Researchers from California have discovered that daily consumption of pomegranate juice may improve stress-induced myocardial ischemia in patients who have coronary heart disease (CHD).
Pomegranate juice is known to contain antioxidants such as soluble polyphenols, tannins, and anthocyanins.
The researchers, writing in the September issue of The American Journal of Cardiology, investigated whether daily consumption of pomegranate juice for 3 months would affect myocardial perfusion in 45 patients who had CHD and myocardial ischemia in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study.
Patients were randomly assigned into 2 groups: a pomegranate juice group (240 ml/day) or a placebo group that drank a beverage of similar caloric content, amount, flavor, and color.
Participants underwent electrocardiographic-gated myocardial perfusion single-photon emission computed tomography at rest and during stress at baseline and 3 months.
Visual scoring of images using standardized segmentation and nomenclature was performed by a blinded independent nuclear cardiologist.
After 3 months, the extent of stress-induced ischemia decreased in the pomegranate group but increased in the control group. This benefit was observed without changes in cardiac medications, blood sugar, hemoglobin A1c, weight, or blood pressure in either group.
The results of this study demonstrate, for the first time, that daily consumption of pomegranate juice for 3 months may decrease myocardial ischemia and improve myocardial perfusion in patients who have ischemic CHD as measured by the SDS.
The authors suggest further studies to determine the effects of pomegranate juice on myocardial perfusion in a larger sample of patients over a longer period, and also, to assess the effects of pomegranate juice on coronary atherosclerosis using methods such as quantitative coronary arteriography and intravascular ultrasound.