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Posted by on Mar 21, 2021 in Rheumatoid Arthritis | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study investigated the possible effects of Punica granatum (pomegranate) on indicators and symptoms caused by rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

The data showed that pomegranate may have a positive impact on RA-related indicators and symptoms.

Some background

The inflammation caused by RA can lead to symptoms like swollen joints, pain, limited function, and fatigue. Less inflammation usually means fewer symptoms. The state of inflammation can be reflected in several blood values. For example, high levels of erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) or C-reactive protein (CRP) indicate increased inflammation. The strength of symptoms and their impact on daily life can be evaluated with questionnaires like Disease Activity Score 28 (DAS28). A higher score indicates more severe symptoms.

A reduction of free radicals (oxidants) supports a reduction of inflammatory processes in the body. Oxidants initiate a process (oxidation) that is very harmful to the human body. Antioxidants are naturally present in the body and act as a defense mechanism against oxidants. Antioxidants found in external sources like foods enhance this defense mechanism and help protect the body. 

The standard treatment for RA includes drugs that aim to lower inflammatory processes to ease symptoms. There is a growth in applying additional remedies like fruits and vegetables due to their antioxidant and inflammatory benefits. Pomegranate is known for its strong antioxidant action. Its effect on RA and RA-related symptoms remain under investigation.

Methods & findings

This study evaluated the data of 12 studies regarding the effects of pomegranate on RA and RA-related symptoms. The studies included data gathered from laboratory, animal, and human studies.

One human-study had two groups of 30 patients with RA. One group consumed 1g of pomegranate extract daily, while the second group received a placebo. The pomegranate-group reported significantly reduced pain, swollen joints, and levels of stiffness in comparison to placebo. DAS28-scores and ESR-levels also decreased significantly. CRP-values did not lower significantly.

Eight animal studies and three laboratory publications were evaluated. The laboratory studies showed that pomegranate extract could reduce indicators of inflammation. In animal studies, the application of pomegranate extract reduced signs of inflammation and blood levels related to inflammation. Overall, laboratory and animal tests showed a stronger reduction in inflammation-related blood values than the human study.

No side-effects were reported in any of the studies.

The bottom line

The authors concluded that pomegranate as an addition in the treatment of patients with RA may lower measures of inflammation and ease symptoms.

The fine print

The application of laboratory and animal studies to humans is limited. The number of participants in the human research was relatively low. 

What’s next?

Ask your doctor about the option to introduce antioxidant foods like pomegranate to your diet.

Published By :

International journal of clinical practice

Date :

Jan 05, 2021

Original Title :

Potential effects of Pomegranate (Punica granatum) on Rheumatoid arthritis: A systematic review.

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