Ever since I discovered that my muscle weakness was due to a fluoroquinolone antibiotic poisoning, I have been looking for ways to increase my muscle recovery and build strength in a natural way – while optimizing my mitochondria (energy centrals of our cells).
Well it turned out, that one of the most potent ingredient to do just that was right there in my kitchen.
And not just the fruit itself, but the fresh pressed juice of pomegranates.
The soreness in my legs suddenly went away
Tim and I were on a mini hike last week in the Italian part of Switzerland (in front of the most amazing waterfall in a village that had serious Game of Thrones vibes) where we picked up lunch and a fresh bottle of pomegranate juice for refreshment.
Suffering from cipro poisoning, I cannot exercise my muscles (yet… but that will come!) in a way ‘normal’ people do – I get a lot of soreness very quickly in my muscles and need to sit a lot to ease the pain, especially if the road is steep and requires more effort.
I sat down to rest for a while, and was expecting to feel this usual soreness when getting up – only to find out that my pain was… almost non-existent!
And the only thing I drank was pomegranate juice.
My legs felt fine, light, and there was no muscle soreness.
It was as if I had swallowed Popeye’s can of spinach and felt super energized and ready to continue walking.
I wondered… does pomegranate juice help reduce lactic acid build up in the muscle tissues? How could it be so effective?
How does it work?
How Pomegranate juice (POMj) actually works
🠒 POMj has a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic effect
Pomegranates can help prevent or treat various disease risk factors including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, oxidative stress, hyperglycemia, and inflammatory activities.
The antioxidant potential of pomegranate juice is more than that of red wine and green tea, which is induced through ellagitannins and hydrosable tannins.
Pomegranate juice can reduce macrophage oxidative stress, free radicals, and lipid peroxidation. Moreover, pomegranate fruit extract prevents cell growth and induces apoptosis, which can lead to its anticarcinogenic effects. In addition, promoter inhibition of some inflammatory markers and their production are blocked via ellagitannins.
🠒 POMj preserves muscle strength, improves exercise capacity and recovery time
The polyphenol antioxidants contained in pomegranates help increase nitric oxide bioavailability by protecting it from breaking down in the body. Nitric oxide is necessary for our body to get the oxygen and nutrients it needs during exercise. Pomegranate juice works by increasing oxygen and nutrient absorption for improved muscle function.
A study with 17 resistance trained men showed that supplementing with POMj significantly increases muscle strength while reducing soreness after exercise.
This us HUGE for people dealing with mitochondrial dysfunctions and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Another study was conducted in 2016 to investigate the effect of natural POMj supplementation on performance and acute and delayed responses of muscle soreness and biomarkers of muscle damage after a weightlifting training session.
9 elite weightlifters performed 2 Olympic weightlifting sessions, after either placebo and POMj supplementation.
The results showed higher performance (+8%), Rating of perceived exertion (-4%) and improved DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness).
This study concludes that elite weightlifters are advised to use natural POMj during intensive training program and competition to accelerate muscle recovery.
One last study conducted with rodents showed that mice who were exposed to Urolithin A, produced by the body in the gut thanks to pomegranates, showed 42% better endurance while running than other mice of the same age that had not been exposed to the compound.
🠒 Good source of potassium, key to healthy muscles
We need potassium to keep the electrochemical balance across cell membranes and transmit nerve signals. This leads to skeletal muscle contraction, hormone release, and smooth muscle and heart contraction.
The juice of two four-inch diameter pomegranates contains about 1300 milligrams of potassium. This makes up for 30 percent of the recommended amount for adults.
🠒 Slows down aging
Researchers found that urolithin A, a compound produced when pomegranates are digested by gut bacteria, prolonged lifespan in worms.
As we age, a process called ‘mitophagy’ takes place in the body to recycle worn-out mitochondria, the energy centrals of our cells. If this process doesn’t happen, our cells become obstructed by waste and decomposing byproducts – eventually causing health problems and weaker muscles.
Well, it turns out that Urolithin A is the only molecule that can relaunch mitophagy in cells where the process has become sluggish.
And how do we produce urolithin A for all this to happen?
We consume pomegranates.
🠒 Decreases oxidative stress
Oxidative stress is an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body, which can lead to cell and tissue damage. Oxidative stress occurs naturally and plays a role in the aging process.
This study conducted in 2016 shows that Pomegranate extract decreases oxidative stress and alleviates mitochondrial impairment in rats with hypertension. This other study from 2000 had found the same results, both on mice and humans.
🠒 Reduces pain levels
This recent study conducted in 2020 found that different parts of pomegranate showed antinociceptive properties (means that it inhibits the sensation of pain). The mechanisms of action may be related to the activation of the L-arginine / NO pathway, members of the TRP superfamily (TRPA1 or TRPV1) and the opioid system.
The results of the study propose that pomegranate and secondary metabolites could be considered in the treatment of inflammatory, nociceptive, and neuropathic pain.
How PJ (pomegranate juice) helps muscle recovery
– The polyphenol present in POMj increases nitric oxide to help get the oxygen and nutrients the body needs during exercise
– Good source of potassium, key to proper muscle function
– Contains a precursor to urolithin A that slows aging and preserves muscle strength and improves exercise capacity by promoting mitophagy, a robust cellular recycling of mitochondria
– Decreases oxidative stress
– Decreases pain (antinociceptive effect)
Pomegranate juice can be a precious addition to your health regimen, whether you are an athlete looking for better performances and improved recovery times, or someone dealing with mitochondria dysfunction, fluoroquinolone toxicity, chronic fatigue syndrome or any type of ailments involving low ATP production and meaning low energy.
On that note… I’ll go make myself a tall glass of fresh pomegranate juice! In next posts I will share my favorite and fast way to juice pomegranates at home.
Don’t hesitate to share if you’ve benefitted from pomegranate juice in the comments below.
Cheers and speak soon my wellness warrior friends!