(NaturalNews) Pomegranate juice may improve the health and mobility of sperm when consumed regularly, according to a new study conducted by researchers from Firat University in Turkey and published in the journal Clinical Nutrition.
Twenty-eight male Wistar rats were divided into four groups, and given either 1 mL of water, 0.75 mL of water mixed with 0.25 mL of pomegranate juice, 0.50 mL of water mixed with 0.50 mL of pomegranate juice, or 1 mL of pomegranate juice once per day for seven weeks. At the end of that time, the researchers tested the blood and sperm of the rats.
Compared with the mice drinking only water, the mice drinking concentrated pomegranate juice experienced a 48.5 percent decrease in their blood levels of the reactive carbonyl malondialdehyde (MDA), and a 63.5 percent decrease in the levels of the chemical in their sperm. According to the researchers, sperm cells' high concentration of polyunsaturated fats, which are used to regulate the sperm's growth and development, makes them particularly susceptible to damage from MDA and other peroxidative compounds,.
The researchers also found that due to decreased peroxidation of lipids, the rats that drank the concentrated pomegranate juice had "increased spermatogenic cell density, epididymal sperm concentration, sperm motility and decreased abnormal sperm rate."
They noted that only the concentrated juice, and not the 25 or 50 percent mixtures, showed any benefit when compared with water alone.
Pomegranate juice is known to be rich in antioxidants, particularly a chemical known as punicalagin. It is these compounds that are believed to be behind the fruit's benefits for heart health, cancer and Alzheimer's prevention, and the slowing of cartilage loss from arthritis.
In late 2007, a pilot study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research reported that pomegranate juice had showed success as a way to manage erectile dysfunction.