Pomegranate Seed Oil for Menopause Symptoms
Tori Hudson, ND
Author: Huber R, Gminski R, Tang T, et al.
Reference: Pomegranate (Punica granatum) seed oil for treating menopausal symptoms: An individually controlled cohort study. Alternative Therapies. 2017;23(2):28-34.
Design: The current study used PSO from Turkey, with 500 mg/capsule of pure PSO, with a dose of 1 capsule twice per day (1,000mg) for 8 weeks. Women from two German sites were recruited and then started one month of no treatment and then two months of treatment with PSO. The Menopause Rating Scale (MRS) was scored at baseline, after 4 weeks without treatment, after 4 weeks of treatment and post-treatment. Blood testing of 17 beta-estradiol was taken at baseline and after 8 weeks of treatment.
Participants: Women were 45-55 years of age, and had menopause symptoms for more than 3 months with a mean duration of 46 months. Women had a body mass index of between 18.56 and 30 kg/m2. Seventy-eight women participated in the study. Women were excluded if they had one or more of the following: 1) a history of estrogen-dependent tumors 2) currently pregnant or lactating 3) concomitant cancer, heart disease, liver disease, kidney failure, or HIV 4) taking hormonal contraceptives or other hormones in the previous month 5) drug abuse or alcohol intake of > 30 gm/day.
Primary Outcome: The primary outcome was the intensity of sweating and hot flashes as indicated on the German version of the menopausal rating scale (MRS). A secondary issue was to measure the 17 beta-estradiol after 8 weeks of treatment and compare it to baseline.
Key Findings: Most MRS symptoms were significantly reduced with the greatest improvements seen in hot flashes, sleeping problems, depression, exhaustion, and irritability. Hot flashes changed from a score of 2.32 before treatment to 1.41 after. Surprisingly, dry vagina symptoms also significantly improved from 1.32 down to 0.85. No significant changes were seen for joint and muscle complaints, anxiety, or urinary symptoms. The levels of 17beta-estradiol were measured at the second baseline and post-intervention. While there was only complete data for 37 women, it was concluded that estrogen levels were not affected significantly by the PSO.
Pomegranate seed oil has been on the market for some time, but it has not really seen strong use by menopausal women for menopause symptoms. While the potential of PSO for common menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats, sleep problems, fatigue, and mood changes is important, I find that the added value of this study is particularly noteworthy in the area of improvement in vaginal dryness. There are very few and only small studies on oral botanical options for vaginal dryness; more compelling and effective solutions are available with vaginal delivery of estrogen products. A small amount of data exists on hops vaginal gel, fennel cream, vitamin E suppositories, and a very few others. Oral PSO may be a new solution for many, for this very common problem.