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Pomegranate Fruit Shown To Slow Cartilage Deterioration In Osteoarthritis

  1. Sep 23, 2005 #1


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    I got the feeling that many older women are concerned about
    breaking a leg or a hip bone, well, I just heard on the Dr. Michio Kaku
    radio show, his talk about this.

    it seems that the main problem with early weakling of the bones is the
    wearing and the shrinking of the cartilage between the bones. some
    researchers say that drinking pomegranate juice can help to slow the
    loss of cartilage.

    normally I don't pay that much attention to new medical news, there
    is just too many things that get reversed or dis-proven later, so it's
    best to wait and see if some respected science journal or a respected
    doctor or news site talks about it, Michio Kaku and Science Daily are
    have talked about it now, so I sent the article below.

    note, you can download the MP3 of that radio show, here

    Wednesday, September 21, 2005 5:00 pm Play Download

    (pages about him)

    Source: Case Western Reserve University
    Date: 2005-09-01
    URL: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050901072114.htm


    Pomegranate Fruit Shown To Slow Cartilage Deterioration In Osteoarthritis
    Science Daily 2005 Sept. 01

    Pomegranate fruit extracts can block enzymes that contribute to osteoarthritis according to a Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine study published in the September 2005 issue of the Journal of Nutrition.

    The study looked at the ability of an extract of pomegranate fruit against Interleukin-1b (IL-1b), a pro-inflammatory protein molecule that plays a key role in cartilage degradation in osteoarthritis. Current treatments for osteoarthritis -- which affects 20 million people nationwide, according to the National Institutes of Health -- offer limited effectiveness and do little to slow joint destruction and disease progression.

    "This has generated considerable interest in the identification and development of new approaches and reagents to treat and inhibit, if not abolish, the progress of the disease," said Tariq M. Haqqi, Ph.D., professor of medicine at Case.

    "Arthritis is one of the foremost diseases for which patients seek herbal or traditional medicine treatments. However, all the extracts and herbs have not yet been scientifically evaluated for their efficacy and safety. Indeed, some of them may even interfere with the current treatments," Haqqi said. "Therefore, careful use of supplements and herbal medicines during early stages of disease or treatment may be made to limit the disease progression."

    Plant-based flavonoids found in fruits, leaves and vegetables have attracted a lot of attention for their beneficial health effects in various diseases. Pomegranate, in particular, has been found to possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that have potential therapeutic benefits in a variety of diseases. The Case study demonstrated for the first time the ability of pomegranate fruit extracts to slow the deterioration of human cartilage.

    "It has been revered through the ages for its medicinal properties," said Haqqi. "Studies in animal models of cancer suggest that pomegranate fruit extract consumption may be anticarcinogenic, whereas studies in mice and humans indicate that it may also have a potential therapeutic and chemopreventive adjuvant effect in cardiovascular disorders."

    A bonus with the native Persian fruit is that its antioxidant constituents are rapidly absorbed by the body and are non-toxic.

    Using tissue samples of human cartilage affected by osteoarthritis, researchers added a water extract of pomegranate fruit to the culture using a well-established in vitro model. The findings showed a new activity for pomegranate fruit extract -- namely cartilage protection -- in addition to its previously discovered antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

    The IL-1b protein molecules create an overproduction of inflammatory molecules including matrix metalloproteases (MMP), which are tightly regulated enzymes necessary for tissue remodeling. When overproduced in a disease state, such as osteoarthritis, they degrade the cartilage resulting in joint damage and destruction.

    The Case study results indicate that pomegranate fruit extracts inhibit the overproduction of MMP enzymes in human cartilage cells.

    "This suggests that consumption of pomegranate fruit extract may help in protecting cartilage from the effects of IL-1b by suppressing cartilage degradation in OA," Haqqi said.

    More studies are needed to determine the absorption rate of pomegranate fruit extracts in the joints. Future plans include animal model studies in osteoarthritis to determine whether the fruit extract promotes cartilage repair, and whether it can also be effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis.

    This research was supported in part by grants from the National Institutes of Health National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.


    This story has been adapted from a news release issued by Case Western Reserve University.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 24, 2005 #2


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    Staff Emeritus
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    Um...note they are talking about an extract from pomegranate fruit. They are also applying it directly to cells in tissue culture (at the end of the quoted text, they mention it has not even been tested in animal models of osteoarthritis yet to know if it does anything when administered systemically).

    There are also two conflicting statements in this article:

    If they haven't tested them for efficacy and safety, how can they make the claim they are rapidly absorbed and non-toxic? Perhaps they are non-toxic in the concentrations present in the juice, but as DocToxyn can tell you, toxicity is dose and time dependent. If the compound in pomegranate juice that has IL-1b antagonist properties needs to be concentrated and administered at much higher doses than it is found in juice in order to be effective, it may not still be safe/non-toxic at those doses.

    It also sounds from your preface that either you or M. Kaku are confusing osteoarthritis with osteoporosis (I didn't follow the links to find out where the confusion began). Osteoarthritis is a condition that involves painful inflammation of the joints. Osteoporosis is the condition of weakened, fragile bones and has nothing to do with joint inflammation. (I wouldn't take Kaku as any sort of authority on biology anyway.)

    On the positive side, if they have identified a novel compound that is an effective (and hopefully specific) antagonist of IL-1b, this is an exciting finding even if it doesn't necessarily translate to a treatment of osteoarthritis, or one as simple as drinking more pomegranate juice (maybe it can be injected locally to the joints, or be used for research that will lead to finding something else even more effective). They would need to show it specifically antagonizes IL-1b and not all interleukins for this to be very exciting though.
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