POMx for Arthritis – A Pilot Study

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Consumption of pomegranate decreases serum oxidative stress and reduces disease activity in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis: a pilot study

Alexandra Balbir-Gurman, Bianca Fuhrman, Yolanda Braun-Moscovici, Doron Markovits and Michael Aviram
Isr Med Assoc J 2011 Aug;13(8):474-9
PubMed: 21910371

 

Investigators from Rambam Health Care Campus, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and Rappaport Family Institute for Research in the Medical Sciences designed a small pilot trial (n=8) to evaluate the therapeutic effect of POMx pills supplement in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis.

The authors explain their rationale:

“Pomegranate juice is rich in certain flavonoids (unique tannins such as punicalagin and several anthocyanins), which are potent antioxidants. Previous studies demonstrated that consumption of pomegranate juice reduced serum oxidative stress in healthy subjects, in patients with diabetes mellitus, and in patients with carotid artery stenosis. Consumption of pomegranate juice resulted in inhibition in the development of atherosclerotic plaques in the carotid arteries.

“In addition to pomegranate juice, which is mainly prepared from the pomegranate arils (the fleshy seed coverings), other parts of the pomegranate fruit were also found to have antioxidative and antiatherogenic capacities. Standardized extracts of pomegranate prepared from the red peel have been shown to possess antioxidative, anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular disease-preventing properties. Moreover, consumption of POMx was shown to reduce the incidence and severity of collagen-induced arthritis in a mouse model. We conducted a pilot study to investigate whether consumption of POMx would affect disease activity in RA patients, in relation to their serum oxidative status.”

The investigators used California-grown and processed Wonderfulâ„¢ variety pomegranate (Punica granatum L) extract supplied by POM Wonderful (Los Angeles, CA, USA).

The results, as reported in the abstract:

“Six patients completed the study. POMx consumption significantly (P < 0.02) reduced the composite Disease Activity Index by 17%, which could be related mostly to a significant (P < 0.005) reduction in the tender joint count (by 62%). These results were associated with a significant (P < 0.02) reduction in serum oxidative status and a moderate but significant (P < 0.02) increase in serum high density lipoprotein-associated paraoxonase 1 activity. The addition of POMx to serum from RA patients reduced free radical-induced lipid peroxidation by up to 25%.”

While recommending additional studies with larger cohorts, the authors conclude that “The combination of POMx antioxidative properties with its anti-inflammatory and antiatherogenic profile makes POMx an attractive over-the-counter supplementation to treat patients with active joint inflammation. Our results suggest the possibility of therapeutic co-administration of POMx with conventional drugs for the treatment of active RA.”

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