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Pomegranates Boost Skin, Oral Health

October 28, 2010 Comments

ORIHUELA, Spain—According to a recent study published in Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, pomegranates (Punica granatum L.) improve skin and oral health (2010;9(6):635-54). The prolific benefits of pomegranates are primarily due to its phytochemicals, most notably polyphenols, e.g., ellagitannins and anthocyanins. They’ve been lauded for their antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiviral activities, as well as their ability to protect the skin against sun damage and promote good oral health.

The Spanish review, which presented an overview of the functional, medical and physiological properties of the fruit, highlighted its sun-protective properties. Prolonged exposure to UV radiation has negative effects on the skin, from oxidative stress to sunburn and premature aging. The review noted: “[Researchers] reported that pomegranate seed oil, but not aqueous extracts of fermented juice, peel, or seed cake was shown to stimulate keratinocyte proliferation in monolayer culture. In contrast, pomegranate peel extract (and to a lesser extent, both the fermented juice and seed cake extracts) stimulated type I procollagen synthesis and inhibited matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1; interstitial collagenase) production by dermal fibroblasts, but had no growth-supporting effect on keratinocytes." Therefore, aqueous extracts of pomegranate, especially of pomegranate peel, promotes regeneration of dermis, and pomegranate seed oil promoting regeneration of epidermis. The review also noted previous research suggests, “pomegranate extract can protect against UVA-mediated cellular damage that occurs primarily through the release of reactive oxygen species and is responsible for immunosuppression, photodermatoses, photoaging and photocarcinogenesis due to its extract is an effective agent for ameliorating UVA-mediated damages by modulating cellular pathways and merits further evaluation as a photochemopreventive agent."

Pomegranates’ polyphenolic flavonoids show promise in oral health, specifically in relation to gingivitis development. A gel with pomegranate extract was applied three times per day for 15 days was effective for patients afflicted by candidiasis associated with denture stomatitis. Mouth-rinsing with pomegranate extracts lowered saliva activities of aspartate aminotransferase, an indicator of cell injury that shows high values with periodontal disease.  A separate study reported the hydroalcoholic extract from pomegranate fruits was very effective against dental plaque microorganisms, decreasing the CFU/mL by 84 percent, noting “It may be a possible alternative for the treatment of dental plaque bacteria."  Additionally, rinsing the mouth for one minute with a mouthwash containing pomegranate extract effectively reduced the amount of microorganisms cultured from dental plaque.

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