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Safety assessment of pomegranate fruit extract: Acute and subchronic toxicity studies

Posted Sep 11 2009 4:58pm

Research by Patel C. and Colleague.

Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) fruit is widely consumed as fresh fruit and juice. Because of its potential for health benefits, pomegranate fruit extracts have been commonly marketed as dietary supplements in recent years.

The objective of the present study was to investigate potential adverse effects, if any, of a standardized pomegranate fruit extract in rats following subchronic administration. The extract was standardized to 30% punicalagins, the active anomeric ellagitannins responsible for over 50% of the antioxidant potential of the juice.

The oral LD(50) of the extract in rats and mice was found to be greater than 5g/kg body weight. The intraperitoneal LD(50) in rats and mice was determined as 217 and 187mg/kg body weight, respectively. In the subchronic study, Wistar strain rats (10/sex/group) were administered via gavage 0 (control), 60, 240 and 600mg/kg body weight/day of the extract for 90 days.

Two additional groups received 0 and 600mg/kg/day of the extract for 90 days, followed by a 28 day recovery phase. Compared to the control group, administration of the extract did not result in any toxicologically significant treatment-related changes in clinical observations, ophthalmic examinations, body weights, body weight gains, feed consumption, clinical pathology evaluations and organ weights.

The hematology and serum chemistry parameters that showed statistical significant changes compared to control group were within the normal laboratory limits and were considered as biological variations and not the toxic effect of the extract. Terminal necropsy did not reveal any treatment-related gross or histopathology findings.

Based on the results of this study, the no observed-adverse-effect level (NOAEL) for this standardized pomegranate fruit extract was determined as 600mg/kg body weight/day, the highest dose tested.

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