Defining PON-1 and its Effectiveness
PON-1 is known as Serum paraoxonase/arylesterase 1 and is a major anti-atherosclerotic component of high-density lipoprotein (HDL). PON-1 is one of three members (PON-1, PON-2 and PON-3) of the paraoxonase that share structural properties and enzymatic activities, among which is the ability to hydrolyze oxidized lipids in LDL. 1 Because of its ability to remove harmful oxidised-lipids, PON-1 protects against the development of atherosclerosis.
PON-1 serves to protect HDL from oxidation by attaching itself (as an enzyme) to the surface of the HDL molecule. PON-1 also protects blood vessels from damage by destroying homocysteine thiolactones. 2
Lipid peroxidation is the oxidative degradation of lipids. It is the process in which free radicals “steal” electrons from the lipids in cell membranes, resulting in cell damage. PON-1 acts to inhibit and block lipid peroxidation reactions of the cell membrane. 3 4
With advanced aging, the PON-1 enzyme declines, thus reducing its ability to protect the heart and blood vessels.
Elevate levels of PON-1 activity with Pomegranate
Pomegranate has been shown to elevate levels of PON-1 activity in the body.
Two separate studies have illustrated the mechanism in which PON-1 levels are increased, which are primarily through reducing oxidation and inflammation.
The first study from May 2000 published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, analyzed, in healthy male volunteers and in atherosclerotic apolipoprotein E–deficient mice, the effect of pomegranate juice consumption on lipoprotein oxidation, aggregation, and retention; macrophage atherogenicity; platelet aggregation; and atherosclerosis. 5
The pomegranate juice consumption by humans decreased LDL and increased the activity of PON-1 by 20%. In mice, oxidation of LDL was reduced by up to 90% after pomegranate juice consumption. The atherosclerotic lesions in the mice were reduced by by 44%.
The second study from June 2011 published in Food Research International, streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice were fed a high-fat diet then supplemented daily with pomegranate juice (PJ) in order to study the effect of PJ on PON1 gene expression and activity.
The supplementation with PJ significantly induced PON1 gene expression and activity compared to mice that did not receive the PJ, although not to the levels reached by mice fed a non-high fat diet. 6
There are two other compounds that may increase the activity of PON-1:
Additional Studies on Pomegranate’s effectiveness to elevate PON-1:
Pomegranate juice polyphenols increase recombinant paraoxonase-1 binding to high-density lipoprotein: studies in vitro and in diabetic patients, Nutrition. 2010 Apr;26(4):359-66. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2009.05.003. Epub 2009 Sep 17.
Paraoxonase 1 (PON1) expression in hepatocytes is upregulated by pomegranate polyphenols: a role for PPAR-gamma pathway, Atherosclerosis. 2010 Jan;208(1):119-25. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2009.08.051. Epub 2009 Sep 6.
Consumption of wonderful variety pomegranate juice and extract by diabetic patients increases paraoxonase 1 association with high-density lipoprotein and stimulates its catalytic activities, J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Sep 24;56(18):8704-13. doi: 10.1021/jf801756x. Epub 2008 Aug 30.
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