Antioxidant and Antiatherogenic Effects of Pomegranate

Stacy L. Haber, Pharm.D; Jamie K. Joy, Pharm.D; Roxanne Largent, Pharm.D

Disclosures

Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2011;68(14):1302-1305. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Introduction

Pomegranate, or Punica granatum, has been used for many years as a food and medicinal agent in Asia and South America.[1] In the United States, it is typically made into a juice, or the seeds are consumed as a food. One pomegranate fruit contains about 40% of an adult's recommended daily requirement of vitamin C and is high in polyphenol compounds, which have been suggested to be involved in many diseases. Historically, pomegranate has been used as an anthelmintic and antidiarrheal agent but in recent years has grown in popularity due to its reported antioxidant properties.[1] This article summarizes the human studies that have investigated the antioxidant and antiatherogenic effects of pomegranate.

The pomegranate plant contains alkaloids, mannite, ellagic acid, and gallic acid, and the bark and rind contain various tannins.[1,2] The polyphenols in pomegranate are believed to provide the anti-oxidant activity and protect low-density lipoprotein (LDL) against cell-mediated oxidation directly by interaction with the lipoprotein and indirectly by accumulation in arterial macrophages. The inner and outer rinds of the fruit contain more polyphenols than the seeds and juice, and commercially prepared pomegranate juice has been found to have more rind constituents and stronger antioxidant effects than hand-processed juice.[1,2] In addition, pomegranate juice may cause antihypertensive effects by decreasing angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) activity.[1,3]

A literature search of MEDLINE (1950–May 2010) and International Pharmaceutical Abstracts (1970–May 2010) using the terms pomegranate, pomegranates, punicaceae, and Punica granatum (with limits for "human and clinical trial, all") identified 10 non-pharmacokinetic, human studies that investigated the clinical antioxidant and antiatherogenic effects of pomegranate. The reference lists of all retrieved articles were reviewed for additional pertinent citations.

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