Pomegranate Juice Helps in Unborn Babies’ Brain DevelopmentPregnancy & Parenting

August 24, 2019 14:40
Pomegranate Juice Helps in Unborn Babies’ Brain Development

Drinking pomegranate juice at the time of pregnancy helps in improving brain development and connectivity in unborn babies.

The rich source of polyphenols, which include tannic acid and ellagitannins are known to cross the blood-brain barrier and are found in many foods and beverages, including berries, nuts, teas, and red wine.

"Our study provides preliminary evidence suggesting potential protective effects for newborns exposed to pomegranate juice while in the womb," said study senior author Terrie Inder from Brigham and Women's hospital in the United States.

"These findings warrant continued investigation into the potential neuroprotective effects of polyphenols in at-risk newborns, such as those with hypoxic-ischemic injury," Inder said.

For the study published in the journal PLOS One, the research team looked into clinical trial of pregnant mothers whose babies were diagnosed with Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR).

In IUGR condition, a baby doesn’t grow to normal weight during pregnancy due to issues with the placenta, the organ that develops during pregnancy and brings oxygen and nutrients to the growing foetus.

The study took into account 78 mothers whose babies were diagnosed with IUGR at 24-43 weeks' gestation. Women were randomized to receive eight ounces of pomegranate juice every day until delivery or a taste/calorie matched placebo that was free from polyphenol.  

Including Infant brain macrostructure, microstructural organization, and fundamental connectivity, the research team evaluated several aspects of brain development and injury. While the team did not detect differences in brain macrostructure, they did detect regional differences in white matter microstructure and functional connectivity.

"These measures tell us about how the brain is developing functionally. We saw no difference in brain growth and baby growth, but we did see improvement in cabling network and brain development measured by synchronous blood flow and visual development of the brain," Inder said.

IUGR is observed in about one out of every 10 babies, a large number in the Asian continent.

By Sowmya Sangam

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