Background: Through out history, pomegranate symbolizes fertility and has been postulated to enhance sexual function and drive. Recently, we have shown that pomegranate juice rich in polyphenolic antioxidants can alleviate stress and cardiovascular risk factors by reducing systolic and diastolic blood pressure and inhibiting 11βHSD1 activity. The aim of this study was to investigate whether pomegranate juice intake influences mood and salivary testosterone levels in healthy volunteers.
Methods: A controlled cross-sectional repeated measure study was carried out on 60 volunteers recruited from different work locations. The subjects vary in age (mean=39.1±13.8y), sex (22 males and 38 females) and BMI (25.6±4.5 kg/m2). Daily saliva samples (AM, noon and PM) were collected, blood pressure, arterial elasticity measured as pulse wave velocity and PANAS-X mood questionnaire were performed before, during and at the end of 2 weeks pomegreat® pure juice intake. Salivary testosterone levels were estimated by highly specific and sensitive ELISA.
Results: Pomegranate juice intake caused a significant reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure (Systolic reduced from 123.7± to 119.6± mmHg, P<0.001; Diastolic from 74.9± to 72.4±mmHg, P<0.001), and improvement in the PANAS-X test score (overall increased from 73 to 77, P<0.001; positives increased from 29 to 31, P=0.017; and negatives decreased from 16 to14, P=0.029). Arterial elasticity was significantly reduced (from 7.1± to 6.9±m/sec, p=0.003). Salivary testosterone levels increased significantly after 1 and 2 weeks following PJ intake in both men and women [daily average in men from 242.1±67.7 to 296.1±90.1, P=0.001 (1 week) to 298.4±79.9pg/mL, P<0.001 (2 weeks); in women from 161.2±39.5 to 196.1±46.2 (P<0.001) to 204.5±47.6 (P<0.001)]. The increase in salivary testosterone was also observed at all time points studied.
Conclusions: This study shows that consumption of pomegranate pure juice has significantly increased salivary testosterone levels (average of 24%) in addition to effects on blood pressure, mood and the positive scores of anxiety and emotions in a large group of workers from different disciplines.
Declaration of interest: There is no conflict of interest that could be perceived as prejudicing the impartiality of the research reported.
Funding: No specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sector.