Pomegranate juice is a nutrient-dense beverage containing high concentrations of antioxidants, particularly vitamin C and polyphenols. Pomegranate juice slows down or prevents buildup of arterial plaque based on studies in test tubes, animals and humans, yet there is not any solid evidence it may clean your arteries. However, the fruit juice can be dangerous when taken with certain medications. Consult your doctor about drinking pomegranate juice to clean your arteries.
Atherosclerosis is a cardiovascular disease characterized by hardened arteries clogged with plaque made from fat, cholesterol, calcium and other substances. A small part of plaque can dislodge from your arterial wall and cause a blood clot that can block blood flow and induce a heart attack or stroke. High blood levels of LDL cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol, and inflammation of the endothelium, the cells that line the interior of your arteries, are risk factors for developing atherosclerosis.
Lowering your blood levels of LDL-cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol, may reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. The polyphenols in pomegranate juice may inhibit oxidation of LDL cholesterol and reduce progression of atherosclerosis in your coronary arteries. Scientists at the National Nutrition and Food Technology Research Institute in Tehran, Iran, found drinking pomegranate juice significantly lowers blood levels of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in patients with diabetes, high total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, according to research published in the "International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research" in May 2006.
The endothelial cells normally produce a gas called nitric oxide that relaxes and expands the arteries and increases blood flow. Endothelial cells that are chronically exposed to LDL cholesterol become inflamed with impaired production of nitric oxide, according to research published by scientists at the Center for Cardiovascular Research in Berlin, Germany, and published in "Diabetes and Vascular Disease Research" in June 2007. Pomegranate juice stimulates the production of nitric oxide. Scientists at the University of California at Los Angeles found pomegranate juice has potent antioxidant activity that inhibits oxidation of nitric oxide, stimulates production of the gas by the arterial endothelial cells and augments its biological actions, according to research published in "Nitric Oxide" in September 2006.
Drinking pomegranate juice increases your caloric intake, is costly and elevates your risk of side effects. You may need to drink 16 oz. or more of pomegranate juice daily, which equates to almost 300 calories, to receive significant cardiovascular benefits. Pomegranate juice may increase your risk of rhabdomyolysis if taken with statin medication to lower cholesterol. Rhabdomyolysis is characterized by muscle breakdown and kidney damage. Scientists at the Henry Low Heart Center in Hartford, Connecticut, reported a case of a 48-year-old man with rhabdomyolysis three weeks after drinking approximately 6.76 oz. of pomegranate juice twice weekly while taking rosuvastatin medication, according to research published in the "American Journal of Cardiology" in September 2006.
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Pomegranate; 2011
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Atherosclerosis; 2011
- Johns Hopkins Medicine; The Promise of Pomegranates; 2006
- "International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research"; Cholesterol-Lowering Effect of Concentrated Pomegranate Juice Consumption in Type Ii Diabetic Patients with Hyperlipidemia; Ahmad Esmaillzadeh, et al.; May 2006
- "Diabetes and Vascular Disease Research"; The Endothelium and Vascular Inflammation in Diabetes; Martin Hartge, et al.; June 2007
- "Nitric Oxide"; Pomegranate Juice Protects Nitric Oxide against Oxidative Destruction and Enhances the Biological Actions of Nitric Oxide; Louis Ignarro, et al.; Sep 2006