates. Sure they look pretty but they are bothersome and troublesome things. Even you finally get the seeds out and into your mouth it seems that there is more seed than juice. I can't think of the last time that I actually ate a whole one.

 

Archaeologically pomegranates were one of the first fruits cultivated in the world. Originally domesticated from a wild fruit somewhere between Iraq and Turkey they spread throughout the Middle East in prehistoric times. They figure prominently in all the early religious and medical texts. Current scholars tell us that it was a pomegranate that Eve handed Adam, not an apple.

 

Current science has shown that there are a great many benefits to these seedy things. It turns out that pomegranates contain polyphenols that are potent antioxidants; three times the antioxidant effect of red wine or green tea. [1] The effect of these chemicals may provide superprotection against things like heart disease and cancer. Heart Disease prevention trials are underway in Chicago and Cancer intervention studies are underway for prostate cancer out of Los Angeles .

 

Luckily in the studies people aren't being forced to chew down mouthful after mouthful of seeds. Instead they are using pomegranate juice. The juice is coming from a California manufacturer (see their very nice website at PomWonderful.com). You can find their pomegranate juice at King Soopers. If you are a cheap skate, we've got discount coupons at the office. (75 cents off a bottle)

 

The research is intriguing. Most of the current research has come from Israel . Michael Aviram and his group in Haifa have published a number of papers. They have shown that pomegranate juice reduces the various parameters that lead to heart disease: it reduces macrophage lipid peroxidation, cholesterol accumulation and the development of atherosclerosis. [2] [3] [4]

 

In one of their studies, people with high blood pressure were given daily 50 ml daily “doses” of pomegranate juice for two weeks. They experienced a 36% decrease in Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) and a resultant 5% drop in systolic blood pressure. [5] There are about 250 ml in a cup; 50 ml is just a bit less than a ¼ cup per day.

 

 

Another Israeli, Dr. Ephraim Lansky has focused on pomegranates effect on cancer. You may recall earlier newsletters in which I extolled the potential roll of raspberries in cancer treatment because they contained large amounts of ellagic acid. In another letter I mentioned Lansky's work because pomegranates turned out to be an excellent source of ellagic acid. It isn't that simple. Pomegranates contain a number of different chemicals which play a roll besides ellagic acid. Pomegranate polyphenols act as aromatase inhibitors blocking the synthesis of estrogen. They are able to inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells. Lansky has tried various extracts: the oil from the seeds, juice, wine and an extract from the pericarp (the thick skin that surrounds the seeds).

 

In Lansky's work, the juice was only minimally effective, but fermentation (pomegranate wine) liberated the active chemicals making it very effective. [6] He is behind the sale of a fermented pomegranate extract called Cardiogranate. Cardiogranate is a mixture of concentrated fermented pomegranate juice, watery extract of organically grown pomegranate peels, concentrated fresh pomegranate juice and honey. It is designed to deliver the antioxidant protective effects of a daily glass of pomegranate juice in just two teaspoons of elixir. You can purchase Cardiogranate and other exotic pomegranate extracts by mail from the http://www.rimonest.com/shop.html .

 

I am very interested in these products and I expect at some point soon we may start stocking them at the office.

 

 

[1] Gil MI, Tomas-Barberan FA, Hess-Pierce B, Holcroft DM, Kader AAAntioxidant activity of pomegranate juice and its relationship with phenolic composition and processing. J Agric Food Chem. 2000 Oct;48(10):4581-9

[2] Kaplan M, Hayek T, Raz A, Coleman, Dornfeld L, Vaya J, Aviram M. Pomegranate juice supplementation to atherosclerotic mice reduces macrophage lipid peroxidation, cellular cholesterol accumulation and development of atherosclerosis. Biochemical and Molecular Action of Nutrients May 8, 2001

[3] Viram M, Dornfeld L, Kaplan M, et al. Pomegranate juice flavonoids inhibit low-density lipoprotein oxidation and cardiovascular diseases: studies in atherosclerotic mice and humans Drugs under experimental and clinical Research Vol XXVIII, NO 2/3 49-62 (2002)

[4] Aviram M et al. Pomegranate juice consumption reduces oxidative stress, atherogenic modifications to LDL, and platelet aggregation: studies in humans and in atherosclerotic apolipoprotein E-deficient mice. Am J Clin Nutr 2000:71-1062-76

[5] Aviram M, Dornfeld L, Pomegranate juice consumption inhibits serum angiotensin converting enzyme activity and reduces systolic blood pressure Atherosclerosis 158 (2001) 195-198

[6] Kim ND, Mehta R, Yu W, Neeman I, Livney T, Amichay A, Poirier D, Nicholls P, Kirby A, Jiang W, Mansel R, Ramachandran C, Rabi T, Kaplan B, Lansky E. Chemopreventive and adjuvant therapeutic potential of pomegranate (Punica granatum) for human breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2002 Feb;71(3):203-17.





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