Journal of Medicinal Food 9, 119-22

Lansky, E.P., 2006. Beware of pomegranates bearing 40% ellagic acid. Journal of Medicinal Food 9, 119-22

A recent profusion of pomegranate nutraceutical products, “standardized to 40% ellagic acid,” has appeared in the marketplace. This Perspective reviews the chemical and functional studies of pomegranate as well as the virtues and dangers of ellagic acid, and concludes that synergy among the various pomegranate fractions and phytochemicals is the most important factor for assessing strength of pomegranate nutraceutical preparations, and not simply the concentration of ellagic acid. Ellagic acid concentration in final products is likely to have an optimal therapeutic range, which very likely is less than 40%. The wisdom of designing and engineering pomegranate nutraceutical products to maximize therapeutic or chemopreventive synergy is suggested, as opposed to preparations that are designed and engineered simply to maximize the concentration of a single phytochemical. The implications of this strategy may be generalized for the optimization of nutraceutical preparations from other medicinal plants as well.