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2 Benefits of Pomegranate + Antioxidants & New Research

Written by Puya Yazdi, MD | Last updated:
Medically reviewed by
SelfDecode Science Team | Written by Puya Yazdi, MD | Last updated:

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Delicious and packed with antioxidants, pomegranate has promise for heart health and dental plaque. Learn about the latest research on this amazing fruit here.

What is Pomegranate?

The pomegranate fruit has a leathery rind (or husk) with many little pockets of edible seeds and juice inside. Researchers have studied all parts of this fruit for their potential health benefits. Those parts include the fruit, seeds, seed oil, tannin-rich peel, root, leaf, and flower [1].

It has been used as a dietary supplement for various conditions including wounds, sore throats, and diarrhea. Pomegranate is made into capsules, extracts, teas, powders, and juice products [1].

Potential Benefits of Pomegranate

Pomegranate is safe to eat as food, but supplements have not been approved by the FDA for medical use and generally lack solid clinical research. Regulations set manufacturing standards for them but don’t guarantee that they’re safe or effective. Speak with your doctor before supplementing.

Possibly Effective For

1) Heart Health

Pomegranate juice is a great source of polyphenols with high antioxidant potential. Moreover, it also stops plaque build-up in the arteries, lowers blood pressure, and has anti-inflammatory effects.

In multiple clinical studies, pomegranate juice modestly but significantly reduced blood pressure [2, 3, 4].

Punicic acid, which is the main constituent of pomegranate seed oil, prevented plaque build-up in the arteries of 51 patients with high blood lipid levels. The seed oil also greatly lowered cholesterol levels in these same patients [2].

Insufficient Evidence For

The following purported benefits are only supported by limited, low-quality clinical studies. There is insufficient evidence to support the use of pomegranate for any of the below-listed uses. Remember to speak with a doctor before using pomegranate for health reasons, and do not use it in place of something your doctor recommends or prescribes.

2) Dental Plaque

A mouthwash made with pomegranate extract reduced dental plaque in 60 healthy volunteers [5].

Bacteria bacterial interactions with yeasts are related to the maintenance of oral microbiota. Dried, powdered pomegranate peel shows a strong inhibition of C. Albicans. In addition, its extract was very effective against dental plaque microorganisms [2].

Animal & Cell Research (Lacking Evidence)

No clinical evidence supports the use of pomegranate for any of the conditions listed in this section. Below is a summary of the existing animal and cell-based research, which should guide further investigational efforts. However, the studies listed below should not be interpreted as supportive of any health benefit.

3) Arthritis

Arthritis affects joint function and quality of life in patients. Proinflammatory cytokines such as IL-1 and TNF-α causes joint pain. MAPKs are important due to their inflammatory and cartilage damage regulation. Pomegranate extract, with its rich source of polyphenols, has anti-inflammatory activity [2].

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that affects 0.5-1% of people worldwide. This inflammatory disease causes inflammation and bone erosion. The extract could reduce the onset and incidence of collagen-induced arthritis in mice. The severity of arthritis and joint inflammation got lower in extract-fed mice [2].

4) Antimicrobial Activity

Since bacterial resistance to antimicrobial drugs is increasing, medicinal plants can be alternative agents. Dried powder of pomegranate peel has a high inhibition of Candida albicans. In addition, both its extracts have antimicrobial effects [2].

5) Skin Health

Solar ultraviolet radiation is the primary cause of many biological effects such as photoaging and skin cancer. This radiation can cause DNA damage and problems with proteins [2].

The use of both its extract and flower showed a significant reduction in wound area in diabetic rats. It also increased collagen and protein formation [2].

6) Fertility

One of the main constituents (16%) of the pomegranate seed extract is beta-sitosterol. This protects mice embryos. Moreover, juice consumption could increase sperm concentration, motility, and help increase fertility [2].

Cancer Research

Polyphenols of fermented juice and its oil can inhibit the multiplication of cancer cells. The fruit extract also inhibited tumor growth in mice [2].

Fermented pomegranate juice has double the effect compared to fresh juice in human breast cancer cell lines. It stopped the multiplication of the cancer cells [2].

The fruit extract can also inhibit several signaling pathways, which can be used in the treatment of human lung cancer [2].

Its oil also has chemopreventive efficacy in mice. It reduced tumor formation and the number of tumors [2].

Inflammation plays a key role in the development of colon cancer. Both ellagitannins and urolithins from the fruit extract inhibited cancer cell proliferation and increase cancer cell death [6].

The relevance of cell and animal research on human cancer is unknown.

About the Author

Puya Yazdi

Puya Yazdi

Dr. Puya Yazdi is a physician-scientist with 14+ years of experience in clinical medicine, life sciences, biotechnology, and nutraceuticals.
As a physician-scientist with expertise in genomics, biotechnology, and nutraceuticals, he has made it his mission to bring precision medicine to the bedside and help transform healthcare in the 21st century. He received his undergraduate education at the University of California at Irvine, a Medical Doctorate from the University of Southern California, and was a Resident Physician at Stanford University. He then proceeded to serve as a Clinical Fellow of The California Institute of Regenerative Medicine at The University of California at Irvine, where he conducted research of stem cells, epigenetics, and genomics. He was also a Medical Director for Cyvex Nutrition before serving as president of Systomic Health, a biotechnology consulting agency, where he served as an expert on genomics and other high-throughput technologies. His previous clients include Allergan, Caladrius Biosciences, and Omega Protein. He has a history of peer-reviewed publications, intellectual property discoveries (patents, etc.), clinical trial design, and a thorough knowledge of the regulatory landscape in biotechnology. He is leading our entire scientific and medical team in order to ensure accuracy and scientific validity of our content and products.

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