Friday, March 1st 2019 at 4:30 am
Research confirms the power of a simple dietary change in improving memory problems in middle-aged and older adults.
In a study titled, “Pomegranate juice augments memory and FMRI activity in middle-aged and older adults with mild memory complaints,” thirty-two subjects with self-reported memory complaints were randomly assigned to drink 8 ounces of either pomegranate juice or a flavor-matched placebo drink for 4 weeks, receiving memory testing, functional MRI scans (fMRI), and blood draws for peripheral biomarkers before and after the intervention.
After 4 weeks, only the pomegranate group showed significant improvement in verbal memory scores and plasma antioxidant levels. Furthermore, compared to placebo, the pomegranate group showed increased fMRI activity during verbal and memory tasks, indicating pomegranate juice consumption results in increased blood flow to critical task-related brain regions.
This is not the first study to identify a brain-beneficial effect to pomegranate juice, as a sizable body of animal research already exists demonstrating it has neuroprotective properties against aluminum-, stroke-,  and glucose deprivation-associated neurotoxicity, and may also inhibit the formation of pathological plaques and the over-excitation of microglial cells associated with Alzheimer’s disease.  
Pomegranate, in fact, is capable of unclogging and tonifying the cardiovascular system, which is especially important when it comes to brain health, and so-called vascular dementia. In fact, in a previous article titled, “How To Clean Your Arteries with One Simple Fruit,” I report on the ability of pomegranate juice to regress blockages within the carotid arteries of patients.
There is also its well-known age-defying ability to prevent adverse changes associated with the exhaustion of ovarian function. In a previous article, “Amazing Fact: Pomegranate Can Function as a Back-up Ovary,” we looked at animal research explaining how this legendary food, traditionally linked with regeneration and immortality, may provide an alternative to bioidenticial and synthetic hormone replacement therapies.
As the research community continues to explore the potential role of so-called ‘medicinal foods’ in improving quality of life and preventing and/or treating diseases that are largely refractory to conventional drug-based interventions, we can rest assured that pomegranate will continue to play a central role in the rediscovery of food as medicine.
While much of the research is preliminary, an increasingly robust body of human clinical research indicates that pomegranate has a wide range of potential health benefits, including:
- Improve Pregnancy/Birth Outcomes: Pomegranate juice has been found to potentially protect the unborn fetus by reducing oxidative stress in the placenta.
- Improve Rheumatoid Arthritis: Pomegranate juice reduces disease activity and oxidative stress in rheumatoid patients.
- Improve Heart Disease: Pomegranate juice has been found to have anti-atherogenic properties by reducing oxidative stress, including LDL cholesterol oxidation.
- Fights Prostate Cancer: Pomegranate juice has been found to prolong prostate doubling, as well as inhibit the proliferation and increase programmed cell death in the prostates of men with prostate cancer.
- Contributes to Weight Loss: Pomegranate juice was found to contribute to a reduction in weight, without decreasing insulin sensitivity like other commonly used sources of ‘sugar.’
For additional research on pomegranate’s wide range of health benefits, visit our pomegranate research page: Pomegranate Health Benefits, wherein you will find primary literature study abstracts on its value in over 100 potential health conditions.
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 David J Loren, Navindra P Seeram, Risa N Schulman, David M Holtzman. Maternal dietary supplementation with pomegranate juice is neuroprotective in an animal model of neonatal hypoxic-ischemic brain injury. Pediatr Res. 2005 Jun ;57(6):858-64. Epub 2005 Mar 17. PMID: 15774834
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 Allan J Pantuck, John T Leppert, Nazy Zomorodian, William Aronson, Jenny Hong, R James Barnard, Navindra Seeram, Harley Liker, Hejing Wang, Robert Elashoff, David Heber, Michael Aviram, Louis Ignarro, Arie Belldegrun. Phase II study of pomegranate juice for men with rising prostate-specific antigen following surgery or radiation for prostate cancer. Forsch Komplementmed. 2007 Feb;14(1):39-44. Epub 2007 Mar 6. PMID: 16818701
 Manuel González-Ortiz, Esperanza Martínez-Abundis, María C Espinel-Bermúdez, Karina G Pérez-Rubio. Effect of pomegranate juice on insulin secretion and sensitivity in patients with obesity. Ann Nutr Metab. 2011 ;58(3):220-3. Epub 2011 Jul 28. PMID: 21811060
Originally published: 2013-08-24
Article updated: 2019-03-01
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