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Pomegranate juice may cut atherosclerosis risk in diabetics

An Israeli study has revealed that the risk of atherosclerosis in diabetics may be decreased by drinking pomegranate juice. This condition is characterized by// thickening and hardening of artery walls. 80% of the diabetics who die are affected by atherosclerosis.

This study, conducted by researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology revealed that there was a decrease in the risk of developing atherosclerosis in people who drank 180 ml (6 oz.) of pomegranate juice daily for a period of 90 days.

The uptake of oxidized LDL or “bad” cholesterol by immune cells called macrophages helps in the development of atherosclerosis. Pomegranate juice seems to prevent this uptake.

According to the lead researcher Professor Michael Aviram of the Technion Faculty of Medicine, though the sugars present in pomegranate juice were similar to those found in other fruit juices, these sugars did not aggravate diabetes.

"In most juices, sugars are present in free – and harmful – forms,” said Aviram. “In pomegranate juice, however, the sugars are attached to unique antioxidants, which actually make these sugars protective against atherosclerosis.”

Though this study was conducted on a small-scale, with only 20 participants, it is a part of a bigger proposal investigating the effects of pomegranates on cholesterol oxidation and cardiovascular diseases.

The antioxidant and anti-atherosclerotic benefits of licorice, olive oil, onions and pomegranates have already been worked upon by Aviram and also has published his findings. He was the first to prove inhibition of cholesterol oxidation and arteriosclerosis by consumption of red wine.

Decrease in risk of Alzheimer's disease, prostate cancer and heart disease by consuming pomegranate juice has already been proved in previous studies.

The current study is published in the August 2006 issue of Atherosclerosis.

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