The future of cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment will not be found in your medicine cabinet, rather in your kitchen cupboard or in your back yard growing on a tree. A new study published in the journal Atherosclerosis confirms that pomegranate extract may prevent and/or reverse the primary pathology associated with cardiac mortality: the progressive thickening of the coronary arteries caused by the accumulation of fatty materials known as atherosclerosis.
Pomegranate Found To Prevent Coronary Artery Disease Progression
Mice with a genetic susceptibility towards spontaneous coronary artery blockages were given pomegranate extract via their drinking water for two weeks, beginning at three weeks of age. Despite the fact that pomegranate treatment actually increased cholesterol levels associated with very low density lipoprotein-sized particles, the treatment both reduced the size of the atherosclerotic plaques in the aortic sinus (the dilated opening above the aortic valve) and reduced the proportion of coronary arteries with occlusive atherosclerotic plaques.
Remarkably, the researchers also found that pomegranate extract treatment resulted in the following beneficial effects:
– Reduced levels of oxidative stress
– Reduced monocytie chemotactic protein-1, a chemical messenger (chemokine) associated with inflammatory processes within the arteries.
– Reduced lipid accumulation in the heart muscle
– Reduced macrophage infiltration in the heart muscle
– Reduced levels of monocyte chemotactic protein-1 and fibrosis in the myocardium
– Reduced cardiac enlargement
– Reduced ECG abnormalities
How can something as benign and commonplace as a fruit extract reverse so many aspects of coronary artery disease, simultaneously, as evidenced by the study above? The answer may lie in the fact that our ancestors co-evolved with certain foods (fruits in particular) for so long that a lack of adequate quantities of these foods may directly result in deteriorating organ function. Indeed, two-time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling argued that vitamin C deficiency is a fundamental cause of cardiovascular disease, owing to the fact that our hominid primate ancestors once had year-round access to fruits, and as a result lost the ability to synthesize it.