Pomegranate is a fruit that consists of a strong outer layer with about 600 arenas, which contain the edible part of the fruit, the seeds. It is full of antioxidants, which protect cells from oxidative damage due to natural biochemical processes and daily exposure to environmental toxins. They can also help prevent and repair DNA damage that can lead to cancer, and research has found that pomegranate juice can also benefit prostate and heart health.

Pomegranate as a supplement comes in many forms, including capsules, gum, powder and juice containing pomegranate extract derived from seeds, juice, peel, leaves and flowers.

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Health benefits

Rich in polyphenols, pomegranates offer many health benefits due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of these micronutrients. Pomegranate supplements can help treat risk factors for many diseases, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, oxidative stress, hyperglycemia and inflammation.

Inflammation

All pomegranate flavonoids show antioxidant activity by indirect inhibition of inflammatory markers such as tumor necrosis factor. In a review of several animal or cell culture studies, the researchers found that pomegranate juice or its extract had a positive effect on rheumatoid arthritis. However, more research is needed to support this benefit in humans.

Blood pressure

Pomegranate juice is said to inhibit the activity of the serum angiotensin converting enzyme, which can help lower systolic blood pressure. Several studies have shown that pomegranate juice lowers blood pressure in hypertensive and normotensive populations. However, another study showed that an additional three months of pomegranate juice did not significantly affect blood pressure in patients with coronary heart disease.

Heart Health

The antioxidants in pomegranate juice can help keep cholesterol in a form that is less harmful and can also reduce plaque buildup in dishes, according to some research.

In a study of healthy men, researchers from Israel concluded that pomegranate juice reduces the likelihood of LDL, the cholesterol that forms plaque, and that it improves HDL, the good cholesterol. Another study showed a decrease in the development of arteriosclerosis (accumulation of plaque on the walls of arteries) in rats whose diets were supplemented with pomegranate juice.

Bacteria and Fungi

Pomegranates have been used to treat infections for a long time. In Ayurvedic medicine, pomegranate extracts, fruit peel and tree bark were used to treat dysentery and diarrhea.

Small studies have seen the antibacterial effects of pomegranate on some drug-resistant bacterial strains. In a study conducted with guinea pigs, an oil prepared with pomegranate peel was applied to their wounds for 12 days and significantly improved wound healing by increasing the synthesis of collagen, DNA and proteins. The extract exhibited significant antibacterial activity against wound bacteria.

In another study of 35 Wistar rats with oral candidiasis, a fungus that accumulates in the oral mucosa, the rats were treated with three different concentrations of pomegranate peel extract and nystatin. Despite the concentration of pomegranate peel extract, the researchers noticed a noticeable improvement after 15 days of treatment with no negative side effects.

Bleeding

According to some studies, dietary nitrates can positively affect blood circulation and exercise performance. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 19 men and women examined how pomegranate extract might affect blood flow, vessel diameter, and exercise performance. Participants had a mean age of 22 years and were randomly assigned to placebo or pomegranate extract.

Blood flow was increased in participants receiving pomegranate extract compared with those receiving placebo. Moreover, the diameter of the container was significantly larger in the pomegranate extract group. The researchers found that taking pomegranate extract 30 minutes before exercise can increase vessel diameter, blood flow and delay fatigue during exercise.

Side effects

In general, pomegranate supplementation does not appear to have negative side effects, but some individuals may have gastrointestinal sensitivities that may lead to diarrhea. Pomegranate juice is generally considered safe, as is pomegranate extract. However, when ingested in large portions, pomegranate roots, stems and leaves may not be safe.

There is little evidence as if drinking pomegranate juice or taking pomegranate extract is harmful during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Check with your doctor before starting any pomegranate supplement to make sure it is safe for you to use.

Dosage and Preparation

While pomegranate in its natural state is a good source of vitamins C and K as well as potassium and punicalagin (antioxidant phytochemicals), pomegranate supplements contain other ingredients that vary from brand to brand.

The Food and Drug Administration recommends the following daily values:

  • Vitamin C: 90 mg
  • Vitamin K: 120 mcg
  • Potassium: 4700 mcg

You may need to consume more or less a certain food, drink or supplement to meet the recommended daily values.

What to Look for

When looking at supplement labels, you may find that one type of pomegranate supplement may include a certain percentage of the extract along with a mixture of flowers, seed oil, and a percentage of punic acid. Other ingredients that may be in a tablet or gel capsule may include sunflower oil, glycerin, gelatin, beeswax, and sunflower lecithin. Some brands may have added cranberry and cranberry extract and ellagic acid (another phytochemical antioxidant found in pomegranate and other fruits and vegetables).

Under the Food, Drugs and Cosmetics Act, a dietary ingredient is defined as a vitamin, mineral, herb or other dietary botanical substance or amino acid to supplement your diet by increasing your total dietary intake. But unlike medicines, supplements are not intended to be used to treat, prevent or cure disease.

What drugs does pomegranate interact with?

While some juices, such as grapefruit juice, may interact with medications such as those prescribed to treat cholesterol, it is unclear what the risks are with pomegranate and certain medications.

In a study of liver cells, pomegranate juice inhibited cytochrome P450 3A, a key enzyme for drug metabolism. Further, the American Heart Association warns that statin and pomegranate-based cholesterol medications can be a dangerous mixture.

If you are concerned about any prescription medications that may interact with a supplement or pomegranate juice, it is a good idea to ask your doctor if you may need to eliminate it.