Pomegranates Pounce Prostate Cancer, Other Benefits
A new study shows that a natural supplement containing pomegranate can effectively fight prostate cancer. This finding is not the first time pomegranates have been shown to be helpful against prostate cancer or to offer other health benefits.
How pomegranate may fight prostate cancer
Pomegranate is a fruit that is rich in polyphenols, a category of plant chemicals (phytonutrients) that have demonstrated anticancer, antioxidant, and other health benefits in numerous studies. However, while previous research has shown anticancer effects in lab tests and small trials, the new study represents the first time investigators have firmly established scientifically that these substances have an impact on the progression of cancer.
The six-month study, which was conducted by investigators who are part of the Cambridge University Hospitals, involved 203 men with prostate cancer. Participants were randomly assigned to take either a placebo or a supplement called Pomi-T, a purified polyphenol pill containing the essence of pomegranate, green tea, broccoli, and turmeric.
The researchers found that:
- Men who took Pomi-T had prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels 63 percent lower than those who took the placebo. PSA levels are an indicator of prostate cancer and its progression.
- Use of the pomegranate supplement resulted in virtually no adverse effects
- Significantly fewer men needed to turn to potentially toxic treatments at the end of the study
More pomegranate benefits
The results of previous research indicate that pomegranate has not only been shown to be beneficial in fighting prostate cancer, but other serious health problems as well. For example:
- Breast cancer: According to the American Association for Cancer Research, the phytonutrients in pomegranates are able to “suppress estrogen production that prevents the proliferation of breast cancer cells and the growth of estrogen responsive tumors.” Specifically, ellagic acid in pomegranates inhibits aromatase, an enzyme that plays a major role in breast cancer.
- Kidney dialysis patients: Results of a study presented at the American Society of Nephrology’s 43rd Annual Meeting and Scientific Exposition noted that pomegranate juice can reduce inflammation, lower oxidative stress and blood pressure, and improve lipid profiles. All of these complications are common among patients receiving kidney dialysis.
- MRSA and superbugs: The highly resistant staph infection called MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and other superbugs are responsible for tens of thousands of deaths every year. Research indicates that pomegranate rind mixed with metal salts is effective against MRSA.
- Heart health: A new study in Phytotherapy Research reported on the impact of pomegranate juice on patients with high blood pressure. They noted that two weeks of treatment resulted in an improvement in blood pressure as well as endothelial function
- Another prostate cancer study: In a laboratory at the University of California, Riverside, investigators found that prostate cancer cells treated with pomegranate juice died or were less likely to spread. The 2010 study identified phenylpropanoids, flavones, and other compounds in pomegranate as the beneficial agents.
Researchers are also looking into the potential role of pomegranate in the management of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
Pomegranates may not be found on most shopping lists, but these hard-rind fruits are not only delicious, they also harbor potential health advantages. The latest study of pomegranate in the fight against prostate cancer is just one example of its many benefits.
Asgary S et al. Clinical evaluation of blood pressure lowering, endothelial function improving, hypolipidemic and anti-inflammatory effects of pomegranate juice in hypertensive subjects. Phytotherapy Research 2013 Mar 21
Cambridge University Hospitals