The pomegranate is a fruit rich in antioxidants, with anti-hypertensive properties and is proven to help reduce levels of glucose in the blood; however, because it is a seasonal fruit is difficult to consume throughout the year. So, to reap its benefits in any month, the PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology Gabriel Cabrera Betanzos designed a microencapsulation process from pomegranate juice which won an award to apply for patent registration.
The innovation is that unlike other business presentations this one does not lose the natural properties of the fruit in the microencapsulation process.
The method consists in converting the natural pomegranate juice in small dust particles that can be dissolved in water. Its formula helps to preserve the product and allows the antioxidants to reach the digestive tract.
The researcher in the nutrition area of the Institute of Health Sciences (ICSA) of the University of Hidalgo (UAEH) in Mexico, says that the idea for this product came after observing that people do not consume the pomegranate because of the difficulty and laziness to peel the fruit.
He ensures that the process is relevant in Hidalgo because it is the second largest producer of pomegranate at a national level; however, it is not exploited as expected despite being a fruit which lowers glucose levels, triglycerides and hypertension.
He also states that the benefits of the pomegranate are better than those of fruits like the cranberry, grapefruit, grape or black and green tea, which are considered a good source of antioxidants.
Betanzos Cabrera explains that the method of microencapsulation consists in converting the pomegranate into a powder. "If a picture is taken, it is possible to observe the microcapsules, which contain the compounds of pomegranate juice. Microencapsulation makes the product stable, as it protects it from the environment and prevents the oxidation of its compounds."
The microencapsulation innovation of the UAEH researcher uses a technological process by which natural and nutritional properties are not lost. In addition, the microcapsules aid in the better adsorption of the antioxidants since the capsules are gradually broken in the digestive tract, which does not happen with the natural juice because it loses effectiveness because the pH of the stomach.
Betanzos Cabrera and his team showed in laboratory tests that the pomegranate, and in particular the microencapsulated presentation, is antidiabetic by reducing the levels of sugar in the blood, which means it can be used in the treatment of this condition. It also reduces some of the signs of metabolic syndrome as the index of circumference, high blood pressure and triglyceride levels.
Also they administered five grams of powder per day to a group of people with diabetes, the equivalent of approximately two fruits, and the effect in reducing the levels of glucose and triglycerides were observed over a period of one to two months, which varied according to each organism, plus daily diet and activity, added Betanzos Cabrera.
Specialists are still working in the proper way to administer it. "We analyze what is best: making a tea, tablets, capsules or powders that can be added to the water. We hope to get the patent later this year and start marketing it in 2016 ."
For his work in trying to discover the mechanism of action that helps delay cardiovascular problems, Betanzos Cabrera was awarded in 2011 with the award of the Nestlé Foundation for Health.
"We hope this project will be useful to treat serious public health problems such as diabetes and obesity," concludes the specialist.
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