Pomegranate is a multi-lobed, sweet-tasting fruit that has antioxidant properties, which means it acts as a scavenger in your body and cleans up excess toxins that might cause you harm. Pomegranate has been studied in conjunction with how it might affect heart disease and cancer, but all research into this supplement is very preliminary. Before making pomegranate part of your medical routine, talk to you doctor first to make sure it is safe for you.
Pomegranate has shown some promise against heart disease in small or animal-based studies. A study published in "Clinical Nutrition" in 2004 showed that pomegranate juice can have an impact on low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol and can help keep this bad cholesterol from building up on the walls of arteries. In that same study, it also showed an ability to lower systolic blood pressure by 21 percent.
Studies into cancer and pomegranate are similarly preliminary and focused on animal or test tube studies. A study published in "Clinical Cancer Research" in 2006 showed that men who took pomegranate juice after treatment for prostate cancer did not have as quick a rise in their cancer markers afterward as other patients did. A reduced increase in cancer markers significantly improves a man's life expectancy from prostate cancer.
Pomegranate is available in a whole fruit, as a juice and in a capsule form. Many studies are conducted on this fruit in a juice form. For instance, 8 ounces of juice per day was the dosage used in the study on prostate cancer. In the study on lowering cholesterol, 40 grams per day was the dosage used. For general atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, 50 milliliters of juice is sometimes used in studies. No general recommendation for this fruit exists yet because studies are still in the preliminary stages.
Pomegranate is generally considered safe. Diabetics should exercise caution with this juice, particularly if there is sugar added, because it could cause a spike in their blood sugar. Pregnant women should avoid the extract because it may contain fruit rind. Pomegranate might lower blood pressure, so use with caution if you take medications for your blood pressure, such as captopril or lisinopril. Some concern exists when taking statins -- cholesterol-lowering drugs -- with pomegranate juice because it can cause muscle-deteriorating side effects. Avoid using them together.