Researchers headed by Prof. Shlomo Magdassi of the Hebrew University’s Nanotechnology and the Casali Center for Applied Chemistry along with experimental neurology Prof. Ruth Gabizon at the neurology department at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem, have developed a food supplement called GranaGard with high concentrations of punicic acid. This supplement is aimed at preventing or slowing the development of neurological disorders from multiple sclerosis to dementia, and even reducing symptoms in patients who suffer from them.

Until now, there has been no natural, powerful antioxidant capable of crossing the “blood-brain barrier” (BBB) – the semi-permeable, highly selective membrane of endothelial cells that separates the circulating blood from the brain and extracellular fluid in the central nervous system. While the BBB is a vital mechanism for protecting the brain from fluctuations in plasma composition and from substances that can upset neural function, it also keeps out those that can benefit the brain.

Pomegranates are known to contain powerful antioxidants that fight the oxygen free radicals that cause inflammation, accelerated aging of the tissues, the activation of harmful genes within DNA and an overloaded immune system. Punicic acid (Omega 5) found in oil made from pomegranate seeds (not the red fruit but the small, hard seeds inside) is among the most powerful natural antioxidants, but to breach the BBB, it has to be turned into a submicron self-emulsion formulation.

GranaGard, made from Punicic acid, converts in the body into conjugated linoleic acid, an established neuroprotector. Granalix, established by Yissim, the R&D company of the university and Hadassit, the Hadassah Medical Organization’s research and development arm, now sells this supplement.

As GranaGard is a food supplement, it cannot legally make therapeutic claims, but it can provide data on mice studies in which the rodents showed significant improvement in neurological conditions and benefits shown in patients who have taken the supplement over time. The food supplement’s efficacy has been proven in three articles in scientific journals, the International Journal of Nanomedicine, Nanomedicine and Neurobiology in Disease. GranaGard was shown to delay disease onset in a mouse model of genetic prion disease, which presents neurodegenerative features reminiscent of Alzheimer’s disease. It also was shown to reduce the disease burden in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis, and there are many other studies on the way.

The common cause of all degenerative brain diseases is pathological oxidization of components in the nerve cells, which is the precise point of departure of GranaGard. Since there is no reversal for highly faulty nerve cells, the treatment focuses on maintaining the existing ones, and maintaining our brain cells for as long as possible.

The various degenerative brain diseases harm half of the population over 80 and cause significant mental and physical suffering. A cure has yet to be found for these diseases, but this nutritional supplement may prevent them.

Can you imagine the difference this can make?!

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The Pomegranate Potential