The Incredible Pomegranate — A super superfruit

The amazing pomegranate is one of the oldest fruits known to man. Consisting of rich, red fruit surrounded by a hard leathery skin, the pomegranate has been cultivated and naturalized over the whole Mediterranean region and the Caucasus since ancient times. It was introduced into Latin America and California by Spanish settlers in 1769 and is now cultivated in parts of California and Arizona for juice production.

In addition to their luscious taste, pomegranates contain some of nature’s most powerful antioxidants; and for the first time since the raw fruit itself, these properties are being brought to the consumer in a pure and consistently bioavailable form.

Pomella® Pomegranate Extract

“Pomella is one of few pomegranate extracts that has clinical and safety research performed on it,” said Ajay Patel, president of Verdure Sciences, developer of Pomella Extract. “Most extracts on the market are not themselves tested but refer to thirdparty literature. In addition to the university research that led to the development of Pomella, multiple clinical studies have been conducted examining its benefits.”

The true effects of nutrition are best viewed under the microscope, and the story of a pure, clinically verified pomegranate extract is no different. It gets right down to some fascinating biochemical interactions and reactions.

Pomella Extract is actually the result of research motivated only by the desire to discover the best and most consistently bioavailable pomegranate extract—as opposed to research motivated by lowest-cost commercial interests. The development of the patent-pending, proprietary ingredient was conducted at a prominent university in California; in fact, this university holds the intellectual property rights under which Pomella is produced.

In 2003, medical researchers at the university were examining various parts of the diet to find the best antioxidant candidates. Their research determined that pomegranate was the most effective, so they set about isolating the properties that made it so.

This quest led the researchers to identify a group of potent antioxidants within the chemistry of the pomegranate called punicalagins. It turned out that punicalagins are among the most ferocious scavengers of free radicals—small particles that start chain reactions that damage cells. Punicalagins were also found to provide protection to DNA and certain cellular functions. Being water soluble, they were additionally discovered to absorb and metabolize into the body extremely well.

But there were problems in rendering a pomegranate product that offers tangible health benefits. First, punicalagins can break apart into non-bioavailable compounds such as ellagic acid1 during the extraction process, so they must be preserved intact to be completely absorbed. Second, while punicalagins are the primary factor contributing to the high potency of pomegranate juice, pure 100 percent pomegranate juice can be expensive and is not standardized to contain a consistent amount of punicalagins. Research has shown pomegranate juice can have more than 100 percent variability in such content, in addition to a high quantity of sugar and calories.

So the research continued, and it included comparing many different forms of pomegranates in various models of efficacy to find the best cultivated variety that offered the greatest health benefits. What the researchers ultimately isolated as the best extract of pomegranate was quite intriguing, and very different from extracts that were commonly found on the market.

The Result

Bioavailability means that a nutrient is able to enter the bloodstream where it can reach target tissues. If it does not enter the bloodstream, it simply passes through the body, which is a waste. Lack of absorption has been one downfall with pomegranate extracts in the past, since those standardized to high amounts of ellagic acid were not completely bioavailable. The secret of the formula for this unique pomegranate extract, as it turned out, lay in careful examination of the whole pomegranate fruit, along with a developed methodology for consistently preserving the punicalagins. The result is Pomella Extract, one of the most nutritious and well-absorbed pomegranate extracts on the market today.

A key reason for Pomella Extract’s potency lies also in preservation of the pomegranate’s entire natural spectrum, and such preservation has been found by research to be the source of the product’s effectiveness. As a matter of fact, research has demonstrated that Pomella Extract is more active than its isolated active ingredients.

Control Is the Key

“We feel that the consumer should know exactly where our ingredients are coming from,” Patel told Calmful Living. “For the many years that Verdure Sciences has been in operation, our goal has always been to have full control of the raw materials that go into our products. For example, the pomegranates that make Pomella are hand-picked at our company-contracted farms; and because we know exactly where our fruit comes from, we can ensure that our extract is pesticide free and contains no synthetic fertilizers or genetic modification.”

1. ellagic acid: a naturally occurring compound found in raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, pomegranates, walnuts, pecans, and other plant foods.

Orchard photo courtesy of Verdure Sciences Inc.