Are pomegranates really the super food we’ve been led to believe will counteract the aging process? The answer is on a horizon, and most likely : YES!.
A team of scientists from EPFL and the company Amazentis wanted to explore the issue by taking a closer look at the secrets of this plump pink fruit. They discovered that a molecule in pomegranates, transformed by microbes in the gut, enables muscle cells to protect themselves against one of the major causes of aging.
As we age, our cells increasingly struggle to recycle their source of energy, mitochondria, as they get older and are no longer able to carry out their vital function to produce energy and accumulate in the cell as inert toxic blast, i.e. "used batteries". This degradation affects the health of many tissues, including muscles, which gradually weaken over the years. A buildup of dysfunctional mitochondria is also suspected of playing a role in other diseases of aging, such as Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
The scientists identified a molecule that, all by itself, managed to re–establish the cell’s ability to recycle the components of the defective mitochondria: urolithin A. In nematodes and rodents, the effect is nothing short of amazing, expanding lifespan by almost 45%, and improving endurance by 42%. Human clinical trials are currently underway.
Before heading out to stock up on pomegranates, however, it’s worth noting that the fruit doesn’t itself contain the miracle molecule, but rather its precursor. That molecule is converted into urolithin A by the microbes that inhabit the intestine. Because of this, the amount of urolithin A produced can vary widely, depending on the flora present in the gut microbiome. The more diverse bacteria in the gut , the more production occur. Some individuals don’t produce any at all. If you’re one of the unlucky ones, it’s possible that pomegranate juice won’t do you any good.
( Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne News, 07/12/2016).
Another study showed that a diet rich in pomegranates had significant positive impacts for the brain health of mice with Alzheimer’s disease.
The innovative study, published in the journal Oncotarget, demonstrated that dietary supplementation of 4% pomegranate extract to a standard diet over a 15-month period resulted in a range of neuroprotective effects in mice.
The health benefits of pomegranates for treating degenerative diseases are widely recognised in Unani, Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. However previous Western clinical trials have focussed on giving patients polyphenols in isolation and at higher doses showed mixed results. This suggests that benefit occur thru the synergistic effect of polyphenols together with the compounds they naturally co-occur in a whole fruit, and going thru the gut where they get digested and converted into active ingredients by healthy gut bacteria. (UNSW Australia Health News, 09/19/2016).
Besides that pomegranates have an impressive nutrient profile:
One cup of arils (174 grams) contains
:Fiber: 7 grams.
Protein: 3 grams.
Vitamin C: 30% of the RDA.
Vitamin K: 36% of the RDA.
Folate: 16% of the RDA.
Potassium: 12% of the RDA.
Pomegranates also contain ingredients with:
anti-inflammatory effect and help with osteoarthritis,
lower blood pressure (Asgary S. Clinical Evaluation of Blood Pressure Lowering, Endothelial Function Improving, Hypolipidemic and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Pomegranate Juice in Hypertensive Subjects. Phytotherapy research. 21 March 2013)
cholesterol lowering, especially triglycerides;
anticancer effect by slowing down cancer cell reproduction, and even inducing cancer cell death (Shirobe AB, et all, Antiproliferative effects of pomegranate extract in MCF-7 breast cancer cells are associated with reduced DNA repair gene expression and induction of double strand breaks..Mol Carcinog. 2014 Jun;53(6):458-70.)
anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, which may be useful against common diseases of the gums.
For more information on healthy diet choices please contact Dr.Koganski's office by calling 215-750-7000, or online: www.newtowninernalmedicine.com