Different studies carried out in various parts of the world confirm that pomegranate juice or rather some substances obtained with a particular extraction , represent one of the richest sources of natural antioxidants . (1-3 )
Recent research , not only confirm what has been said before, but allow to hypothesize as continued use of such extracts can delay the atherosclerotic process and / or even , in some cases , ” reverse it .”
These amazing results indicate that the pomegranate is able to ensure a cardiovascular protection unprecedented , restoring a normal state endothelial , but also to lower the blood pressure and prevent the oxidation of low density lipoproteins (LDL ) , the first mover of the process atherosclerotic borne by the arterial endothelium .
The good news for consumers that are available today are titrated extracts accessible and highly purified .The pomegranate increases the endogenous production of nitric oxide , improving endothelial function
The pomegranate, therefore, is able to perform a protective action on the entire cardiovascular system, contributing among other things to increase the production of nitric oxide (as does arginine ), optimizing the functioning of the endothelial cells of the arterial vessels which are thus “normalized ” with regard to their arteriolar tone base.
Nitric oxide acts on vascular smooth muscles , dropping : the blood , consequently, more orderly flow with flow through the arteries and veins.
Nitric oxide reducing the arteriolar tone will decrease wall stress , a key factor in triggering and / or support the atherosclerotic process . (4)
Specific research on this subject demonstrate how the oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL ) can have a negative impact on the synthesis of nitric oxide , decreasing the active catalytic enzyme nitric oxide synthase.
The present research on pomegranate ( and its extracts ) showed a strong stimulus to the activity of nitric oxide synthase (5): and again, the antioxidant properties of pomegranate , preserving nitric oxide from oxidative destruction , increasing its bioavailability tissue . (6,7).
An Italian study examined the role of pomegranate juice on the activity of nitric oxide synthase in samples section of the artery of rabbit which had already developed some degree of atherosclerosis. (8 ) .
In these segments , the blood flow is hindered in the regular path due to the presence of plaques sub -endothelial cells , and the result is an increase in wall tension ( > wall stress ) with a consequent action of proliferation of atherosclerotic phenomenon already in place (hypertrophy and hyperplasia of myocytes ) .
This increase in wall stress reduces the expression (and hence the activity) of nitric oxide synthetase , favoring the development and / or the speed of extension of the processes deteriorative borne by endothelia affected by the atherosclerotic process ( actually opening the road to endothelial dysfunction ) .
The researchers selected mice genetically predisposed to develop atherosclerosis , subjected them to a high-fat diet , they left free to develop the disease for six months and then they added the pomegranate juice to drinking water in the experimental group for 24 weeks to check what benefits could be achieved .
To the control group (placebo ) was given simply the only drinking water . (8 )
The results demonstrate that the pomegranate juice has not only increased the expression of nitric oxide synthase , both in healthy blood vessels that atherosclerotic , but the most significant increase has occurred right in the group of mice atherosclerotic departure .(8 )
Increases expression of the synthesis of nitric oxide induced by pomegranate extracts :
On portions of arteries with atherosclerotic processes of low intensity (+26.1 %);
arteries with advanced atherosclerosis ( +46.7 %);
arteries free from atherosclerotic processes (+3.3 %).
The ability of pomegranate to increase the enzyme producer of nitric oxide induced a significant reduction of atherosclerotic lesions (where it was less intense the atherosclerotic process has achieved an improvement equal to -20 % in the areas with the highest risk index the improvement was equal to -19.3 ; presence of plaques in the vessels without the improvement was 25.6% (calculated rheological parameters ) . (8)
So , in a portion of healthy aorta , however the pomegranate juice has improved blood flow of a 26% in the areas already suffering from visible phenomena of degenerative processes (presence of plaques of variable extension ) , pomegranate juice has reduced the volume of the lesions of approximately 20 % .
Ultimately, the continued supplementation of extracts of pomegranate has had a significant impact more than just the degree of endothelial dysfunction , improving cardiac performance .
Clinical consequences of a reduction of endothelial dysfunction For years , scientists have found that while antioxidants and other nutrients can slow down the phenomenon atherosclerotic ( acting more in prevention than directly on the plaques already formed ) : Now with the research that has involved the pomegranate juice ( specific study conducted in Israel), we have scientific evidence that demonstrate how revolutionary some degree of improvement you can notice it also be borne by the existing plaques !
(Studio Israeli ) Nineteen patients from vascular surgery clinic in Haifa, Israel , have been selected and placed in a controlled clinical trial lasting three years. (9)
All subjects enrolled in the study were non- smokers with ages between 65 and 75 years: at least one of the two carotid arteries were required to have a severe asymptomatic stenosis of degree not less than 70 % and not more than 90% (in practice the so their arteries were occluded due to plaques visible echo – color Doppler that only a minimum part of the arterial lumen allowed them a flow of blood! ) .
In 10 of the 19 patients were administered 50 ml / day of pomegranate juice ( titrated ), while the other nine received a placebo drink , all of them mentioned in lifestyles more or less identical and also the food choices were subject periodic checks (though all of the diaries were delivered daily intake of calories to ingest max ) .
Results obtained after 3 years of treatment
In both groups of patients, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and glucose levels were left unchanged at baseline and despite the presence of an obvious state of atherosclerosis documented and judged instrumentally of medium-high severity , after just three months, the average thickness intima of arteries examined was already reduced by a 13% (average value ) , and after 12 months of observation , the value had reached a -35 % (average value ) compared to that found at the time of start of the study.
During this same 12-month period , the average thickness of the carotid artery in the placebo group ( 9 patients ) increased instead by a factor equal to 9% !
This study has also considered other biological parameters of cardiovascular health.
One year administration of pomegranate juice reduced the maximum systolic velocity of blood in the carotid arteries , while wall stress decreased by about a 21%.
The assumption of the pomegranate seems to improve the blood flow within the carotid arteries ( ie, decreases the flow resistance of the same with a very positive impact on oxygenation of the tissues of the vessel and relative). (9 )
The ingestion of pomegranate juice did not raise the blood levels of glucose, LDL or HDL.
The functionality of the heart , kidney and liver as well as the counts of red blood cells and homocysteine have remained largely unchanged , while you have noticed a number of improvements in other parameters normally indicative of cardiovascular health.
For example , the amount of antioxidant power of the blood is increased by a factor equal to 130% after 12 months of use of the pomegranate , while the lipid peroxidation of serum was reduced by
59 % .
In addition, to contribute to the clinical improvement is observed showed an increase of 83% in serum paraoxonase -1 , an enzyme that alone can reduce harmful lipid peroxides in arterial cells and lipoproteins in coronary and carotid lesions . (9-11 ) Furthermore , in the group that used the pomegranate juice was noted that was doubled the time required for the initiation of LDL oxidation ( from 30 minutes to 65 minutes) ( 9), whereas the LDL must be oxidized before it can join to the arterial wall , the delays observed in meeting oxidation could not be considered a significant a chievement.
While all of these improvements observed with only one year of treatment, other parameters have continued to show improvement until the end of the three-year study . For example , lipid peroxidation at 36 months decreased by another 16 % .It seems , however, that these positive effects to secure
the administration of pomegranate juice must be constant and continuous in time and already a single month of interruption due to a fall of the antioxidant power of the blood of well -35 % and the production of a paraoxonase1 -18% . (9 )
Another Israeli study confirmed that pomegranate reduces both systolic blood pressure by acting on the angiotensin -converting (acting as a real ACE inhibitor ): This study is not yet completed , but the preliminary results are very encouraging.
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2 . Gil MI , Tomas – Barberan FA, Hess – Pierce B, Holcroft DM , Kader AA . Antioxidant activity of pomegranate juice and its relationship with phenolic composition and processing . Food Chem . J Agric. October 2000 , 48 (10): 4581-9 .
3 . RP Singh , KN Chidambara Murthy , GK Jayaprakasha . Studies on the antioxidant activity of the peel and seed extracts of pomegranate (Punica granatum ) using in vitro model . Food Chem . J Agric. January 2, 2002 , 50 (1): 81-6 .
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