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Pomegranate Juice Helps Dialysis Patients

Study: Drinking Pomegranate Juice May Prevent Complications in Kidney Disease Patients on Dialysis

By Bill Hendrick
WebMD Health News

Reviewed By Laura J. Martin, MD

Nov. 18, 2010 -- Pomegranate juice has been touted for years as having many health benefits, and now a new study says it can ward off a number of complications in kidney disease patients on dialysis.

In a small study in Israel involving 101 dialysis patients, scientists randomly gave some people pomegranate juice and others a placebo drink at the start of each dialysis session, three times a week for a year.

Pomegranate juice is known to be a good source of antioxidants. The patients who drank the pomegranate juice showed a reduction in both inflammation and damage caused by free radicals.

New Findings Support Previous Research on Pomegranate Juice Benefits

The findings of the study, written by Batya Kristal, MD, FASN, of Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya, Israel, support previous research that has suggested potent antioxidant properties of pomegranate juice.

The scientists say in a news release that other research has shown that patients who drank pomegranate juice showed an improvement in cardiovascular risk factors, such as reduced blood pressure and fewer cardiovascular events. The findings are significant because many kidney disease patients die either from infections or cardiovascular-related causes.

The researchers say their findings suggest that pomegranate juice taken in controlled amounts with monitoring of potassium content may help reduce complications in dialysis patients. Patients with chronic kidney disease often need to restrict the amount of potassium in their diet to prevent potassium overload.

Epidemic of Kidney Disease Expected in the Next 10 Years

"Considering the expected epidemic of [chronic kidney disease] in the next decade, further clinical trials using pomegranate juice aimed at reducing the high cardiovascular morbidity of [chronic kidney disease] patients and their deterioration to end-stage renal disease should be conducted," Kristal says.

The study is being presented during the American Society of Nephrology's Renal Week 2010, the largest nephrology meeting of its kind.

This study was presented at a medical conference. The findings should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

SOURCES: News release, American Society of Nephrology.American Society of Nephrology Renal Week 2010, Denver, Nov. 16-21, 2010.

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