Arthritis is derived from Greek word, ‘arthro’‒ means joint and ‘itis’‒ means inflammation. Thus, arthritis is a disease that causes joint inflammation.
Various fruits and vegetables are known to help in arthritis condition, one such fruit is pomegranate. It is rich in fiber, vitamins, potassium, and other minerals.
It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic and antimicrobial properties. Numerous clinical trials are being carried out to study the efficacy of pomegranate extracts in therapeutics.
Let’s discuss what science has to say about pomegranate benefits in arthritis.
5 Science-Backed Benefits of Pomegranate in Arthritis
The active ingredients present in pomegranate extract have therapeutic potential for arthritis.
1. Pomegranate relieves inflammation naturally
Pomegranate seed oil inhibits enzymes such as oxygenases which convert arachidonic acid to prostaglandin, an inflammatory mediator.
Such inhibition can control inflammatory diseases such as arthritis.
In another study, pomegranate extract was found to alleviate symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis such as swollen and tender joints.
Pomegranate juice contains polyphenolic compounds which have anti-inflammatory property. These polyphenols have proved preventive in the case of osteoarthritis-related inflammation of muscles.
Rasheed et. al. provided an important insight into the inhibitory effects of pomegranate extracts.
The studies indicated that the extracts of pomegranate inhibit MKK and p38‒MAPK pathways which are inflammation inducing pathways.
What does this mean? Inflammation is a common sign of arthritis which initiates pain in the joints. Pomegranate extracts being anti-inflammatory can prove to be very useful in alleviating symptoms of arthritis.
2. Pomegranate is rich in antioxidants that aid in arthritis
Consumption of pomegranate has been shown to reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis by reducing serum oxidative stress.
The pomegranate juice is rich in polyphenols which have an antioxidant activity like tannins, anthocyanins and ellagic acid.
The studies show that the addition of pomegranate extracts to the serum of patients with rheumatoid arthritis reduced lipid peroxidation by 25%.
The composite disease activity index was reduced to 17 % as the antioxidant activity also inhibits tissue damage at the joints. The tenderness at the joints was reduced by 62%6.
It is seen that patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis develop cardiovascular disease.
The antioxidant nature of pomegranate extracts prevents the development of such secondary diseases.
What does this mean? The oxidative radicals and oxidative stress is generally high during arthritis in patient’s serum. The antioxidant property of pomegranate extracts reduces the symptoms as well as prevents further enhancement of the disease.
3. Pomegranate extracts protect bone health and prevent bone tissue loss
Pomegranate can be used to attenuate bone loss in musculoskeletal diseases such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoporosis.
Pomegranate juice has been found to reduce cartilage damage significantly and loss of proteoglycans.
The degradation of cartilage is due to the activity of proteolytic enzymes. The extract of pomegranate contains active ingredients which inhibit the activity of these enzymes.
What does this mean? The medications available for arthritis can treat bone damage but are unable to inhibit further bone loss. Pomegranate extracts have been considered to be a nutraceutical that can inhibit the progression of bone loss which can prove very beneficial in combating arthritis.
4. It protects from infections in arthritis
Pomegranate contains phenolic compounds which are an inhibitor of antimicrobials. Different extracts of pomegranate like peels, seeds, juice, and flower, were tested for their antibacterial properties.
Studies have suggested that the highest antibacterial activity was shown by peel extract of pomegranate.
In another study, the froze and oven dried pomegranate peel extracts showed significant antibacterial property.
In another study, the froze and oven dried pomegranate peel extracts showed a significant antibacterial property.
Some studies have shown that the ellagic acid content determines the efficacy of antimicrobial action which is found the most in the peel extract of pomegranate.
Even the high tannin content especially punicalagin, found in the extracts of pomegranate is responsible for antimicrobial activity.
What does this mean? The antimicrobial property of extracts of pomegranate can prove to be useful in treating septic arthritis that is caused by infection of bacteria, virus or fungus. These extracts are effective against a wide array of microorganisms and thereby help in treating multidrug resistant diseases.
The polyphenols present in the peel of pomegranate especially punicalagin and ellagic acid decrease the total cholesterol levels and total bile acid content thereby having lipid-lowering effect.
Consumption of pomegranate juice has a positive impact on the fatty acid status of individuals suffering from metabolic syndrome and suggest cardioprotective effects.
Pomegranate seed oil help in maintaining insulin levels in the blood .
The consumption of pomegranate extract may reduce metabolic complications associated with obesity.
What does this mean? Pomegranate extracts promote metabolic health by regulating insulin levels and controlling metabolic syndrome especially in obese individuals. This makes it a superfood which on consumption not only treats arthritis but also has overall health benefits.
How much Pomegranate for Arthritis?
Pomegranate and its extract are safe for consumption in moderate amounts. Drinking around 8 ounces of juice is effective.
As the packed pomegranate juices contain high sugar content it is recommended to have fresh pomegranate juice or packed juice which is sugar-free or low in sugar content.
Studies suggest no toxicity on the intake of pomegranate inappropriate amount, the maximum limit being 1.4 g/day2.
Pomegranate interferes with the action of antibiotics like benazepril, lovastatin, warfarin (blood thinner).
Thus, while taking doses of antibiotics advice from the doctor must be taken.
Pomegranate is known to lower blood pressure, so people with low BP must avoid its intake.
The pregnant and breastfeeding mothers must consult a doctor regarding the amount which is safe for consumption.
The consumption of pomegranate extracts provides a natural remedy for arthritis.
The therapeutic ingredients of pomegranate like ellagic acid, punicalagin are very effective antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial agents.
The pomegranate peel extract has proved to be the most effective in treating the symptoms of arthritis.
It helps to treat an array of arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and septic arthritis.
Metabolic health in individuals is also enhanced by pomegranate flavonoids.
Being effective against a broad spectrum of microorganisms it can emerge as a medicine that can combat multi-drug resistant infections.
Hence, pomegranate is a natural boon to treat arthritis and prevent secondary infections.
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