Life Extension Magazine
Pomegranates Protection For Aging Arteries
By Tiesha D. Johnson, BSN, RN
Every year, more than a million Americans are struck down by a heart attack or stroke. For many, sudden death will be their first—and last—symptom of undetected vascular disease. Those lucky enough to survive often face invasive procedures like angioplasty and coronary bypass surgery, followed by a lifetime of curtailed physical activity and costly heart medications.
If you trust your vascular health to mainstream doctors, you may be gambling with your life. Although cardiovascular disease remains the nation’s number-one killer, American medicine prioritizes heart disease treatment rather than prevention. Sadly, it has become far more profitable to treat heart disease than to prevent it.
Fortunately, natural strategies that can help avert life-threatening heart attacks and strokes are readily available today. One of the most promising heart-protective agents to emerge in recent years is pomegranate. Packed with unique antioxidants that guard the body’s endothelial cells against free-radical assault, pomegranate has been shown to prevent—and even reverse—cardiovascular disease.
Research also shows that pomegranate can stop the progression of deadly prostate cancer. And scientists are now exploring pomegranate’s potential in averting ailments ranging from diabetes to Alzheimer’s disease, as well as its role in supporting skin, joint, dental, and liver health.
In this article, we examine the growing volume of research that attests to pomegranate’s myriad health-promoting properties—particularly its role in safeguarding the delicate endothelial cells that line blood vessels and are so critical to preserving optimal vascular function in aging adults.
Pomegranate: Powerful Support for Cardiovascular Health
Approximately 71 million Americans suffer from cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension (high blood pressure), coronary artery disease, a history of stroke, or peripheral vascular disease (impaired blood flow to the extremities). Atherosclerosis—a disease of the blood vessels, characterized by inflammation, vascular endothelial cell dysfunction, and impaired nitric oxide production—is a major component of cardiovascular disease.
In both laboratory and clinical studies, pomegranate shows great promise in averting the numerous pathological changes associated with cardiovascular disease. Scientists believe pomegranate works through several mechanisms to fight cardiovascular disease by:
reducing oxidative stress
supporting the synthesis and activity of nitric oxide
inhibiting the oxidation of potentially harmful LDL (low-density lipoprotein).
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Harvard Health Publication
Health benefit of pomegranate juice on prostate cancer and the heart.
Harvard Men’s Health Watch
BOSTON — Few American men have heard of the pomegranate, and fewer still have eaten this curious-looking fruit loaded with red seeds. But new scientific findings suggest that pomegranates may one day find a place in healthful diets, reports the April 2007 issue of Harvard Men’s Health Watch.
Two recent studies suggest that pomegranate juice may help fight prostate cancer. In one study, scientists grew cells from highly aggressive cases of human prostate cancer in tissue cultures. Pomegranate fruit extracts slowed the growth of the cultured cancer cells and promoted cell death. The researchers then implanted the cancer cells in mice. A group of mice that received water laced with pomegranate juice developed significantly smaller tumors than the untreated animals. In a preliminary study of men with prostate cancer, pomegranate juice lengthened patients’ PSA doubling time (the longer the doubling time, the slower the tumor is growing) from 15 months before treatment to 54 months on the juice.
Preliminary results in test tubes, animals, and humans suggest that pomegranates may also have beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease. Studies show that pomegranate juice can protect LDL (bad) cholesterol from oxidative damage. The juice has also been shown to slow the progression of plaques in mice with atherosclerosis. Results from two small clinical studies are even more intriguing, showing that carotid artery thickness decreased and cardiac blood flow improved in pomegranate juice drinkers. However, preliminary research also suggests that pomegranate juice may interact with certain medications, much like grapefruit juice does.
The bottom line: Early studies raise hopes that pomegranates may have potential benefits for prostate cancer and heart disease, but more research is needed to determine whether these hopes are justified. Click Harvard Health Publication for more.
Green Med Info
How To Clean Your Arteries With One Simple Fruit
by Sayer Ji | Founder
The future of cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment will not be found in your medicine cabinet, rather in your kitchen cupboard or in your back yard growing on a tree. Pomegranate Found To Prevent Coronary Artery Disease Progression. A new study published in the journal Atherosclerosis confirms that pomegranate extract may prevent and/or reverse the primary pathology associated with cardiac mortality: the progressive thickening of the coronary arteries caused by the accumulation of fatty materials known as atherosclerosis.[i]
Mice with a genetic susceptibility towards spontaneous coronary artery blockages were given pomegranate extract via their drinking water for two weeks, beginning at three weeks of age. Despite the fact that pomegranate treatment actually increased cholesterol levels associated with very low density lipoprotein-sized particles, the treatment both reduced the size of the atherosclerotic plaques in the aortic sinus (the dilated opening above the aortic valve) and reduced the proportion of coronary arteries with occlusive atherosclerotic plaques.
Remarkably, the researchers also found that pomegranate extract treatment resulted in the following beneficial effects:
- Reduced levels of oxidative stress
- Reduced monocytie chemotactic protein-1, a chemical messenger (chemokine) associated with inflammatory processes within the arteries.
- Reduced lipid accumulation in the heart muscle
- Reduced macrophage infiltration in the heart muscle
- Reduced levels of monocyte chemotactic protein-1 and fibrosis in the myocardium
- Reduced cardiac enlargement
- Reduced ECG abnormalities
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