Animal Study Shows Pomegranate Action on Blood Flow

October 14, 2013

A preclinical trial shows first-ever in vivo evidence of the fruit's mechanisms of action on endothelial function.

Pomegranate researchers say they have uncovered, for the first time, in vivo evidence of pomegranate’s mechanisms of action on endothelial function.

A number of studies suggest that pomegranate and its extracts can support healthy endothelial function, the ability of blood vessels to constrict and dilate for blood flow. The common hypothesis here is that pomegranate antioxidants, especially punicalagins, perform a variety of helpful roles that result in lower plaque formation and less cellular oxidation.

In a study involving ingredient supplier Probeltebio (Murcia, Spain), researchers assigned 24 pigs to a normal or high-cholesterol diet. For 10 days, all pigs supplemented with the company’s Pomanox pomegranate extract, standardized for 200 mg of punicalagins. Even though the high-cholesterol diet (as expected) compromised endothelial function and induced oxidative damage, incorporating Pomanox into the diet apparently “neutralized” any negative effects of the added cholesterol. The high-cholesterol pigs, according to the research team, “barely showed the vasodilating capacity of their arteries diminished in relation to the control animals.”

Levels of an inflammatory marker called MCP-1 significantly decreased in all of these pigs, and their stores of HDL and LDL cholesterol even showed increased resistance to oxidation.

“The study has demonstrated for the first time at a preclinical level that a diet rich in pomegranate polyphenols, in the form of Pomanox extracts, helps in preventing pathologies and dysfunctions associated with cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure,” said Probeltebio director of R&D Marcos Peñalver, PhD.

Probeltebio creates Pomanox through a water extraction of Spanish pomegranates. The ingredient is available locally through American Ingredients Inc. (Kearny, NJ). The study is pending publication in European Heart Journal.