Home Safety Checklist

Announcement: ALZConnected will be transitioning to a new platform beginning April 3, 2023!   Click here to learn more.

RSS Feed Print
Creating pomegranate drug to stem Alzheimer's, Parkinson's
Posted: Friday, August 22, 2014 10:48 AM
Joined: 12/6/2011
Posts: 3326

Dr. Olumayokun Olajide's research will look to produce compound derivatives of punicalagin for a drug that would treat neuro-inflammation and slow down the progression of Alzheimer's disease 


The onset of Alzheimer's disease can be slowed and some of its symptoms curbed by a natural compound that is found in pomegranate. Also, the painful inflammation that accompanies illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis and Parkinson's disease could be reduced, according to the findings of a two-year project headed by University of Huddersfield scientist Dr Olumayokun Olajide, who specialises in the anti-inflammatory properties of natural products. 


Now, a new phase of research can explore the development of drugs that will stem the development of dementias such as Alzheimer's, which affects some 800,000 people in the UK, with 163,000 new cases a year being diagnosed. Globally, there are at least 44.4 million dementia sufferers, with the numbers expected to soar. 


The key breakthrough by Dr Olajide and his co-researchers is to demonstrate that punicalagin, which is a polyphenol -- a form of chemical compound -- found in pomegranate fruit, can inhibit inflammation in specialised brain cells known as micrologia. This inflammation leads to the destruction of more and more brain cells, making the condition of Alzheimer's sufferers progressively worse. 


There is still no cure for the disease, but the punicalagin in pomegranate could prevent it or slow down its development.  


Dr Olajide worked with co-researchers -- including four PhD students -- in the University of Huddersfield's Department of Pharmacy and with scientists at the University of Freiburg in Germany. The team used brain cells isolated from rats in order to test their findings. Now the research is published in the latest edition of the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research and Dr Olajide will start to disseminate his findings at academic conferences. 


He is still working on the amounts of pomegranate that are required, in order to be effective. 


"But we do know that regular intake and regular consumption of pomegranate has a lot of health benefits -- including prevention of neuro-inflammation related to dementia," he says, recommending juice products that are 100 per cent pomegranate, meaning that approximately 3.4 per cent will be punicalagin, the compound that slows down the progression of dementia. 


Dr Olajide states that most of the anti-oxidant compounds are found in the outer skin of the pomegranate, not in the soft part of the fruit. And he adds that although this has yet to be scientifically evaluated, pomegranate will be useful in any condition for which inflammation -- not just neuro-inflammation -- is a factor, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson's and cancer. 


The research continues and now Dr Olajide is collaborating with his University of Huddersfield colleague, the organic chemist Dr Karl Hemming. They will attempt to produce compound derivatives of punicalagin that could the basis of new, orally administered drugs that would treat neuro-inflammation. 


Dr Olajide has been a Senior Lecturer at the University of Huddersfield for four years. His academic career includes a post as a Humboldt Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Drug Research at the University of Munich. His PhD was awarded from the University of Ibadan in his native Nigeria, after an investigation of the anti-inflammatory properties of natural products. 


He attributes this area of research to his upbringing. "African mothers normally treat sick children with natural substances such as herbs. My mum certainly used a lot of those substances. And then I went on to study pharmacology!" 


  1. Olumayokun A. Olajide, Asit Kumar, Ravikanth Velagapudi, Uchechukwu P. Okorji, Bernd L. Fiebich. Punicalagin inhibits neuroinflammation in LPS-activated rat primary microglia. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 2014; DOI:10.1002/mnfr.201400163 

Lane Simonian
Posted: Friday, August 22, 2014 11:52 AM
Joined: 12/12/2011
Posts: 5175

Lane Simonian
Posted: Saturday, August 23, 2014 11:26 AM
Joined: 12/12/2011
Posts: 5175

Another promising study on pomegranate compounds for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. 


Pomegranate ameliorates Alzheimer’s disease-type neurodegeneration in tg 2576 mouse model (846.1)

  1. Gilles Guillemin2 

+Author Affiliations

  1. 1Ageing and Dementia Research Group Muscat Oman
  2. 2Macqaurie Unviersity North Ryde Australia
  3. 3Behavioral Medicine Sultan Qaboos University Muscat Oman
  4. 4Food Science and Nutrition Sultan Qaboos University Muscat Oman
  5. 5Neurology - Department of Medicine Sultan Qaboos University Muscat Oman
  6. 6Old age Psychiatry University of New South Wales Sydney Australia


Alzheimer disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease which is characterized by the presence of extracellular senile plaques mainly composed of amyloid-β peptide (Aβ), intracellular neurofibrillary tangles, and selective synaptic and neuronal loss. AD brains revealed elevated levels of oxidative stress markers which have been implicated in Aβ-induced toxicity. Multiple components present in pomegranate and various pomegranate preparations are known to exert pleiotropic protective effects as demonstrated in various in vitro and in vivo model systems. The present study was designed to investigate the dietary supplementation of 4% pomegranate fruit grown in Oman on oxidative stress in the hippocampus, and hippocampal neuron injury in Tg2576 mice. The Tg 2576 mice were treated with 4% pomegranate by dietary supplementation for 15 months. After 15 months, the mice were sacrificed for measuring non-enzymatic [4-hydroxynonenal, TBARS, hydrogen peroxide, reduced glutathione (GSH), vitamin A, E, C and enzymatic antioxidants activity in the hippocampus, and expression of choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) positive neuron. The non-enzymatic and enzymatic antioxidants were significantly reduced along with elevated oxidative stress markers. Loss of ChAT positive neuron and severe damage to hippocampal neurons in Tg 2576 were also found. These abnormalities were significantly improved by 4% pomegranate treatment. In contrast, administration of 4% pomegranate diet to mice strongly suggested a putative delay in the formation of plaques, as indicated by a decreasing tendency of soluble and fibrillar Aβ levels in hippocampus which correlated with a decrease in Aβ (1-40, 1-42) plasma content. The study suggests that pomegranate could offer protection against neuronal injury and oxidative stress, and may be used as a potential agent in treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as AD.


I prefer the use of methoxyphenols over straight polyphenols and the use of multiple methoxyphenols and other polyphenols to treat the disease, since a single source (such as from pomegranate peels or citrus peels or cinnamon) is not likely strong enough to partially reverse the disease (although it could probably slow it down). 


It is a shame that the National Institutes of Health and the Alzheimer's Association do not promote or fund studies like this in the United States.  If they did, we would be much closer to effective treatments for Alzheimer's disease.  What pleases me so much about this study, other than its potential, is it received widespread publicity.  The skeptics will continue to scoff, but people with more open minds might say there may be something to this and even ask researchers in this country why similar studies are not being done in the United States (there are some with fisetin and curcumin, but the researchers do not have the funds to conduct large-scale human clinical trials). 

Iris L.
Posted: Saturday, November 15, 2014 9:30 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18707

I used to regularly drink pomegranate juice, but stopped when I was threatened with diabetes.  I too would like to see clinical trials using common foods in humans.

Iris L.

× Close Menu