Pomegranate juice: benefits, side effects and medications.

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Once considered exotic, pomegranate juice (from the fruit of the Punica granatum tree) is now common and easy to find. Its popularity is largely due to its highly touted health claims, such as its ability to reduce inflammation, help fight infection, improve heart health, and more.

One pomegranate contains about 30 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C, which is 33% to 40% of the RDI for adults. But people do not usually eat whole pomegranate, as it is called bitter. However, people drink pomegranate juice (or eat fruit seeds) to reap the health benefits.

The pomegranate has been used medicinally for centuries, beginning in 1500 BC, when it was described in written sources as a remedy for tapeworms and other parasitic infections. Now people use it to treat a variety of conditions, from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to high blood pressure.

There is some scientific evidence to support specific health benefits, but there are safety issues you should be aware of.

Applications

Extensive research has been done on the health benefits of pomegranate and pomegranate juice.

A rodent study compared the benefits of pomegranate seeds with those of pomegranate juice. The researchers concluded that the juice is primarily responsible for many health benefits, including its cholesterol-lowering properties and anti-inflammatory potential.

Here's a look at the research image on the topic.

Heart health

Pomegranate juice may lower blood pressure and improve other risk factors for high blood pressure , according to a study review published in Advanced Biomedical Research.

The 2014 study authors analyzed data from rodent studies, in vitro studies, and a small number of human studies. They concluded that drinking pomegranate juice improved blood pressure, lowered LDL cholesterol , and lowered triglyceride levels .

And other studies have reported similar results. A 2018 review of the study, published in the journal Frontiers of Pharmacology , looked at more recent evidence. The study authors concluded that pomegranate juice may benefit people with hypertension, atherosclerosis , coronary artery disease , and peripheral artery disease .

But experts at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are cautious and optimistic, saying more research is needed before it can be confirmed that this fruit can reduce the signs of heart disease.

Inflammation

According to the National Institutes of Health, pomegranate juice can help prevent infections. The agency cites a 2012 study in which dialysis patients had fewer hospitalizations for infections and fewer signs of inflammation compared to patients who received placebo.

Additionally, a scientific commentary published in the journal Nutrients suggests that pomegranate may be beneficial in treating conditions including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and other chronic inflammatory diseases. However, the study authors added that larger and better-defined human trials are needed.

License plate

There is limited evidence that pomegranate juice can help control plaque . In a small study, 30 people were assigned to use pomegranate tooth rinse, antiseptic tooth rinse, or water for four days.

At the end of the study, the researchers found that the pomegranate solution worked as well as the antiseptic solution, with no side effects. Additionally, pomegranate juice suppressed the growth of pathogens that have been shown to contribute to the development of periodontitis .

Other use

Research is ongoing on some of the other health benefits of pomegranate, including its use for the prevention of cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , diabetes , kidney disease , erectile dysfunction , and other conditions. But it is too early to know if juice can be beneficial in treating these conditions.

Possible side effects.

Pomegranate juice is probably safe for most people when consumed in normal amounts. But there are people who should be careful.

People allergic to pomegranate may experience itching, swelling, a runny nose, and shortness of breath.

Additionally, there is concern in the medical community about drug interactions in people who consume pomegranate juice.

Interaction with cholesterol medications

A case report published September 1, 2006 in the American Journal of Cardiology suggests that pomegranate may interact with common medications.

A 48-year-old man took 10 mg of Zetia (ezetimibe) daily and 5 mg of Crestor (rosuvastatin) every other day for 17 months. Both drugs are used for high cholesterol.

He began drinking pomegranate juice (200 ml twice a week) and three weeks later he was hospitalized with hip pain and elevated serum creatine kinase. Both are symptoms of rhabdomyolysis , a serious disease that causes breakdown of muscle fibers and can lead to kidney failure.

Rosuvastatin belongs to a group of medicines called HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, better known as statins. Grapefruit juice is known to increase the risk of statin-induced myopathy, but until now there has been little information on whether pomegranate juice can do the same.

Both pomegranate and grapefruit juices are known to block cytochrome P450 3A4 enzyme systems in the gut. By inhibiting these enzymes, juices can raise the blood levels of many drugs.

Other possible interactions

Pomegranate juice can interact with other medications. Talk to your doctor before consuming pomegranate juice if you are taking over-the-counter or prescription medications, especially:

  • Antiarrhythmic drugs : cordarone (amiodarone), norpace (disopyramide), quinidine
  • Calcium channel blockers : Plendil (felodipine), Cardin (nicardipine), Procardia (nifedipine), Nimotop (nimodipine), Sular (nisoldipine)
  • Statins : Lipito (atorvastatin), Mevacor (lovastatin), Zocor (simvastatin)
  • Immunosuppressants: Sandimmun, Neoral (cyclosporine), Program (tacrolimus).
  • Protease inhibitors: Fortovase (saquinavir)

While it is not used to make pomegranate juice, it should also be noted that the root, stem, and rind of the pomegranate may not be safe when consumed in large quantities.

Get Drug Information / Anastasia Tretyak

Selection, preparation and storage

You will find pomegranate juice in most grocery stores. It can be placed on a shelf in the juice aisle or in the same area as whole fruit, depending on whether it is sold in the refrigerator or not.

Many consumers look to organic juices to avoid possible exposure to harmful chemicals. It is also helpful to check the label of the brand you are purchasing to see if any other juices or sweeteners have been added.

Finally, consider whether you want pasteurized juice. Pasteurization kills harmful bacteria, but it can also kill other compounds in the juice. For this reason, some consumers choose to make their own fresh pomegranate juice.

To do this, simply use the buttocks of the fruit, juicy round gems containing white seeds. Remove the fruit from the fruit, throw it into a blender and chop it. Once done, strain the juice to remove any remaining fiber.

Note: After removing the fruit, the peels can only be used for about three days. Store fresh berries in the refrigerator.

General business

What should you look for when buying a whole pomegranate?
The fruit ripens from late summer to early winter. A ripe pomegranate should feel heavy. The skin should be firm, bright red to dark red with tanned skin. Pomegranates that started to turn brown are probably in their prime. Abrasions on the skin do not affect its quality.

What is the best way to store whole pomegranates?
Keep the pomegranate whole and at room temperature until you are ready to eat the fruit (it should stay fresh for about a week or two). You can also refrigerate the fruit to extend this period to three months.

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