Pomegranate Extract Guide
Pomegranate Extract has been making headlines lately for its high antioxidant content and possible ability to protect against Alzheimer’s disease. Here’s our guide to using pomegranate extract.
What is Pomegranate Extract?
Pomegranate Extract is the natural extract found in the pomegranate fruit. Recent studies have indicated that this extract is a rich source of disease-fighting agents like polyphenols and urolithins – both of which may also improve brain functionality.
The pomegranate itself is a tree. Over the years, various parts of the tree and the tree’s fruit have been used to make medicine.
Although the pomegranate has shown some promising early health benefits, it’s too early to definitively state that it can treat or cure any specific condition. Nevertheless, pomegranate is observed to have a variety of health benefits, including improving cardiovascular health, reducing diabetes symptoms, curing sore throat, and more.
The pomegranate tree has the scientific name Punica granatum. It’s a surprisingly unique tree and there’s only other tree related to it in the world: the Socotran Pomegranate tree (Punica protopunica), which grows only on Socotra Island in Yemen.
Pomegranate is native to Iran but is now grown around the world.
History of Pomegranate Extract
Pomegranate extract has been making plenty of health headlines in recent weeks, but it has actually been used for various health benefits for thousands of years.
For example, pomegranate usage can be traced back to its use in Greek, Hebrew, Buddhist, Islamic, and Christian civilizations as far back as 1500 BCE, where it was traditionally used as a treatment for tapeworm and other parasites.
Meanwhile, many cultures have used pomegranate as traditional medicine over the years and continue to use it to this day. This practice is particularly popular in Iran (the tree is native to Iran) and was also practiced in Mediterranean countries.
The pomegranate was viewed with such importance that it can actually be seen on several royal and medical coats of arms.
How Does Pomegranate Extract Work?
Basically, pomegranate extract contains a diverse range of chemical compounds that might have antioxidant effects.
The two most active ingredients in pomegranate extract are thought to be polyphenols and urolithins, both of which appear to reduce your risk of disease and offer neuroprotective benefits.
Better neuroprotection means a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative neurological conditions.
Urolithins are released when gut bacteria break down the polyphenols in fruit extracts. In other words, the polyphenols turn into urolithins after the pomegranate extract is digested by your body.
A recent study published in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience indicated that pomegranates can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is caused by the formation of amyloid proteins in the brain. These proteins form clumps, leading to memory loss, cognitive problems, and eventually death.
Pomegranate extract can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s because it has an anti-Alzheimer’s effect. The study published in ACS Chemical Neuroscience discussed how these effects were observed in animals, and that pomegranate extract was found to block the formation of amyloid proteins.
There are two problems with this study: first, the effects were only observed in animals. And second, researchers don’t really understand why the effects occurred.
Nevertheless, researchers suggested that the anti-Alzheimer’s effects of pomegranate extract could be traced back to 21 compounds within the extract. Most of those compounds are polyphenols.
Researchers cautioned that the results are early and more research is needed. See below for more scientific evidence related to pomegranates over the years.
Additional Scientific Evidence for Pomegranate Extract
Pomegranate has been facing an increasing number of studies in recent years. These studies cover a surprisingly broad range of health benefits – including everything from cardiovascular benefits to anti-diabetic effects and more.
Here are some of the studies that have been performed on pomegranate and pomegranate extract over the years:
2009 Study Finds that Pomegranate Flower Extract Reduces Hardening of the Arteries by 70%
One pre-clinical model study in 2009 determined that pomegranate flower extract reduced hardening of the arteries by 70%. Meanwhile, taking pomegranate juice alone reduced artery hardening by 40% (both of these numbers were in comparison to a placebo taken by participants in the study). Additionally, pomegranate extract was found to lower blood lipid and glucose levels in this study, which could further improve cardiovascular health throughout your system.
2006 Chinese Study Shows Polyphenol in Pomegranate Extract Could Fight Weight Gain
In one Chinese study published in 2006, researchers examined the power of the extract that comes from the flowers of the Punica granatum (pomegranate).
Researchers discovered a previously unknown polyphenol in pomegranate extract. Furthermore, they found that the extract fought against weight gain while also improving glucose control and reducing inflammation throughout the body.
2005 Australian Study Shows Diabetic Rats Benefit from Pomegranate Extract
One study from Australia was performed in 2005 and demonstrated that supplementing rats with pomegranate extract for 6 weeks “prevented blood sugar increases following a glucose-laden meal”.
That study also tested the effects of pomegranate extract on non-diabetic rats and found that it did not lead to any such effects. However, rats with diabetes enjoyed a reduction in diabetic symptoms.
Ultimately, pomegranate has been studied for a wide variety of benefits, although very few of those benefits are definitive or have been verified in major clinical studies. As WebMD.com explains,
“Pomegranate is used for many conditions, but so far, there isn’t enough scientific evidence to rate pomegranate as effective for any of them. We do know, though, that pomegranate does not seem to be effective for reducing the symptoms of chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD) or improving breathing in people with this condition.”
How to Enjoy Pomegranate Extract
The most natural way to enjoy pomegranate extract is to use the fresh pomegranate fruit. Some people access the extract by gently squeezing the whole fruit and then piercing a hole in the skin and inserting a straw.
Others will add the pomegranate extract to a juicer, or press it like an orange or a lemon.
It’s the fruit pips of pomegranate extract that contain the juice.
You can also buy pomegranate juice on its own at health food stores – although it can be difficult to find 100% fruit juice instead of a blend of different juices.
Alternatively, you can purchase pomegranate extract nutritional supplements in capsules from Amazon and other online retailers. There are a wide variety of pomegranate extracts for sale on Amazon, including:
— Source Naturals Pomegranate Extract 500mg, 240 Tablets ($24.39)
— Jarrow Formulas Pomguard 425mg, 60 Veggie Caps ($14.86)
— 21st Century Pomegranate Veg-Capsules, 500mg 120 Capsules ($10.06)
Capsules are the best way to get pomegranate extract – but they can often contain other vitamins and filler ingredients alongside the pomegranate. Be careful when you buy that you’re buying the purest form of pomegranate with a limited number of added ingredients.