Background: Pomegranate extract (POMx) consumption has been shown to reduce the incidence and severity of collagen-induced arthritis in mice.
Objectives: To investigate whether pomegranate consumption affects disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), in relation to their serum oxidative status.
Methods: In this pilot 12 week open-labeled study eight patients with active RA consumed POMx (10 ml/day) for 12 weeks. Patients' joint status and serum oxidative status (lipid peroxidation, total thiols group, paraoxonase 1 activity) were evaluated at baseline and at week 12.
Results: Six patients completed the study. POMx consumption significantly (P < 0.02) reduced the composite Disease Activity Index (DAS28) by 17%, which could be related mostly to a significant (P < 0.005) reduction in the tender joint count (by 62%). These results were associated with a significant (P < 0.02) reduction in serum oxidative status and a moderate but significant (P < 0.02) increase in serum high density lipoprotein-associated paraoxonase 1 (PON1) activity. The addition of POMx to serum from RA patients reduced free radical-induced lipid peroxidation by up to 25%.
Conclusions: The pomegranate consumption reduced DAS28 in RA patients, and this effect could be related to the antioxidative property of pomegranates. Dietary supplementation with pomegranates may be a useful complementary strategy to attenuate clinical symptoms in RA patients.