You may have heard people classify pomegranates as a “super-food,” one of those do-it-all foods jam-packed with health benefits. All in all, they deserve their coveted reputation. Pomegranates are an excellent, inclusive food with a wide range of health benefits, from reducing inflammation to fighting cancer.
You may wonder why you shouldn’t just eat fresh pomegranates. After all, fresh fruits do have their benefits. But the whole fruit can be costly, its juice can be high in sugar and it can be hard to get a consistent dosage. Fortunately, pomegranate extracts offer an affordable solution for those who want all of the health benefits of this superfood in a more convenient form, without the sugar or the exorbitant costs.
What is Pomegranate Extract?
Pomegranate trees are native to Iran and the Himalayas, and the fruit has a long history all over the Mediterranean (x). They have served medicinal purposes for thousands of years (x, x). Pomegranate is also a common ingredient in traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine in many different remedies (x). They’re rich in vitamins and antioxidants that reduce inflammation and potentially prevent cancer cells from developing. They may also help stop harmful fats from building up in arteries and may even lower blood pressure.
Pomegranate extract has all of the benefits of the whole fruit condensed into a powder. Many extracts come from the seeds of the fruit, although the exact composition of the extract can vary. Because it’s in concentrate form, you’ll need a lot less of it to obtain all of the health benefits.
Benefits of Pomegranate Extract
Jammed with an impressive list of nutrients, pomegranate extract has a wide range of benefits.
Research has indicated that pomegranate may effectively lower blood pressure. A study found that those who drank pomegranate juice daily over the course of two weeks had significantly reduced blood pressure (x).
More studies are necessary to follow up on these findings, but pomegranate extract appears to be an excellent choice for those seeking to lower their blood pressure.
Atherosclerosis involves the buildup of fatty material in the arteries, which can cause life threatening diseases.
Pomegranates contain many potent antioxidants that protect cholesterol from oxidation. This feature helps to diminish fatty buildup in the arteries. Pomegranate antioxidants also increase the activity of a molecule called PON1, which breaks down harmful fats and plaques in the arteries (x).
Studies have shown that pomegranate juice reduced triglyceride levels, which may help prevent fatty deposits in arteries. Additional studies have confirmed the role that pomegranate antioxidants play in preventing the oxidation of cholesterol, which deters plaque formation (x).
Cognition & Memory
Animal studies have shown that a compound in pomegranates called polyphenol may have a benefit on cognition and memory, including Alzheimer’s disease (x). More research is needed to validate these findings in humans, but they indicate that pomegranates could give your brain a boost.
The cardiovascular and antioxidant benefits of pomegranates may also help men with erectile dysfunction. Studies in rabbits have shown that pomegranate juice increases blood flow and increases erectile function (x). While more research is needed to see how these findings translate to humans, men who take pomegranate extract may see an improvement in sexual health.
There is research that demonstrates how high doses of pomegranate juice may help fight prostate cancer (x). There are also studies that insist that it may help prevent the growth of breast cancer cells (x). This research is still in its early stages, so more studies are necessary to substantiate these findings.
Side Effects of Pomegranate Extract
While pomegranate extract is a very safe supplement, there are a few side effects that have been reported. Here are some of the most common ones:
This tends to be the most common side effect. If you experience any swelling, itchiness, runny nose or difficulty breathing, stop taking the supplement and seek medical attention immediately. Most allergic reactions will be fairly mild, but contact your doctor if you are having trouble breathing or if the swelling doesn’t subside.
Low Blood Pressure
Because pomegranate extract is used to help lower blood pressure, it can sometimes cause blood pressure that is too low. If your blood pressure drops while taking pomegranate extract, you should consider reducing the dosage or discontinuing the supplement. Consult with your doctor before you resume.
In addition to an immediate allergic reaction, pomegranate extract can cause itching that persists over time. If you notice that your skin becomes itchy after you take the extract, stop taking it and see if the itching decreases. If it doesn’t, speak to a doctor.
Prescription Medication Interference
Studies indicate how pomegranates may potentially interfere with some prescription medications. They conflict by inhibiting molecules that break down the medicine. Without these molecules, the level of the medication in your body may escalate (x).
If you are taking prescription medication and plan on supplementing with pomegranate extract, speak to a doctor and ask about any possible drug interactions.
Dosage for Pomegranate Extract
If you’re planning on taking pomegranate extract, you may wonder what dose you should take. It depends on what you’re taking the supplement for.
A good deal of the research conducted on pomegranates uses pomegranate juice. And within these studies, you’ll find a lot of different doses used. If you plan on using pomegranate extract, the recommended dosage is 750 mg, which is similar to a few glasses of pomegranate juice.
Most people will be able to tolerate a wide range of different doses of pomegranate extract. When you begin supplementing, consider taking a lower dose and seeing how your body responds. If you don’t have any side effects, increase your dose.
Pomegranate extract can be taken alone, but many consumers prefer to take it with food.
Why Take Pomegranate Extract?
Pomegranate extract is one of the most nutrition-packed supplements you can find, offering a powerful natural antioxidant punch that can help you lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation and possibly even fight tumor growth (x, x, x). It may even have benefits for your mental health, boost cognition and enrich memory. Although these benefits may appeal most to the elderly, just about anyone can benefit from the brain protective role of pomegranates, regardless of age.
It’s one of the safest supplements out there as well, with very few common side effects. And it’s affordable, if you’re looking for an all-around health boost that won’t cost you too much.
The Bottom Line
With a wide range of health benefits for users of all ages, pomegranate powder is a potent natural supplement. Its antioxidant properties can help you fight inflammation, reduce plaque buildup in your arteries and fight tumor formation. Pomegranates may even have skin benefits.
Additionally, pomegranate supplements are affordable, making them a great choice for those that want all of the benefits of pomegranates without the expense and hassle of buying fresh fruit.
If you’re looking for an all-around supplement to boost your heart and joint health, then pomegranate extract is an excellent addition to your supplement routine.