Being one of the fastest progressing and spreading diseases of present time's arthritis is a menace. Lot of research is going on in this direction and a new study states that pomegranate fruit extracts can block enzymes that contribute to osteoarthritis.
The study was conducted at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. It looked at the ability of an extract of pomegranate fruit against Interleukin-1b (IL-1b), a pro-inflammatory protein molecule that plays a key role in cartilage degradation in osteoarthritis. Current treatments for osteoarthritis - which affects 20 million people nationwide, according to the National Institutes of Health - offer limited effectiveness and do little to slow joint destruction and disease progression.
"Arthritis is one of the foremost diseases for which patients seek herbal or traditional medicine treatments. However, all the extracts and herbs have not yet been scientifically evaluated for their efficacy and safety. Indeed, some of them may even interfere with the current treatments," Haqqi said. "Therefore, careful use of supplements and herbal medicines during early stages of disease or treatment may be made to limit the disease progression."
Pomegranate, in particular, has been found to possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that have potential therapeutic benefits in a variety of diseases. The Case study demonstrated for the first time the ability of pomegranate fruit extracts to slow the deterioration of human cartilage. A bonus with the native Persian fruit is that its antioxidant constituents are rapidly absorbed by the body and are non-toxic.
Using tissue samples of human cartilage affected by osteoarthritis, researchers added a water extract of pomegranate fruit to the culture using a well-established in vitro model. The findings showed a new activity for pomegranate fruit extract - namely cartilage protection - in addition to its previously discovered antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
The IL-1b protein molecules create an overproduction of inflammatory molecules including matrix metalloproteases (MMP), which are tightly regulated enzymes necessary for tissue remodelling. When overproduced in a disease state, such as osteoarthritis, they degrade the cartilage resulting in joint damage and destruction.
The Case study results indicate that pomegranate fruit extracts inhibit the overproduction of MMP enzymes in human cartilage cells.
"This suggests that consumption of pomegranate fruit extract may help in protecting cartilage from the effects of IL-1b by suppressing cartilage degradation in OA," Haqqi said.
Source: Journal of Nutrition.