Modern science unlocks the benefits of pomegranatesPublished by Science Editorial Staff
A brief history
Deeply embedded in human history, the pomegranate has been a vital source of food and medicine across diverse cultures and civilizations for thousands of years.
In Greek Mythology, it’s known as the ‘fruit of the dead’ because it was said to have sprung from the blood of Adonis and featured prominently in the myth of Hades and Persephone. Today, the pomegranate still has strong symbolic significance for the Greeks and is a feature of the most important festivals in the Greek Orthodox calendar.
Humans have known about the fruit’s medicinal properties for hundreds of years, but only became known as a super fruit a decade ago. Scientists have since been busy exploring its potential and developing innovative solutions that harness its bioactive properties.
Super rich in antioxidants, pomegranates contain three times higher levels than red wine and green tea and can help remove free radicals, protect cells from damage, and reduce inflammation. The jewel-like seeds get their vibrant red color from polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that have been the focus of our team’s research.
Evidence shows that these supercharged antioxidants can reduce age-related damage to our cells by fighting free radicals. Research is ongoing, but early clinical studies show that polyphenols could help prevent heart disease and cancer as well as have a positive impact on memory and cognition. UCLA carried out a preliminary study in 2013 where a small group of older adults with age-related memory complaints drank 8oz of pomegranate juice daily for four weeks and were then tested with MRI. The results were promising, suggesting that the polyphenol antioxidants in pomegranates could promote increased verbal memory performance and increased functional brain activity.
Antioxidant atoms "give away" their electrons to the Free Radical atoms, preventing them to look for them in other parts of our bodies.
Unlocking the bioactive
Our scientists spent a decade meticulously researching and testing this highly potent fruit. Focusing on ellagitannins, a type of polyphenol found in the peel and bitter white membrane rather than the arils (seeds), they set out to literally get under the skin of its unique biochemistry. They were particularly interested in the bioactives and what happens when we eat the fruit and the biological mechanism triggered in our bodies during digestion.
The breakthrough came when the team discovered Urolithin A, an unusual compound not found in food that triggers the process known as mitophagy, a natural recycling process where damaged mitochondria are renewed and replaced. 10 years of unwavering focus and commitment delivered game-changing science – Mitopure, the first clinically tested* highly pure form of Urolithin A, which bypasses the complexities of the microbiome and unlocks this potent bioactive for everyone.
From pomegranate to pioneering science.