The pioneer in supercritical fluid extraction (SFE), the german company Flavex, presents the latest research on the physiological properties of pomegranate seed oil and points out its application in food and food supplements.
Pomegranate is a superfruit: more than 200 peer reviewed scientific papers have been published about positive health effects of this amazing fruit! In vitro, in vivo and clinical studies revealed positive effects of the antioxidative, antiinflammatory, antisclerotic and anticancerogenic properties of pomegranate ingredients.
However, only until very recently, the importance of the seed oil has been largely overlooked. Recent studies have also begun to suggest possible synergistic interactions between aqueous and lipid phases of the whole fruit including its seeds.
The pomegranate seed oil contains a range of phytosterols with synergistic health effects on estrogen related physiological processes. One of the phytosterols newly found in pomegranate seeds is the weak estrogen 17-α-estradiol, which is an enantiomer of the very potent estrogen 17-β-estradiol. In vitro studies as well as studies on mice have shown that this and other estrogens from pomegranate inhibit the activity of stronger estrogens. Additionally researchers noted that the conjugated fatty acid isomers found in punica granatum are selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) in vitro. Punicic acid inhibits other estrogens from binding with
receptor sites in a manner similar to the anticancer drug tamoxifen. An isomer of punicic acid, α-eleostearic acid seemed especially potent in inhibiting estrogen-sensitive breast cancer cells. Overall, the results show punicic acid and α-eleostearic acid are SERMs. It was found that the modulation of estrogen receptor activity is concentration-dependent.
Aromatase inhibition has become an important therapy concept believed to be equivalent to tamoxifen therapy in preventing recurrence of breast cancer. New research findings indicate that pomegranate extracts not only block estrogen activity, but block also the aromatase enzyme that makes estrogen from its precursor androgen. Polyphenol-rich fractions of fermented juice, aqueous pericarp extract, cold-pressed and CO2-extracted seed oil of pomegranate inhibit aromatase by 60-80% and 17-β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase from 34 to 79%, at concentrations ranging from 100 to 1000 μg/ml. Best results were achieved with the seed oil.
The findings suggest clinical trials to further assess chemopreventive and adjuvant therapeutic applications of pomegranate extracts in human breast cancer. Supercritical pomegranate seed extract helps maintain good health. Pomegranate seed CO2-extract is free of heavy metals and is stabilised with rosemary antioxidant in order to guarantee a long shelf life. CO2-extracted fatty oils are therefore ideal for food supplements and encapsulation.