Pomegranate Juice

Pomegranate juice has become a very popular new drink among the health-conscious in the last few years. Indeed there is an interesting body of research about this fruit, including indications that it may help lower “bad [LDL] cholesterol,” or that it may slow progression of prostate cancer. One caution, however: pomegranate juice may interact with certain drugs, in particular blood pressure-lowering drugs. For that reason, it’s advisable for anyone taking prescription drugs to consult with their health care provider before adding pomegranate juice to their daily routine.

NYBC stocks a pomegranate juice concentrate, which can be mixed with other beverages. Using a concentrate such as this can be significantly less costly than buying the well-known juice brands from your local grocery or health food store.

Here’s the basic NYBC entry:

Pomegranate Juice CONCENTRATE (Jarrow) Each bottle, 12 oz (355 ml) of 100% pomegranate juice concentrate. This is one of the most powerful sources of antioxidants, superior even to blueberries and strawberries. Derived from a California variety, this juice is concentrated to a level of 4 times that of ordinary pomegranate juice…it is thick! The antioxidants found in the juice include ellagic and gallic acid, anthocyanins and tannins, and punicalagin. Punicalagin is perhaps the most powerful. Various studies suggest that this may help to improve the level of glutathione in cells (see the entries on NAC and glutathione), particularly macrophages. It may have benefit for maintaining platelet levels, lowering LDL and sustaining vascular tone.

You can read more in the full entry:

Pomegranate Juice Concentrate (Jarrow)

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Cholesterol-lowering dietary supplements: views from the Mayo Clinic

NOTE: The Mayo Clinic has updated some of its recommendations on cholesterol-lowering supplements. See our Blog post at

http://wp.me/p7pqN-sb

The Mayo Clinic has posted on its website an interesting podcast entitled “Cholesterol-lowering supplements: which work and which don’t.” This broadcast interview features the views of Dr. Brent Bauer, director of the Complementary and Integrated Medicine Program at Mayo Clinic.

Here are some of the highlights from the podcast:

–Plant sterols, particularly beta-sitosterol and sitostanol. These plant products act much like cholesterol and can reduce the absorption of cholesterol. Can be found in margarine or spreads. (Also included in some supplements, such as Douglas Labs’ Cardio-Edge.)

–Fish oil (omega-3 fatty acids). Strong effect on lowering triglycerides, one measure associated with cardiovascular risk.

–Flaxseed. 40-50 grams per day can have a substantial impact on cholesterol.

–Pomegranate concentrate. Needs more study, though recent research found that diabetic patients taking pomegranate concentrate were able to lower their cholesterol significantly.

–Policosanol, a waxy residue from sugar cane. Much positive data from Cuban researchers a few years ago, but no one outside Cuba has been able to replicate these studies, so there is now a great deal of skepticism about its effectiveness.

— Garlic. Once regarded as interesting for reducing cholesterol, but subsequent studies have shown its value to be very limited.

–Dr. Bauer has some good advice concerning mixing supplements and prescription drugs: “whenever you mix a dietary supplement and a medication, there’s always potential for interactions, what we call drug-herb interactions, so we’re very cautious about doing that. The one exception in this realm would be using one of those plant sterols that we talked about earlier — beta-sitosterol or sitostanol. Those have been studied in conjunction with statin medications, and what those studies show is that you can achieve further reduction, beyond what you’ve got just with the statin medication, by adding one of those plant sterols to your regimen.” We would also add that, among the dietary supplements, niacin has also been studied in conjunction with statins as a means to manage cholesterol. (Niacin is especially noteworthy in that it can help to raise levels of HDL (“good cholesterol”), which, in more recent years, has come to be seen as an important part of reducing cardiovascular risk.)

Listen to the Mayo Clinic podcast at

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cholesterol-lowering/CL00038

Cardio-Edge (Douglas Labs): a plant sterol, Sytrinol and pomegranate-based supplement to maintain cardiovascular health and support healthy cholesterol levels

The NYBC co-op has recently added this item in the category of cholesterol management. For a while now we have been interested in the potential of plant sterols for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, and we noted that our well-regarded supplier Douglas had formulated a supplement that incorporates both plant sterols and two other plant-based components that show a potential benefit in cholesterol management.


Cardio-Edge (Douglas Labs). Cardio-Edge is designed to help maintain cardiovascular health and support healthy cholesterol levels. Its significant components are:

Plant sterols (phytosterols) from soy – 200 mg
Sytrinol – 75 mg
Standardized pomegranate extract (fruit; standardized to 40% ellagic acid) – 25 mg

Plant Sterols
Blood cholesterol is derived from the diet and synthesized in the liver. Sterols work by reducing the absorption of both forms of cholesterol–sterols compete with cholesterol for absorption. Sterols and sterol esters can now be found in many foods including orange juice, rice drink, and margarine.

Sytrinol
This is a proprietary extract of polymethoxylated flavones and tocotrienols from citrus and palm fruits. Sytrinol is intended to have the following effects, some of which you can monitor with routine bloodwork to assess its effect for you. These include:

1) Decrease apoprotein B, needed for LDL synthesis
2) Decrease action of an enzyme in the liver that makes triglycerides
3) Inhibit HMG-CoA reductase in the liver

Sytrinol includes a patented combination of citrus PMFs and alpha, delta and gamma tocotrienols derived from palm fruit. Palm tocotrienols have been shown to inhibit HMG CoA reductase, the enzyme responsible for regulating cholesterol synthesis in the liver. Clinical studies in both animals and humans support Sytrinol’s role in reducing total and LDL-cholesterol as well as triglycerides.

In human clinical studies involving hypercholesterolemic subjects, no side effects were observed with four weeks of supplementing with a daily dose of 300 mg of Sytrinol.

Pomegranate
Recent science has been focusing on the cardioprotective aspects of pomegranate. This brightly colored fruit contains numerous cornpounds known for their antioxidant capabilities, including anthocyanidins, catechins, tannins, and gallic and ellagic acids. Research has shown that supplementation with pomegranate juice can decrease macrophage lipid accumulation and cellular cholesterol accumulation in mice. Recently, research in humans has confirmed a beneficial effect of consuming pomegranate juice on parameters such as LDL oxidation, blood pressure, and blood vessel health.

Please let us know if you have questions or comments about this new item on the NYBC list–emails are welcomed at contact@newyorkbuyersclub.org.