Researchers aren't making that declaration just yet. But they have found signs that natural compounds called antioxidants in pomegranates may thwart osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, with more than 20 million patients in the U.S., according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS).
The pomegranate study was done at Case Western Reserve University. The researchers included Tariq Haqqi, PhD, a professor of medicine. The results appear in The Journal of Nutrition.
Pomegranate extract was pitted against osteoarthritis in lab tests. That's not the same as tests on people or animals, but it's a first step.
Pomegranate extract did two things in those lab tests. It cut levels of an inflammatory chemical called interleukin-1b (IL-1b). It also curbed enzymes that erode cartilage.
Cartilage is a hard but slippery coating on the end of each bone that helps bones slide smoothly past each other. Osteoarthritis develops when cartilage is broken down; exposed bone breaks down, causing pain, inflammation, and disability.
This is the first study to show pomegranate's potential against osteoarthritis, note the researchers.