Society for Endocrinology BES 2011
People who drank pomegranate juice both before and after exercise
experienced reductions in blood pressure as well as improvements in
peroxidation levels associated with exercise-induced oxidative stress,
according to data presented at the Society for Endocrinology BES 2011 meeting.
“Our study shows that pomegranate juice may have the potential to
lower BP levels both at rest and following exercise,” researcher Emad
Al-Dujaili, PhD, of Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, Scotland, said
in a press release. “Whilst the effects that we found were slight, they do
give us an insight into how pomegranate juice and the hormone cortisol can
alter this system in the human body to give health improvements.”
Al-Dujaili and colleagues conducted a randomized, placebo-controlled
study sponsored by RJA Foods POMEGREAT. Twenty participants were randomly
assigned to consume 500 mL of water or 500 mL of pomegranate juice containing
1,685 mg of total phenolics per liter daily. BP and urinary lipid peroxidation
levels were measured before and after two 30-minute treadmill exercise sessions
at baseline and 1 week after randomization.
Results revealed significant decreases in
systolic BP among participants in the pomegranate juice group
after 1 week, with pre-exercise levels declining from 141 mm Hg to 136.1 mm Hg
(P=.03) and postexercise levels declining from 156.4 mm Hg to 149.5 mm
Hg (P=.04). Diastolic BP also decreased in this group. Pre- and
postexercise levels declined from 90.9 mm Hg to 87.1 mm Hg (P=.04) and
from 102.6 mm Hg to 94.6 mm Hg (P=.05), respectively.
Additionally, data demonstrated a reduction in the ratio of cortisol to
cortisone, from 1.81 to 0.82, in the urine in the pomegranate juice group.
Urinary free cortisol also declined from 39.1 nmol to 26.4 nmol per 24 hours,
while urinary free cortisone increased significantly from 28.1 nmol to 51.9
nmol per 24 hours.
Although the results are promising, Al-Dujaili acknowledged the
study’s limitations and outlined future areas for research.
“Our study was only on a small number of healthy volunteers, so the
next step is to see if pomegranate juice might have similar effects on people
with high BP, a known risk factor for
heart disease and stroke,” Al-Dujaili said. “We
also want to look at whether pomegranate juice has an effect on other areas
where glucocorticoids are known to play a part, such as BMI, fat distribution
and insulin resistance.”
For more information: