Pomegranates are a fruit with an unusual leathery outer rind and spongy interior that is populated with dozens of seeds. These fruits are rich in antioxidants and a phytonutrient called ellagitannin, which is especially helpful in promoting prostate health. If the rough rind is a deterrent to your trying this tasty fruit, pomegranate juice and supplements are always alternatives.
Pomegranates and prostate cancer
A growing number of studies are demonstrating the anticancer abilities of pomegranate extracts in the fight against prostate cancer. In test-tube and animal studies, researchers have shown that pomegranate extracts can slow the reproduction of prostate cancer cells, promote apoptosis (cell suicide), and hinder the growth of new blood vessels, which tumors need for nourishment and to survive.
A University of Quebec study reported that four compounds present in pomegranates—delphinidin chloride, epigallocatechin gallate, kaempferol, and punicic acid, and especially the latter—inhibited prostate cell growth. In another study, pomegranate juice significantly extended the time for PSA levels to double in men who had undergone treatment for prostate cancer, while University of California, Riverside, investigators note they have identified the components of pomegranate that are responsible for the fruit’s beneficial effects
Test tube studies show that pomegranate extracts can slow the reproduction of prostate cancer cells and prompt the cells to commit suicide. In other studies, ellagitannins have shown that they can interfere with the growth of new blood vessels, which are necessary to nourish prostate tumors. At the University of California, Los Angeles, researchers found that pomegranate juice significantly slowed progression of prostate cancer in men who had had surgery or radiation for the disease but whose PSA levels had risen, indicating a possible return of the disease.
Pomegranate rind has demonstrated an ability to fight prostate cancer, especially metastasis. In a 2017 study from China, researchers reported that pomegranate rind extract inhibited the growth of prostate cancer cells and also induced apoptosis. The authors concluded that pomegranate rind extract “could be a promising drug candidate to treat prostate cancer.”
Pomegranates and erectile dysfunction
The results of both animal and human studies have indicated that pomegranates have some potential as a natural treatment for erectile dysfunction. in animal and human studies. In a study of men who had mild to moderate signs of erectile dysfunction, for example, drinking pomegranate juice resulted in some improvement in erectile function. An animal study conducted in Turkey revealed that pomegranate juice can slightly raise levels of testosterone, a hormone which, when at low levels, can be one of the causes of erectile dysfunction. In this study, the researchers attributed the rise in testosterone to the high antioxidant levels in pomegranates.
Deng Y et al. The extract from Punica granatum (pomegranate) peel induces apoptosis and impairs metastasis in prostate cancer cells. Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy 2017 Sep; 93:976-84
Forest CP et al. Efficacy and safety of pomegranate juice on improvement of erectile dysfunction in male patients with mild to moderate erectile dysfunction: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind crossover study. International Journal of Impotence Research 2007
Turk G et al. Effects of pomegranate juice consumption on sperm quality, spermatogenic cell density, antioxidant activity and testosterone level in male rats. Clinical Nutrition 2008 Apr; 27(2): 289-96