Pomegranate polyphenols claimed to maintain heart health: Probeltebio study

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

Probeltebio, pomegranate,
Probeltebio, pomegranate,

Related tags Atherosclerosis Endothelium Pomegranate

Pomegranate polyphenols can help to maintain cardiovascular health, according to a swine study using Spanish firm Probeltebio’s pomegranate extract Pomanox.

The study was conducted by the Catalan Institute for Cardiovascular Sciences (ICCC) in Spain, but has yet to be published.

It is claimed to be the first in vivo​ study on the benefits of pomegranates on heart health.

Research author Lina Badimon, director of the ICCC said: “This study manifests that enriching a diet with pomegranate polyphenols can help in preventing and retarding endothelial dysfunctions, among the first signs of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases.”

In Vivo study on swine

The research said that polyphenol compounds in pomegranates, predominantly punicalagins, helped to protect the endothelium, a tissue that covers the internal areas of blood vessels.

The study conducted tests on pigs rather than humans. A Probeltebio spokesman told NutraIngredients that this was because the ICC had standardized that procedure with swine, which have a similar cardiovascular system to humans. He added that strict and delicate surgical procedures also required the animals to be anesthetized.

Method: Pigs on pomegranate

Under the study, 24 pigs were split into two groups. One group was given a normal diet and the other a high cholesterol diet. 

Half of the animals on the high cholesterol diet and half on the normal diet were supplemented with 625 mg a day of Pomonox, which supplied 200 mg of punicalagins daily for 10 days.*

After the trial period, the researchers analysed each pig’s capacity to dilate its coronary artery, known as the endothelial function. Oxidative damage, inflammation markers and signalling pathways for nitric oxide synthesis were also assessed.

The pigs on high cholesterol diets showed up to a 50% reduction in dilating function, as expected, as well as a diminished capacity to synthesise nitric oxide.

After supplementation

However, when the pigs on high cholesterol diets were supplemented with Pomanox it was said to negate the effects of their poor diet. The vasodilating capacity of their arteries diminished, oxidative damage at conorary level was prevented and MCP-1 inflamation markers were increased. Acitvity of the eNOS enzyme (endothelial nitric oxide synthase), an enzyme involved in the synthesis of nitric nxide, was also preserved.

The results were presented as a poster at the Congress of European Society of Cardiology in Amsterdam on 31 August.

Pomanox and other extracts

Probeltebio’s Pomanox contains 60 mg of punicalagins per 200 mg capsule. The firm grows its pomegranates in controlled orchards in Southern Spain and uses only pure water during the extraction process.

Another firm active in pomegranate extracts is beverage firm POM Wonderful. A 2009 study​ in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry​ said that the firm’s POMx pomegranate supplements enhanced the growth of ‘good’ bacteria’ in the gut.

‘Supplementation with a pomegranate extract abrogates hypercholesterolemia-induced coronary endothelial dysfunction in swine’ [Due for publication] See abstract here.
Authors: G. Vilahur, T. Padro, L. Casani, G. Mendieta, J.A. Lopez, M. Penalver, L. Badimon

*CORRECTION - The article previously stated that all 24 pigs were supplemented with Pomonox. This was inaccurate. The pigs in the high cholesterol diet group and the normal diet group were divided into a supplementation and non-supplementation groups.

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Posted by Oliver Nieburg,

Dear Dr Levin,

Pigs on the normal diet and high cholesterol were split into supplementation and non-supplementation groups. I will issue a correction in the article.

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Here's the abstract

Posted by Dr Neil Levin,

check it out so that you can correct some mistakes in your post

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Confusing findings-please check

Posted by Dr Neil Levin,

Dear Oliver,
I just read your article on Pigs and Pomegranates. The findings seem confusing.
first you say both groups of pigs received supplementation yet a few lines later you indicate the a group of pigs on the high cholesterol diet had reduced problems after supplementation which indicates that some pigs weren't supplemented.
Second, you say that the pomegranate supplementation diminished the negative effects of high cholesterol diet and as 2 of the examples you sight diminished vasodilative capacity which is bad and MCP-1 inflammation marker was increased which again would be bad. can you please clarify the methods and findings and resend with corrections if they are in fact appropriate. I would check myself but can't find the study.

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