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PomegranateThe fruit pomegranate derived from the tree Punica granatum is an edible fruit cultivated in Mediterranean countries, Afghanistan, India, China, Russia, and some part of the United states. The pomegranate tree typically grows 12 to 16 feet, has many spiny branches and can be extremely long lived, as evidenced by Versailles, France, known to be over 200 years old. The fruit contains many seeds (arils) separated by white membranous pericarp, and each is surrounded by small amount of tart, red juice.


Current research seems to indicate the most therapeutically beneficial pomegranate constituents are ellagic acid ellagitannins (including punicalagins), punic acid flavonoidds, anthocyanidins, anthocyanins, and estrogenic flavonols and flavones.

Pomegranate juice Anthocyanins (1); glucose, ascorbic acid (2); ellagic acid, gallic acid, caffeic acid (3); catechin, EGCG (4); quercitin, rutin (5); numerous minerals, particularly iron (6); amino acids (7)
Pomegranate seed oil 95-percent punicic acid (8); other constituents, including ellagic acid (9); other fatty acids (11); sterols

Although pomegranate's wide-ranging therapeutic benefits may be attributable to several mechanisms, most research has focused on its antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties.


Several studies demonstrated the antioxidant properties of pomegranate. One study it has  - 3 times the antioxidant capacity of either wine or green tea(1). Another study suggested Among the food materials chosen,  pomegranate peel gave the maximum antioxidant activity due to the presence of its high polyphenolic content. At a concentration of 60 ppm, pomegranate peel powder reduced lipid peroxidation by 65% in an in vitro assay (2).

A more recent study Measured the antioxidant activity using biologically relevant assays. The cellular antioxidant activity (CAA) assay quantifies antioxidant activity in cell culture and was developed to meet the need for a more biologically representative method than the popular chemistry antioxidant capacity measures. The objective of the study was to determine the cellular antioxidant activity, total phenolic contents, and oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) values of 25 fruits commonly consumed in the United States. Pomegranate and berries (wild blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, and blueberry) had the highest CAA values, whereas banana and melons had the lowest. Apples were found to be the largest contributors of fruit phenolics to the American diet, and apple and strawberries were the biggest suppliers of cellular antioxidant activity (3).

Finally, in February 2008, a team of scientists at UCLA made an exhaustive study on the antioxidant properties of pomegranate. Here is the abstract of this study.

A number of different beverage products claim to have antioxidant potency due to their perceived high content of polyphenols. Basic and applied research indicates that pomegranate juice (PJ), produced from the Wonderful variety of Punica granatum fruits, has strong antioxidant activity and related health benefits.

Although consumers are familiar with the concept of free radicals and antioxidants, they are often misled by claims of superior antioxidant activity of different beverages, which are usually based only on testing of a limited spectrum of antioxidant activities. There is no available direct comparison of Pomegranate juice's antioxidant activity to those of other widely available polyphenol-rich beverage products using a comprehensive variety of antioxidant tests.

The present study applied (1) four tests of antioxidant potency [Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC), total oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC), free radical scavenging capacity by 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), and ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP)]; (2) a test of antioxidant functionality, that is, inhibition of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation by peroxides and malondialdehyde methods; and (3) evaluation of the total polyphenol content [by gallic acid equivalents (GAEs)] of polyphenol-rich beverages in the marketplace.

The beverages included several different brands as follows: apple juice, açaí juice, black cherry juice, blueberry juice, cranberry juice, Concord grape juice, orange juice, red wines, iced tea beverages [black tea, green tea, white tea], and a major Pomegranate juice available in the U.S. market. An overall antioxidant potency composite index was calculated by assigning each test equal weight. Pomegranete juice had the greatest antioxidant potency composite index among the beverages tested and was at least 20% greater than any of the other beverages tested.

 Antioxidant potency, ability to inhibit LDL oxidation, and total polyphenol content were consistent in classifying the antioxidant capacity of the polyphenol-rich beverages in the following order: Pomegranate juice>red wine>Concord grape juice>blueberry juice>black cherry juice, açaí juice, cranberry juice>orange juice, iced tea beverages, apple juice. Although in vitro antioxidant potency does not prove in vivo biological activity, there is also consistent clinical evidence of antioxidant potency for the most potent beverages including both Pomegranate juice and red wine.


Section to be added


Clinical trials

Used for a long time in several system of medicine for various ailments, pomegranate is the subject of intensive studies. The table below list current studies as published in clinicaltrial.gov.

NCT ID Condition Sponsor Estimated
Start date End date Status
NCT00413530 Prostate Cancer M.D. Anderson Cancer Center 200 2006/12   recruiting
NCT00719030 Prostate Cancer University of California, LA 35 2008/06   recruiting
NCT00668954 Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center; POM Wonderful LLC        
NCT00732043 Prostate Cancer Radiant Research;   Roll International Corporation 200 2007/12 2015/01 recruiting
NCT00655031 Common Cold POM Wonderful LLC 150 2008/04 2008/07 completed
NCT00617318 Influenza;Common Cold; Cough; Headache; Fever Texas Heart Institute;   POM Wonderful LLC 461 2007/01 2007/06 completed
NCT00731848 Prostate Cancer Radiant Research;   Roll International Corporation 30 2008/02 2015/06 recruiting
NCT00381108 Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia University of California, Irvine;  Jarrow Pharmaceuticals 20 2005/09 2009/06 recruiting
NCT00336934 Prostate Cancer Roll International Corporation;  National Cancer Institute (NCI) 180 2005/11   recruiting
NCT00060086 Prostate Cancer Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center;  National Cancer Institute(NCI)   2003/03   active not recruiting
NCT00727519 End Stage Renal Disease; Hemodialysis Western Galilee Hospital-Nahariya       not yet recruiting
NCT00428532 Diabetes Mellitus; Atherosclerosis HaEmek Medical Center, Israel 10 2007/03 2007/08 recruiting
NCT00728299 Coronary Artery Disease Radiant Research;   Roll International Corporation 384 2003/09 2005/09 completed
NCT00682149 Type 2 Diabetes Yeditepe University Hospital 120 2008/05 2008/10 recruiting
NCT00455416 Follicular Lymphoma RikshospitaletRadiumhospitalet HF;  University of Oslo 45 2007/04 2009/12 recruiting
NCT00433797 Prostate Cancer University of Oslo; RikshospitaletRadiumhospitalet HF; Norwegian Cancer Society; The Research Council of Norway 102 2007/06 2009/03 recruiting
NCT00470808 Atherosclerosis HaEmek Medical Center, Israel   2007/05 2007/08 not yet recruiting

Among all these studies the one that attracted my attention is the study I highlighted. This study is observing the synergistic effect of several phytochemicals and fatty acids:

  • Omega 3 fatty acids (EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid))
  • Selenium (L-Selenomethionine),
  • Garlic extract (Allicin)
  • Pomegranate juice (ellagic acid)
  • Grape juice (resveratrol, quercetin)
  • Green Tea (Epigallocathechin gallate)

The primary outcome of the study is to measure the proliferation rate in tumour cells. The secondary outcome is measure the level of pro-inflammatory cytokines and tumour immune cell infiltrate.


(1) Gil MI & al. Antioxidant activity of pomegranate juice and its relationship with phenolic composition and processing. J. Agric. Food Chem., 48 (10), 4581-4589. Sept. 2000.

(2) Kelawala NS,Ananthanarayan L. Antioxidant activity of selected foodstuffs.Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2004 Sep;55(6):511-6.

(3) Wolfe & al. Cellular antioxidant activity of common fruits. J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Sep 24;56(18):8418-26.