Pomegranate Juice: Something You KNEEd?

By: Matt Weik

Runners and weightlifters know plenty about knee pain. For some of us it’s constant, for others it comes and goes.  There are many products on the market that claim to help ease joint pain.  Some of them are topical and smell terrible, while others come in a pill form and are taken daily (more for prevention/maintenance and to ease a little of the discomfort).  Now a new study was published showing a certain fruit beverage may actually improve knee joint health.

If that last line was a cliffhanger, then you must have missed the title of this article! Pomegranate Juice has been in the news quite a bit over the years for their health benefits.  You may have heard pomegranates are good for:

  • Fighting arthritis and joint pain
  • Can help fight some forms of cancer
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Important nutrients and antioxidants
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Lowering risk of heart disease
  • Improving memory
  • Improving exercise performance
  • Now a first of its kind study was published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture looking into the benefits of pomegranate juice with those individuals who are suffering from osteoarthritis.This study was conducted by recruiting 38 individuals who suffer from knee osteoarthritis and split them into two groups—one group received nothing (control group) while the other group received 200mL of pomegranate juice each day for six weeks. The findings showed that total scores on the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis index (WOMAC) tests used to evaluate stiffness and physical function were not improved in the control group while the group who received the pomegranate juice showed an improvement on all scores. The only thing pomegranate juice didn’t improve (in either group) was helping to mitigate pain in the joint itself. The researchers believe that the results are due to matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). MMPs play a role in helping prevent cartilage breakdown.Researchers are next looking to conduct a similar study looking at the polyphenolic components of pomegranate juice.

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Source: Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1002/jsfa.7647 “The effect of pomegranate juice on clinical signs, matrix metalloproteinases and antioxidant status in patients with knee osteoarthritis” Authors: N. Ghoochani et al.