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Reported November 28, 2011

Pomegranate Helps Kidney Disease Patients

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Add this to your list of delicious and nutritious! According to two recent studies, pomegranate juice helps manage blood pressure; a better choice in comparison to the potentially harmful supplements many kidney disease patients take that the National Kidney Foundation says may be harmful to their health.

Lilach Shema, PhD, Western Galilee Medical Center in Israel, and colleagues investigated the long-term effects of drinking pomegranate juice on heart disease risk factors, such as high cholesterol and blood pressure in kidney disease patients. Pomegranate juice is rich in antioxidants and has been pushed as having a variety of health benefits.

Researchers randomized 101 dialysis patients to receive about three-and-a-half ounces of pomegranate juice or placebo, three times a week. After one year, the number of blood pressure drugs patients took decreased in patients drinking pomegranate juice compared to the placebo group. Patients who drank pomegranate juice also had healthier blood pressure and cholestrol levels and less plaque build-up in their arteries. These results suggest that drinking pomegranate juice might decrease the high rates of illness and death among kidney disease patients.

Another team ledy by Vanessa Grubs, MD, Univeristy of California, San Francisco, looked at the use of dietry supplements among patients with chronic kidney disease, CKD. The National Kidney Foundation identifies 39 herbs that may be harmful to CKD patients, but the number of patients who take them is unknown.

Using data from the 1999 to 2008 annual National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey a program of studies designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United State, the investigators examined the reported use of dietary supplements in the past 30 days among 21,169 adults. While an estimated 52.4 percent of participants reported taking any dietary supplement, the supplement was potentially harmful among 15.3 percent. Use of supplements was not statistically different by CKD severity.

Since many CKD patients use potentially harmful supplements, they may be unaware of their risks.

"Although people tend to think of dietary supplements as healthy, many contain ingredients that can actually be harmful to the kidneys," Grubbs was quoted as saying.

Healthcare providers, too, may be unaware that some supplements are potentially harmful and that patients with CKD are taking them. Further research and education are warranted.

SOURCE: The American Society of Nephrology, November 2011


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