Pomegranate extract study reveals promise in weight loss category

By Nicola Gordon-Seymour

- Last updated on GMT

Getty | Rotislav Sedlacek
Getty | Rotislav Sedlacek

Related tags: Pomegranate, Weight loss, satiety

Consumption of pomegranate leaf extract (PLE) and pomegranate juice (PJ) can increase satiety, satisfaction, and fullness, and reduce the desire to eat, indicating their potential in weight loss therapy, according to a trial conducted by researchers at the University of Edinburgh.

Researchers tested the effectiveness of Pomanox P30 PLE capsules, manufactured by German pharmaceutical company, Euromed, on volunteers to evaluate effects on satiety and food intake.

Visual acuity scales (VAS) revealed lower levels of hunger with daily pre-meal consumption after three weeks and following PJ intake during a one-day satiety study, compared to the placebo.

Participants with PE priming and PJ preload were generally more satisfied after meals, experienced greater fullness from 30 minutes after consumption, and found meals more palatable. These results could be useful in managing public health and obesity, the authors write.

“PE extract and PJ are readily available commercially and appear to have no side effects. PE products could also provide a prevention and therapy alternative to pharmaceutical drugs that produce side effects or are otherwise poorly tolerated by some people.”

Protocol and test parameters

The small-scale exploratory study involved male and female volunteers (28) from 18-65 years of age, with a body mass index (BMI) between 18 and 34.9kg/m2 ​and no history of diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

Volunteers randomised to the intervention group (14) consumed PE capsules comprising 210mg punicalagin and 328mg total polyphenols for three weeks and one testing day (satiety session) at week three. Placebo capsules contained maltodextrin.

The pomegranate juice (PomeGreat Pure, supplied by RJA Foods) contained 126mg total polyphenols in the 150ml dose consumed. The placebo was diluted orange juice with low polyphenols but the same amount of energy. PJ was consumed with breakfast and 30 minutes before lunch on the test day.

Satiety testing was conducted between 9.30am and 1.30pm under controlled laboratory conditions where breakfast and lunch were served.

Food and drink diaries were completed to monitor dietary habits, including energy and macronutrient intake. Data was analysed with Windows SPSS statistical analysis program and VAS for subjective ratings of postprandial hunger, desire to eat, satisfaction, and fullness. Volunteers completed VAS scores on site.

Potential mechanisms

Findings confirm appetite-regulating properties of polyphenol-rich PLE, including significant satiety trends when consumed with PJ, and compared with the placebo.

Positive effects of natural polyphenolic compounds on appetite suppression have been demonstrated, such as their role in slowing the secretion of appetite-stimulating hormones and inactivation of appetite sensors, the authors explain.

As such, polyphenols have received special attention as potential complementary approaches in the management of obesity​”.

The underlying mechanisms for activity observed in the current study were unclear, but the authors speculate that polyphenols in pomegranate could be the linchpin to appetite suppression. Observed effects of PLE were similar to that of sibutramine (anti-obesity drug), in suppressing energy intake and inhibiting the intestinal absorption of dietary fat, they explain.

“Inhibition of pancreatic lipase activity might be potential mechanisms for the anti-obesity effect of the PE extract.”

The intense flavour generated by polyphenols in the PJ may also be responsible for inducing satiety.

Good foundation

Although results were encouraging, the study was exploratory by design and therefore not “powered to detect any statistically significant effects on satiety measures, making it more difficult to identify any meaningful effects,”​ the authors’ comment.

However, they assert that findings “provide a good foundation for any future investigations testing the direct effect of PE on satiety and amount of food intake per meal​”.

Source: Foods
Published online August 31, 2022: http://doi.org/10.3390/foods11172639
‘Effect of Pomegranate Extract Consumption on Satiety Parameters in Healthy Volunteers: A Preliminary Randomised Study’
Authors: Angela Stockton and Emad A. S. al-Dujaili

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