The pomegranate is a fruit native to Asia that contains small red grains that we can consume naturally or in the form of juice. This fruit exerts a neuroprotective action against Alzheimer’s disease and would be able to prevent cerebral aging. The fruit is known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-aging and antioxidant properties.
Among the properties of the pomegranate we find a polyphenol called ellagitannin that uses the intestinal flora to make molecules called urolitins.
It is these urolithins that explain the benefits of this fruit. But how do these polyphenols in the pomegranate work?
Urolithin A is a compound naturally produced in the intestine when a molecule of the pomegranate from the family of ellagitannins is digested by the bacteria of the intestinal flora. When the precursor of urolithin A is present in the intestine, it is divided into ellagic acid and transformed into intestinal bacteria to become urolithin A.
A team from the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne, in Switzerland; He carried out a test on urolithin A in nematode worms Caenorhabditis elegans since these are very useful when studying cell aging, since at 8 or 10 days of life, they are already considered old. As a result, when the worms are exposed to urolithin A, they live approximately 45% more.
The team also noted that urolithin A prevents the accumulation of defective mitochondria as the worm ages.
At the time of aging, the mitochondria (energy factories of cells), become weak. This is a process called mitophagy, that is, the recycling of mitochondria already used and useless. If the mitochondria used are no longer recyclable, they can cause problems in the cells, especially at the level of the muscles, which can be weakened. There is evidence that worn mitochondria play a role in diseases linked to aging such as Parkinson’s disease.
The Swiss researchers then repeated these experiments in mice and discovered that urolithin A led to a significant reduction of defective mitochondria. In addition, the older mice (two years old) had 42% more resistance than the mice that had not been subjected to treatment and were also found to improve physical capacity.
Urolithin A therefore restores mitophagy. For one of the authors of this study the professor in neuroscience Patrick Aebischer, “urolithin A is the only known molecule that can restart the process of mitochondrial cleansing also known as mitophagy. It is a completely natural substance and its effect is powerful and verifiable.
According to Chris Rinsch, another author of the study, precursors of urolithin A are found not only in pomegranates but also in small amounts in many nuts and berries.
And what happens if this substance enters the brain?
In a study published in the ACS Chemical Neuroscience in 2015, scientists from Road Island University investigated which molecules from the pomegranate could cross the blood-brain barrier. They studied 21 compounds derived from this fruit and discovered that none could pass this barrier but some of its metabolites, the urolitins, limited the formation of plaques involved in Alzheimer’s disease. The urolitins would then be the molecules responsible for the neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effect of the pomegranate. Incredible find!
About prostate cancer and pomegranate.
Certain foods rich in polyphenols, antioxidants naturally present in food, have anti-carcinogenic properties. For example, consuming many fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants and therefore in polyphenols, after the appearance of breast cancer helps to reduce the risk of contracting it again.
In a study published in Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Disease, the researchers studied a mixture of polyphenol-rich foods to reduce the progression of prostate cancer.
One of the indicators to control the evolution of this cancer is the dosage of APE (prostate-specific antigen). Its dosage in the blood is an element for the early diagnosis of prostate cancer and the monitoring of the evolution of the disease.
In this test, 200 men affected with prostate cancer participated. Some received a placebo and others a supplement with a mixture of green tea, pomegranate, turmeric and broccoli.
The PSA rates measured between the two groups at the beginning of the study and then at three and six months showed that between the start and the end of the study, the PSA rates increased approximately 14.7% in the participants they had received the food supplement rich in polyphenols and 78.5% among the participants who had received the placebo. Between the beginning and the end of the study, 46% of the participants who received the supplement had a PSA index less than or equal to 14% of the placebo group.
Pomegranate juice and less oxidative stress.
According to researchers at the Western Galilee hospital in Israel, the consumption of pomegranate juice would reduce the complications of patients undergoing dialysis.
The authors followed up on 100 patients who were on dialysis and divided between a group that received pomegranate juice and a placebo group before each dialysis session for one year.
As a result, inflammation and oxidative stress were reduced in patients who consumed pomegranate juice as well as the risk of infections and cardiovascular diseases.
Other benefits of the pomegranate.
The efforts of science and men of science are unceasing to discover treatments and medicines to face dangerous diseases. What good news to know that from a completely natural fruit we can obtain so many benefits.
But in addition, the pomegranate was already known to have properties of all kinds beyond those that we discovered today in terms of neurodegenerative diseases. Remember what they are.
– Reduces the development of cataract.
– Improves diabetes.
– It has anti-inflammatory properties.
– Strengthens muscles and bones.
– Relieve the stress.
– It helps to reduce the LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol).
– Reduce blood pressure slightly.
– Helps to prevent different types of cancer, especially prostate cancer.
– Prevents the accumulation of fat in the abdomen.
– Helps prevent the deterioration of cartilage.
– Its astringent properties, allow to avoid diarrhea, especially if we use the infusion based on pomegranate peel and bark of your tree. However, people suffering from constipation should not abuse pomegranate juice.
– Eliminates intestinal parasites.
– Reduces dental plaque and has antibacterial effects. In India, the white and bitter parts of the pomegranate are used as ingredients in natural toothpastes. – Protects the skin from ultraviolet rays (topical application).