Pomegranate - "The Fruit Of Immortality"
By Nilesh Patel, NOW Quality Assurance Department
Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) [Family: Punicaceae] fruit was called "The Fruit of Immortality" by the ancient Egyptians. Pomegranate is cultivated widely throughout Southeast Asia. In ancient times, the Greeks and Egyptians used pomegranate to heal many ailments. Pomegranate is one of nature's oldest remedies to relieve infections, intestinal parasites, chronic mucous discharges and hemorrhages. It was considered the fruit of the gods and was regarded as a symbol of fertility due to its round shape and abundant seeds.
More recently, Pomegranate extract has demonstrated a variety of beneficial functions including antioxidant and anti-viral activity. In 1996, a University of Nottingham Research team learned that pomegranate extract could destroy several viruses nearly on contact. The active constituent that appears to be responsible for its multiple health benefits is Ellagic acid (EA). EA is a naturally occurring phenolic compound (tannins) in many plants, fruits and nuts such as strawberry, red raspberry, blueberry, blackberries, walnuts, and pomegranate. The antioxidants of Pomegranate may enhance cardiovascular health, support the prevention of tumor cells and detoxify intestinal parasites. In addition, EA may help in retaining the integrity of collagen (vital to maintaining skin-structure).
Moderate consumption of pomegranate juice may also help fight heart disease. In studies of healthy human subjects and mice with atherosclerosis showed significant clinical results. According to studies at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, the cholesterol oxidation process (a process linked to the formation of atherosclerotic lesions) was slowed by as much as 40% when healthy subjects drank 2-3 ounces of pomegranate juice a day for two weeks. Further, the juice reduced the retention of LDL, the "bad" cholesterol (The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition).
"Pomegranates are proving to be the most powerful antioxidant available, better than red wine, tomatoes, vitamin E and a variety of other headline makers," says Prof. Michael Aviram, an internationally recognized authority on the effect of food on heart disease. Using sections of excised human arteries, Dr. Aviram has shown that the active ingredient in pomegranates not only slows down cholesterol oxidation, but actually minimizes the retention and aggregation of LDL cholesterol, two additional processes that create atherosclerotic lesions. When the subjects stopped drinking the pomegranate juice, the beneficial effects lasted for about a month.
EA is very stable and readily absorbed through the GI system in mammals, including humans. Additional phenolic compound, such as anthocyanidins—well-known scavengers of free radicals— found in pomegranate synergistically increases pomegranate's potency as an antioxidant as evidenced by the high ORAC value.
NOW® Foods has recently introduced Pomeratrol™ Vcaps with Pomegranate extract (40% Ellagic acid & 80% total polyphenols), with trans-reseveratrol as the synergist in the formula.
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