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A pill capsule of pomegranate next to a cup of pomegranate juice

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Pomegranate Extract vs. Juice

Published by Jinan Banna, PhD, RD
A pill capsule of pomegranate next to a cup of pomegranate juice

You may have heard about some of the health benefits of consuming pomegranate, a fruit that is rich in antioxidants. With all of the interest in pomegranate, there are now different ways to consume it, such as in the form of juice or as extract in liquid and dry powder forms. Read on to find out more about the benefits of the different options.

Pomegranate extract powder texture

Pomegranate extract benefits

Pomegranate extract, derived both from the seed and peel, may be consumed as a dietary supplement and has been shown to have a number of potential health benefits. Pomegranate peel extract is rich in polyphenols, as the peel contains 10.4%–21.3% tannins.[1] Pomegranate seeds are about 18% oil, and pomegranate seed oil may be consumed.[2]

Pomegranate extract has been shown to be anti-inflammatory, mainly due to the ellagitannins and ellagic acid it contains.[3] For example, a study in rats demonstrated that administration of pomegranate extract led to a decrease in inflammation after a surgical procedure.[4] As inflammation is associated with a number of chronic conditions, pomegranate extract holds promise when it comes to disease prevention.

Research also points to the numerous benefits of all of the different polyphenol compounds in pomegranate peel extract. These compounds include ellagic acid, which has lots of functions in the body, including:

  • Anti-oxidation
  • Anti-tumor
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Neuroprotection
  • Anti-viral
  • and anti-bacterial.[5]

Some of the research on pomegranate extract relates specifically to conditions affecting women. In a study performed in rats, the use of pomegranate juice extract was found to lead to an improvement in endometrial function and structure in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome. [6]The research suggests that consumption may provide some benefits for those suffering from this illness.

Pomegranate extract has also been shown to have some potential health benefits particularly for men. Some studies have supported its use in the prevention or management of prostate cancer, erectile dysfunction, and benign prostatic hyperplasia.[7] For example, one study showed that pomegranate extract was effective at preventing testosterone-induced benign prostatic hyperplasia, which could be due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of pomegranate.[8]

These are a few examples of potential health benefits of pomegranate extract, as there has been additional research on other conditions.

Pomegranate juice

Pomegranate Juice health benefits

Among the benefits of pomegranate juice is its antioxidative nature. Antioxidants play a role in prevention of chronic disease. Pomegranate juice contains punicalagin, a substance that makes up part of the polyphenol family ellagitannins and accounts for more than half of the antioxidant activity of pomegranate juice.[9]

Pomegranate juice also has been shown to have antimicrobial properties. It has demonstrated both antibacterial and antiviral activities, which is of interest particularly given the possibility of widespread global virus pandemics.[10] Pomegranate juice holds promise in terms of the prevention and treatment of infection.

There are also anti-inflammatory properties of pomegranate juice. Some studies have shown that pomegranate juice can be used as an anti-inflammatory agent to treat chronic inflammatory diseases such as cardiovascular disorders.[11] Additional studies in humans with larger samples are needed to further understand the benefits.

Some studies have focused on particular diseases such as type 2 diabetes. One such study showed that consumption of pomegranate juice helped with control of blood glucose levels.[12] Another study in diabetics did not show benefits for blood glucose, but did demonstrate anti-inflammatory effects.[13]

These are a few examples of potential health benefits of pomegranate juice, as there has been additional research on particular conditions.

Big pill capsule of pomegranate extract next. a tiny glass of pomegranate juice

Does pomegranate extract have more benefits than the juice?

While both pomegranate juice and extract have been shown to have health benefits, some studies that have drawn comparisons between the two have revealed differences in their effects. Other studies have not revealed such differences. Of note, there may be a good deal of variability in the activity of pomegranate juice and extract in the body depending on the source or type of preparation, making it more difficult to draw conclusions.[14]

One example of these differences is with regards to the ability of pomegranate juice, but not pomegranate extract, to lower the glycemic response of a high-glycemic index food when consumed together. This is of importance when it comes to reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Pomegranate juice consumed with bread was able to reduce blood glucose spikes, whereas pomegranate extract containing the husk, internal membranes, and remaining seed, did not show the same benefit.[15]

Another study focused on gut bacteria showed similar beneficial effects of pomegranate juice and extract. Both enhanced the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. The authors suggest that pomegranate in these forms may work as a prebiotic, which has a beneficial effect on the gut.[16]

Urolithin A molecule

Urolithin A molecule

Pomegranate supplement vs Urolithin A

Urolithin A is a compound that results from the breakdown of polyphenols in pomegranates in the body and has been shown to play an important role in slowing the aging process. While it is possible to take a pomegranate supplement as a source of polyphenols, an alternative is Mitopure, which is Urolithin A in supplement form. Consuming this in supplement form ensures that you are getting the necessary Urolithin A benefits to support healthy aging.

Final words

Both pomegranate extract and juice have been shown to have potential health benefits that relate to functions such as anti-oxidation, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial. Studies have been conducted that relate to particular aspects of health, and additional studies are needed to further understand these benefits. Urolithin A resulting from the breakdown of polyphenols in pomegranates is an important part of the rationale for consumption of juice and supplements and should be considered in the discussion of healthy aging.

References
  1. Chen W, Liu R, Ha, ZB, & Li QZ. Chemical constituents and pharmacological action of pomegranate peel. Beijing Agriculture. 2015;17:97.

  2. Zarfeshany A, Asgary S, Javanmard SH. Potent health effects of pomegranate. Advanced biomedical research. 2014;3.

  3. Zarfeshany A, Asgary S, Javanmard SH. Potent health effects of pomegranate. Advanced biomedical research. 2014;3.

  4. Kahya V, Meric AY, Yazici M, Yuksel M, Midi A, Gedikli O. Antioxidant effect of pomegranate extract in reducing acute inflammation due to myringotomy. The Journal of Laryngology & Otology. 2011 Apr;125(4):370-5.

  5. Xiang Q, Li M, Wen J, Ren F, Yang Z, Jiang X, Chen Y. The bioactivity and applications of pomegranate peel extract: A review. Journal of Food Biochemistry. 2022 Feb 6:e14105.

  6. Ibrahim MA, Sadek MT, Eldin HS. Role of pomegranate extract in restoring endometrial androgen receptor expression, proliferation, and pinopodes in a rat model of polycystic ovary syndrome. Morphologie. 2021 May 19.

  7. Kroeger N, Belldegrun AS, Pantuck AJ. Pomegranate extracts in the management of men's urologic health: scientific rationale and preclinical and clinical data. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine: eCAM. 2013;2013.

  8. Ammar AE, Esmat A, Hassona MD, Tadros MG, Abdel‐Naim AB, Guns ES. The effect of pomegranate fruit extract on testosterone‐induced BPH in rats. The Prostate. 2015 May;75(7):679-92.

  9. Seeram N, Lee R, Hardy M, Heber D. Rapid large scale purification of ellagitannins from pomegranate husk, a by-product of the commercial juice industry. Separation and purification technology. 2005 Jan 1;41(1):49-55.

  10. Howell AB, D'Souza DH. The pomegranate: effects on bacteria and viruses that influence human health. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2013 Oct;2013.

  11. Danesi F, Ferguson LR. Could pomegranate juice help in the control of inflammatory diseases?. Nutrients. 2017 Aug 30;9(9):958.

  12. Banihani SA, Makahleh SM, El-Akawi Z, Al-Fashtaki RA, Khabour OF, Gharibeh MY, Saadah NA, Al-Hashimi FH, Al-Khasieb NJ. Fresh pomegranate juice ameliorates insulin resistance, enhances β-cell function, and decreases fasting serum glucose in type 2 diabetic patients. Nutrition research. 2014 Oct 1;34(10):862-7.

  13. Sohrab G, Nasrollahzadeh J, Zand H, Amiri Z, Tohidi M, Kimiagar M. Effects of pomegranate juice consumption on inflammatory markers in patients with type 2 diabetes: A randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Journal of research in medical sciences: the official journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences. 2014 Mar;19(3):215.

  14. Li Z, Summanen PH, Komoriya T, Henning SM, Lee RP, Carlson E, Heber D, Finegold SM. Pomegranate ellagitannins stimulate growth of gut bacteria in vitro: Implications for prebiotic and metabolic effects. Anaerobe. 2015 Aug 1;34:164-8.

  15. Kerimi A, Nyambe-Silavwe H, Gauer JS, Tomás-Barberán FA, Williamson G. Pomegranate juice, but not an extract, confers a lower glycemic response on a high–glycemic index food: Randomized, crossover, controlled trials in healthy subjects. The American journal of clinical nutrition. 2017 Dec 1;106(6):1384-93.

  16. Li Z, Summanen PH, Komoriya T, Henning SM, Lee RP, Carlson E, Heber D, Finegold SM. Pomegranate ellagitannins stimulate growth of gut bacteria in vitro: Implications for prebiotic and metabolic effects. Anaerobe. 2015 Aug 1;34:164-8.

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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. References: *Nutrition studies: 500mg Mitopure® have been shown to (1) induce gene expression related to mitochondria function and metabolism and (2) increase the strength of the hamstring leg muscle in measures of knee extension and flexion in overweight 40-65 year olds. Data from two randomized double-blind placebo-controlled human clinical trials. **Nutrition NOURISH Study: 500mg Mitopure® have been shown to deliver at least 6 times higher Urolithin A plasma levels over 24 hours (area under the curve) than 8 ounces (240ml) of pomegranate juice in a randomized human clinical trial.