Anticarcinogenic Properties

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The inhibitory activity of pomegranate seed oil (PGO) against colon cancer in rats was recently evaluated by Kohno et al.63 Colon cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in Western countries. As previously discussed, pomegranate seed oil is rich in punicic acid, c9,t11,c13-conjugated linolenic acid (CLN), which makes up about 75% of the total linolenic acid in PGO. In an earlier study, Kohno et al. demonstrated that feeding rats CLN, isolated from bitter gourd, causes a significant reduction in colonic aberrant crypt foci (ACF) induced by azoxymethane.64 These authors suggested that dietary intake of CLN may have an inhibitory effect on colon carcinogenesis. Their results indicated that dietary administration of PGO rich in c9,t11,c13-CLN, even at the low dose of 0.1% CLN, significantly inhibits the development of azoxymethane-induced colonic adenocarcinoma in rats without causing any adverse effects. Such results may reflect the potential chemopreventive effect of PGO on chemically induced colon carcinogenesis.

PJ, a purified pomegranate tannin extract, ellagic acid, and punicalagin have been shown to inhibit the proliferation of human oral, colon, and prostate tumor cells as well as show proapototic effects.65 In this study, when the compounds were combined, enhanced effects were observed, which was attributed to additive and/or synergistic effects.

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