Dietary supplementation with polyphenolic antioxidants to animals was shown to be associated with inhibition of LDL oxidation and macrophage foam cell formation, and attenuation of atherosclerosis development.
We investigated the effects of pomegranate juice (PJ, which contains potent tannins and anthocyanins) consumption by atherosclerotic patients with carotid artery stenosis (CAS) on the progression of carotid lesions and changes in oxidative stress and blood pressure.
Ten patients were supplemented with PJ for 1 year and five of them continued for up to 3 years. Blood samples were collected before treatment and during PJ consumption. In the control group that did not consume PJ, common carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) increased by 9% during 1 year, whereas, PJ consumption resulted in a significant IMT reduction, by up to 30%, after 1 year. The patients’ serum paraoxonase 1 (PON 1) activity was increased by 83%, whereas serum LDL basal oxidative state and LDL susceptibility to copper ion-induced oxidation were both significantly reduced, by 90% and 59%, respectively, after 12 months of PJ consumption, compared to values obtained before PJ consumption. Furthermore, serum levels of antibodies against oxidized LDL were decreased by 19%, and in parallel serum total antioxidant status (TAS) was increased by 130% after 1 year of PJ consumption. Systolic blood pressure was reduced after 1 year of PJ consumption by 21% and was not further reduced along 3 years of PJ consumption. For all studied parameters, the maximal effects were observed after 1 year of PJ consumption. Further consumption of PJ, for up to 3 years, had no additional beneficial effects on IMT and serum PON1 activity, whereas serum lipid peroxidation was further reduced by up to 16% after 3 years of PJ consumption. The results of the present study thus suggest that PJ consumption by patients with CAS decreases carotid IMT and systolic blood pressure and these effects could be related to the potent antioxidant characteristics of PJ polyphenols.