Pomegranate Extract Supplementation Reduces Inflammation in Overweight and Obese Individuals

Key Takeaway: Researchers report that pomegranate extract consumption may have a beneficial effect on systemic inflammation, oxidative stress, glycemic biomarkers and lipid profiles. The Iranian study (2016) found that oral supplementation of pomegranate extract for 30 days reduces inflammatory markers in overweight and obese subjects. Formulators may want to research the use of custom nutrient premixes with pomegranate extract for people interested in weight management products.

The number of obese and overweight people in the world is increasing. Adverse health consequences associated with obesity include cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, respiratory disorders and various cancers. These chronic diseases are associated with increased insulin resistance, chronic low-grade inflammation and increased oxidative stress that occurs with obesity. Obesity is known to be an inflammatory disorder. Adipocytes secrete inflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL-6). The cytokines, secreted by adipose tissue due to oxidative stress, play a major role in the development of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. There is a great deal of interest in identifying supplementation strategies that will effectively and safely reduce oxidative and pro-inflammatory burden in these diseases. Pomegranate is a fruit known to be an excellent source of polyphenols. Polyphenols are known to have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in humans. In a recent study from Iranian researchers, it has been demonstrated that oral supplementation with pomegranate extract for 30 days has a favorable effect on inflammatory markers in overweight and obese subjects.

The Iranian study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial to determine the possible salutary effects of daily 1000 mg pomegranate extract supplementation, which had a polyphenol content approximately equal to 1 L of fresh pomegranate juice, on biomarkers of oxidative stress (plasma malondialdehyde (MDA)) and inflammatory markers (TNF-α, IL-6, c-reactive protein). Forty-two subjects successfully completed the intervention. For each of the biomarkers tested in this study there is a significant change in the pomegranate extract treatment group post-supplementation, compared to the change observed in the placebo group. Glucose and lipid biomarkers (fasting serum glucose, insulin, insulin insensitivity, total and LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides) significantly decrease in the pomegranate extract group compared to the placebo group, and HDL-cholesterol significantly increased in the pomegranate group. However, most of these changes were considered clinically insignificant. Plasma concentrations of MDA, a biomarker of oxidative stress, decreased significantly pre- to post-supplementation by 36%, while inflammatory markers C-reactive protein and IL-6 decreased by 22% and 15%, respectively, in the pomegranate extract group compared to the placebo.

It can be concluded from this study that pomegranate extract consumption can have a beneficial effect on oxidative stress, systemic inflammation and glycemic biomarkers, as well as lipid profiles. This study is noteworthy because it is the first study addressing the effects of 30 days of pomegranate extract consumption on markers of lipid peroxidation, inflammation and metabolic profiles among obese and overweight individuals. Additional study of the beneficial effects of pomegranate extract and its individual bioactive components appear worthy of further study.

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Source from: Hosseini B, Saedisomeolia A, Wood LG, Yaseri M. 2016. Effects of pomegranate extract supplementation on inflammation in overweight and obese individuals: a randomized controlled clinical trial. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 22:44-50.