Consumers are interested in whether there are non-drug approaches that reverse atherosclerosis caused by aging. According to medical journal articles touting studies showing the ability of consumed pomegranate juice and a natural superoxide dismutase (SOD) -enhancing agent called GliSODin® to reverse “carotoid artery ultrasound markers” of hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) better than any prescribed commercial drug.
December is pomegranate season. But can consumers use pomegranate extract to help reverse hardening of the arteries? That depends on what the research reports. And as more research continues, readers want to know what do scientists, doctors, and researchers think about the health benefits of pomegranate extract using the flowers, seeds, skin, and juice of pomegranates, now that the season is here where there are plenty of pomegranates in supermarkets during December? Can pomegranate juice and/or pulp clean out your stuffed up arteries to some extent?
See Life Extension Magazine, July 2007, “Reversing Atherosclerosis Naturally,” by Dale Kiefer. The article notes, “In the past seven years alone, the amount of published research on pomegranate has increased seven-fold over all preceding years in the medical and scientific literature.” You can read the literature and ask also who funded the studies and why. Then think for yourself. Can pomegranate help you lower the risk or slow down the risk of hardening of the arteries, particularly in your neck?
The primary source for Life Extension Magazine’s article’s conclusion is the medical journal study by Lansky EP, Newman RA. Punica granatum (pomegranate) and its potential for prevention and treatment of inflammation and cancer. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2007 Jan 19;109(2):177-206.
Also see the article on SOD and oxidative stress titled, “Oxidative stress and antioxidants: how to assess a risk or a prevention?” Science is looking at fruit juices, nutrients, and even hormones that slow the progression of hardening of the arteries and inflammation of the arteries.
Can fruit juice or rather the extract of the seeds, stems, leaves, and fruit (and not just the juice with its high sugar content and water) actually reverse existing artery calcification, possibly due to a high LDL level of calcium in the blood instead of the bones? Without drugs, can a whole food reverse atherosclerosis? If atherosclerosis is caused by aging, it’s not the years that cause it because there are older people who don’t have either arteries hardened by calcium deposits or plaque made of fats. Hardening of the arties actually is caused by endothelial dysfunction.
And endothelial dysfunction can be slowed by certain natural forms of vitamins A, C, and E, provided the E vitamin contains all eight toctrienols, vitamin C is in its whole food state, and A is in a natural form of betacarotene obtained from natural foods with carotenoids.
Does the reversing process work?
To reverse hardening of the arteries you have to first halt the process and then reverse the calcium and other materials in the plaque that has narrowed arteries for decades. Let’s say you have an ultrasound test of the carotid arteries in your neck.
It gives you a reading of the blockage by measuring the thickness of the carotid artery walls. You can ask for an IMT, also called an “intima-media thickness test.” When your LDL cholesterol is high, it means calcium is flowing into your bloodstream to clog your arteries instead of being deposited in your bones. Your balance of multiple minerals going in your body isn’t quite right.
Before you start planning the next step, first read the article from the Journal of Nutrition. 2001 Aug; 131(8):2082-9, Aviram M, Rosenblat M, Gaitini D, et al. “Pomegranate juice consumption for 3 years by patients with carotid artery stenosis reduces common carotid intima-media thickness, blood pressure and LDL oxidation.” Also see an article in the scientific journal titled, Clinical Nutrition. 2004 Jun;23(3):423-33.
In a controlled study involving people with severe carotid artery narrowing (stenosis), one group drank pomegranate juice with conventional drugs such as statins and high blood pressure medications. The other group didn’t consume any pomegranate but were on the same type and doses of drugs. The findings observed in the pomegranate group showed that the severe carotid artery narrowing had been reversed.
The study lasted three years, but what about people who don’t want to take drugs and just drink the pomegranate juice? Will the juice reverse the calcium and fat deposits in their narrow carotid arteries without any drugs? It’s difficult to get funding for people not taking drugs and just drinking pomegranate juice or taking some other nutrients with the pomegranate.
If you take away the drugs and give both groups just juice to drink and similar meals with the juice, will the arteries clean themselves? That’s the question, since studies usually involve people on conventional drugs rather than on juicing diets.
How many studies look at patients that stepped away from conventional medicine and are willing to drink certain amounts of various juices to see what the pomegranate or other juices are doing to their arteries? And how does pomegranate work on people over age 65 with similar issues who are not on drugs?
Read for yourself a few of the numerous medical articles that have tested pomegranate for its ability to reverse hardening of the carotid arteries include the following studies. Also find out what studies are coming up in the near future.
Here is a list of some of the studies that look place in the last decade. Cloarec M, Caillard P, Provost JC, et al. GliSODin, a vegetal sod with gliadin, as preventative agent vs. atherosclerosis, as confirmed with carotid ultrasound-B imaging. European Annals of Allergy Clinical Immunology. 2007 Feb;39(2):45-50.de NF, Williams-Ignarro S, Sica V, et al. Also see the study’s abstract, “GliSODin, a vegetal sod with gliadin, as preventative agent vs. atherosclerosis, as confirmed with carotid ultrasound-B imaging.” When you read studies on pomegranates or any other plant, find out who did the research and whether they were associated with the industry that grows any given fruit or vegetable. Was it an independent third party?
According to that study, researchers reported that supplementation with GliSODin, a vegetal SOD associated with gliadin, was effective in controlling the thickness of the carotid artery intima and media layers as measured by ultrasonography-B.” Researchers could demonstrate “the preventive efficacy of GliSODin at a preclinical stage in subjects with risk factors of cardiovascular disease.”
Resources: Studies on health benefits of pomegranates
1. Pomegranate juice consumption for 3 years by patients with carotid artery stenosis reduces common carotid intima-media thickness, blood pressure and LDL oxidation. Clinical Nutrition. 2004 Jun;23(3):423-33.
2. Pomegranate juice supplementation to atherosclerotic mice reduces macrophage-lipid peroxidation, cellular cholesterol accumulation and development of atherosclerosis. Journal of Nutrition. 2001 Aug; 131(8):2082-9.Aviram M, Rosenblat M, Gaitini D, et al.
3. Effects of a Pomegranate Fruit Extract rich in punicalagin on oxidation-sensitive genes and eNOS activity at sites of perturbed shear stress and atherogenesis. Cardiovascular Research. 2007 Jan 15;73(2):414-23. Kaplan M, Hayek T, Raz A, et al.
4. Beneficial effects of pomegranate juice on oxidation-sensitive genes
5. Feb 07 Pomegranate Reverses Atherosclerosis and Slows the Progression Prostate Cancer