Research by Anthony Lynn et al. published in the journal Plant Foods for Human Nutrition found that pomegranate juice supplementation had short-term benefits for blood pressure after 51 healthy adults showed a large fall in blood pressure after drinking the juice for four weeks.
Pomegranate juice is considered a rich source of polyphenolic antioxidants and several previous studies have suggested that antioxidants compounds can reduce arterial stiffness.
The researchers in the present study tested whether Pomegranate juice could reduce cardiovascular health risks by assessing pulse wave velocity (PWV - a marker of arterial stiffness), blood pressure and plasma antioxidant status.
Lowers blood pressure, not PWV
Fifty-one adults, aged between 30 and 50, were asked to consume 330 ml of pomegranate juice per day.
Effects on PWV, blood pressure and plasma antioxidant status were measured against a control group that had consumed 7Up, a lemonade drink containing no antioxidants.
“Consumption of pomegranate juice for a four-week period did not influence PWV. This was contrary to our hypothesis that ingestion of a juice rich in polyphenolic antioxidant compounds would reduce arterial stiffness,” said the study.
Polyphenols or potassium could be the drivers
Lynn et al. also found no impact on plasma antioxidant status, but noticed a large drop in blood pressure among participants that was higher than drops observed in other studies by dietary interventions of sodium and potassium.
“We conclude that pomegranate juice supplementation has benefits for BP in the short term, but has no effect on PWV. The mechanism for the effect is uncertain,” said the study.
“We found no effect on serum ACE, but there is the possibility that the juice’s content of polyphenols and/or potassium was responsible for the hypotensive effect,” it continued.
Pomegranate peel extract was recently seen to demonstrate prebiotic potential in another recent study, as reported by NutraIngredients last week. (See HERE )
Plant Foods for Human Nutrition (Formerly Qualitas Plantarum)
‘Effects of Pomegranate Juice Supplementation on Pulse Wave Velocity and Blood Pressure in Healthy Young and Middle-aged Men and Women,’
Authors: Anthony Lynn, Hiba Hamadeh, Wing Chi Leung, Jean M. Russell and Margo E. Barker (2012)