According to the legend it was Aphrodite who planted the first pomegranate and this is why this plant is considered sacred to the goddess. Always a symbol of abundance and fertility, today we know that pomegranate is also a precious source of health thanks to its fruits. The fruits of pomegranate are in fact rich in ellagitannins, substances with an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action. Moreover, on the basis of a recent research published in the International Journal of Molecular Science by a Polish and French team (Kujawska et al, 2020), pomegranate juice would also have neuroprotective properties against degenerative brain diseases, but let's understand better.
According to previous studies, taking pomegranate juice has been shown to help protect the brain against Alzheimer's disease. Not only that, drinking 250 ml of pomegranate juice every day for 4 weeks led to an improvement in memory in people who had an age-related decline in memory. Starting from these considerations, the researchers tried to go further to try to understand the mechanisms of action of this drink. The scientists used commercial pomegranate juice for their study and tested the effects of 500 mg of juice per kilogram of body weight given to mice every day for 45 days. What emerged from the study is that pomegranate juice acted with a clear protective effect on the brain by increasing the survival of neurons, counteracting oxidative damage and the aggregation of alpha synuclein, which is a protein that can form aggregates in various neurological diseases like Parkinson's. In addition to this, the action of pomegranate juice also leads to an increase in the action of mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase, an enzyme that is instead inhibited in Parkinson’s disease. This shows how pomegranate juice protects the brain from degenerative diseases. Then, scientists have also managed to observe that urolithin A, a substance produced in our intestine starting from the ellagitannins contained in pomegranate juice, reaches the brain. It is precisely this substance that determines the neuroprotective action of the pomegranate, observed but, so far, not fully understood.