Pomegranate extract inhibits IL-1 beta

A dear friend (grazie!) sent me a study on pomegranates yesterday morning. In the bibliography, I found a 2005 study (abstract: http://tinyurl.com/dh685b; the full study is free, too) discussing a substance called PFE, or pomegranate fruit extract. The exciting bit is that PFE inhibits IL-1 beta, which, as you may recall, is a key player in the progression from smouldering or inactive myeloma to active myeloma. Hah! (My February 1st and 5th 2009 posts deal with IL-1 beta and its inhibitors.)


Since the full PFE study is available online, I won’t bother going into too many details. Just a few notes.


Let’s start with a sentence in the abstract: Interleukin (IL)-1beta induces the expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) implicated in cartilage resorption and joint degradation in osteoarthritis (OA). Okay, so this study doesn’t specifically mention multiple myeloma, but it is still relevant to us. You see, MMPs are enzymes that play a role in bone destruction and neoplastic growth (they contribute to angiogenesis, e.g.). I read that our myeloma cells actually produce MMPs in order to hollow out our bones…at any rate, simply put, MMPs are evil, evil thingies, and anything that inhibits them is good. As is anything that inhibits IL-1 beta.


Well, this pomegranate extract fits the bill. It inhibits the expression of IL-1 beta-induced MMPs. Since I love pomegranate seeds and juice in my salads, that is FABULOUS news indeed! Now I am sorry that I didn’t freeze any pomegranate seeds at the end of last summer…ah, bummer!


  1. Margaret, I just found your blog through a MM blog search. The amount of research you have done about this ‘evil’ disease is staggering. My husband was diagnosed with SMM a couple of weeks ago and so I have started the same search. All the information you have accumulated and shared on your blog is wonderful and a want to wish you the best and thank you for your help. I had already ordered Curcumin for him to take and also am starting him on CoQ10 because he has taken statins for years and surely his levels are low or non-existent. Of course no doctor told him this would happen or that he needed to take supplements. Hopefully we can keep him in the smoldering stage indefinitely. His big problem is his white count is at 2 or below and gets sick easily and its hard for him to get over it.

  2. Hi Margaret.

    Pomegrante juice and extract is also an inhibitor of IL-6 and IL-8 . Also anti-atheroslerotic, anti-inflammatory as an inhibitor of nf-kappa-b and generally good for the heart with anti-carcinogenic properties also. With prolonged use, it has shown anti-hypertensive qualities. Very good stuff direct to us from nature!
    Here is a study that discusses POMx and it effects on IL-6 , IL-8 and nf-kappa-b among other inflammatory mediators.

  3. Hi Dawna,
    I too was diagnoses with MM which my Onc is now calling Smoldering MM. There is an excellent Clinica Trial at Mayo Clinic on using low dose anakinra (Arthritus drug) and low dose Dexamentasone to slow or stop the progression from Smoldering to active MM. Check back here, Margaret has a link to Mayo Clinic Preceedings Feb 2009. I discussed it with me Onc, he said staage III trial will take up to 3 years before this combo will be approved, so we will take our curcumin ect and fight until they do approve this new combo.

  4. WOW — This sounds promising. I tried to skim the Jan 2009 article Art mentioned: “Polyphenol-rich pomegranate fruit extract (POMx) suppresses PMACI-induced expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines by inhibiting the activation of MAP Kinases and NF-?B in human KU812 cells”

    So, does anyone take POMx? Should we add it to the Curcumin?

  5. Yes, the ankinra trial does sound promising. In the meantime I am anxious for the curcumin to arrive in the mail so I can start my husband on that. Because he has had hemachromatosis (iron overload) for a long time, I’m hoping that it will chelate some of the iron out of his system. At this point he is not anemic (hgb 14). He has had to have phlebotomies for years to remove pints of blood which help leech iron out of his system. If only I had known about curcumin years ago. . .

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