Most people associate pomegranates with heart health, but studies are showing its potential against cancer.
A study has shown that compounds found in this ancient fruit can deter cancer formation and progression.
This latest pre-clinical study showed it even stopped cancer cells from growing and spreading.
Pomegranates contain a unique combination of antioxidants and flavonoids.
The flavonoids in pomegranate have greater antioxidant activity than those in red wine or green tea.
Extracts from pomegranate’s have been shown to affect cancer cell inflammation and prevented spreading in multiple in vitro studies.
Several studies demonstrated that pomegranate extract and juice have anticancer activity in breast cancer cell lines.
HOW IT SEEMS TO WORK
Pomegranate extracts (which include not only the fruit but also chemical compounds from its skin) have shown multiple effects on cancer cells
Its role in blocking the growth of the cells seems to be the most promising. Pomegranates extracts seem to shut off a cancer cells ability to divide, limiting its growth. But it doesn’t stop healthy cells from dividing normally.
Scientists have noticed that it seems to increase apoptosis, which means the cancer cells die.
A very promising effect was pomegranate compounds seem to starve cancer cells by stopping new blood vessels from attaching to the cancer cutting off its food supply.
All this means is that this taken together shows tremendous hope for preventing cancer cells spread while having limited side effects.
CANCERS THAT SEEM TO BE AFFECTED
Two particular cancer cells have been studied; prostate and breast.
Prostate cancer is the second highest cancer-causing death in men. The apoptosis caused by the pomegranate extracts seems to limit the spread of the cancer.
It seemed to slow the increase of PSA (a blood protein that is a key marker of prostate cancer).
After treatment doctors noticed that men who had received the pomegranate extract had their PSA levels rise at a much slower rate. Slowing the rate of growth is a great step forward.
The effects of pomegranate extract in breast cancer were also promising, blocking the growth of cells, and even preventing the initial formation of breast cancer.
The study injected rats with a toxin proven to create breast cancer, and the pomegranate extract prevented formation of the cancer cells.
Scientists hope to isolate the specific compounds in pomegranate extracts to aid in the war against cancer.
Using natural compounds may reduce the side effects in most chemotherapy regimens.
The pomegranate may have been one of the first cultivated fruits.
There is evidence that for over 5000 years people have been planting these trees to help nourish themselves in ancient Iran.
Because it was delicious and was even reported to have healing properties, its popularity spread to the Mediterranean.
It was so important that it was used as part of the garments of the priests in God’s temple:
“And beneath upon the hem of it thou shalt make pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, round about the hem thereof; and bells of gold between them round about: a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about.” Exodus 28:33–34
There is now hope that this ancient fruit will help us against the scourge of cancer today.