Prof. Michael Aviram in his office at the Technion..
(photo credit: Courtesy)
People who take low-dose statin pills to reduce their blood cholesterol levels
should also consume pomegranate juice or concentrate to significantly reduce
their risk of heart disease, according to researchers at the Technion-Israel
Institute of Technology’s Rappaport Medical Faculty and Haifa’s Rambam Medical
Prof. Michael Aviram published an article last week in the
journal Atherosclerosis showing that consuming the juice is
Its antioxidant components, called phytosterols, hinder the
oxidation of the cholesterol and cells and do a lot to reduce atherosclerosis,
heart attacks and strokes.
Phytosterols, which include plant sterols and
stanols, are steroid compounds similar to cholesterol but which occur in plants.
Phytosterol-enriched foods and dietary supplements have been marketed for
Despite numerous reports that they lower “bad cholesterol”
(low-density lipoprotein or LDL), there has been no scientifically proven
evidence until the Haifa study.
“The more LDL rises, the faster the
development of atherosclerosis,” Aviram said. “The main treatment is with
statins, which hinder the production of cholesterol and reduce its level in the
But dealing with the low quality of cholesterol – its surplus
oxidation – can be done through antioxidants whose main source is fruit peels
and vegetables. Even though statins have a beneficial effect in lowering
cholesterol, they have only minimal influence on oxidation.
of statins can cause muscle pain,” he added.
“Low doses of statins can
help, but then their effects are smaller. But natural phytosterols in
fruits and vegetables can naturally use a different mechanism to lower
Pomegranates, which are high in the antioxidants, are very
effective in reducing cholesterol without the side effects of high doses of
statins, he concluded.