Preventive and Prophylactic Mechanisms of Action of Pomegranate Bioactive Constituents
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Pomegranate fruit presents strong anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiobesity, and antitumoral properties, thus leading to an increased popularity as a functional food and nutraceutical source since ancient times. It can be divided into three parts: seeds, peel, and juice, all of which seem to have medicinal benefits. Several studies investigate its bioactive components as a means to associate them with a specific beneficial effect and develop future products and therapeutic applications. Many beneficial effects are related to the presence of ellagic acid, ellagitannins (including punicalagins), punicic acid and other fatty acids, flavonoids, anthocyanidins, anthocyanins, estrogenic flavonols, and flavones, which seem to be its most therapeutically beneficial components. However, the synergistic action of the pomegranate constituents appears to be superior when compared to individual constituents. Promising results have been obtained for the treatment of certain diseases including obesity, insulin resistance, intestinal inflammation, and cancer. Although moderate consumption of pomegranate does not result in adverse effects, future studies are needed to assess safety and potential interactions with drugs that may alter the bioavailability of bioactive constituents of pomegranate as well as drugs. The aim of this review is to summarize the health effects and mechanisms of action of pomegranate extracts in chronic inflammatory diseases.