Newswise — The pomegranate is a large, seedy red fruit, slightly larger than an orange. Centuries ago the fruit was grown on shrubs and small trees in southwestern Asia; over time it came to be cultivated by the growers of California.

The pomegranate's irresistible appeal and legendary medicinal properties have been the subject of myths, epics and works of art, from Raphael and Cézanne to Homer and Shakespeare. Some scholars now suggest that it was a pomegranate -- not an apple -- depicted in the biblical Garden of Eden. Legendary allusions aside, pomegranate juice has been scientifically shown to help the body, as it is rich in antioxidants, the molecules that protect the body from heart disease, premature aging, Alzheimer's disease, and cancer.

PresentationTo discuss recent research findings into the benefits of pomegranate juice is Risa Schulman, Ph.D., Scientific Advisor, POM Wonderful, LLC, and Visiting Assistant Professor, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Dr. Schulman will deliver her remarks, entitled "Breakthrough Findings In Pomegranate Juice Research," at the 20th Annual Convention of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) (, being held at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel, Phoenix, AZ, August 24-27, 2005. Her remarks are based on research funded in part by the makers of POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice, the first ever refrigerated pomegranate juice.

Highlights of Research FindingsResearch highlights from Schulman's presentation include:

* Pomegranatae Juice and Ischemic Heart DiseaseA new study, just published in the September 2005 edition of the American Journal of the College of Cardiolgists, examined the effect of pomegranate juice on patients with ischemic heart disease. Forty-five patients drank eight ounces of pomegranate juice or placebo for three months; blood flow to the heart before and after exercise was measured using thallium scans at zero and three months. Researchers found that in patients drinking pomegranate juice, oxygen deficiency to the heart during exercise was signfiicantly reduced compared to placebo, suggesting increased blood flow to the heart.

* Pomegranate Juice's Potential Benefits For Erectile Dysfunction (ED)A study published in the July 2005 edition of the Journal of Urology, entitled "Oxidative Stress in Arteriogenic Erectile Dysfunction: Prophylactic Role of Antioxidants," examined the effects of long term intake of pomegranate juice on erectile dysfunction (ED) in an animal model. The results suggest for the first time that free radicals (oxidative stress) are a contributing factor in erectile dysfunction. As a result, pomegranate juice may be of benefit through an antioxidant mechanism.

* Pomegranate Juice and Antioxidant ActivityA study appearing in the journal, Drugs Under Experimental and Clinical Research (2002), entitled " Pomegranate Juice Flavonoids Inhibit Low-Density Lipoprotein Oxidation and Cardiovascular Diseases: Studies in Atherosclerotic Mice and in Humans," summarized the antioxidant and cardiovascular benefits of pomegranate juice. The research included data showing that pomegranate juice has a higher polyphenol content than red wine, grape juice, cranberry juice cocktail, blueberry juice and orange juice. Pomegranate juice also showed a greater ability to inhibit LDL oxidation than the other beverages.

* Pomegranate Juice and Cardiovascular Health Five studies demonstrating a beneficial effect of pomegranate juice on cardiovascular health have recently been published in a number of scientific journals. These studies concluded that pomegranate juice:

1. significantly increased levels of nitric oxide; 2. reduced arterial plaque by 30 percent; 3. inhibited ACE by 36 percent and reduced systolic blood pressure;4. reduced expected plaque build up in mice by 44 percent; and 5. reduced expected plaque build-up by 17 percent in advanced atherolsclerosis.

* Pomegranate Juice: Neonatal Benefits Traumatic births, such as those where the umbilical cord is wrapped around the neck, can cause a lack of oxygen to the baby's brain, and result in minimal to extensive brain damage and disability. Free radicals play a large role in causing this damage. Since antioxidants neutralize free radicals, POM Wonderful researchers examined whether the high levels of polyphenol antioxidants found in pomegranate juice could help protect against brain damage to babies undergoing traumatic birth. In a study published earlier this year in Pediatric Research, the investigators found that supplementing the mother with pomegranate juice was neuroprotective for the neonatal brain.

ConclusionPomegranates have been consumed by man since before recorded history. We are now beginning to understand how beneficial this product's juice may be to human health.

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The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) was founded in 1985 to provide alternative methods for healing human diseases and disorders than have been traditionally offered in the United States. Members of the AANP must have graduated from one of North America's six accredited graduate schools of naturopathic medicine and served a clinical residency.

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20th Annual Convention of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP)