Pomegranate Juice Good for the Heart of Dialysis Patients

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A new study, reported at the 44th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Nephrology, found that hemodialysis patients who consumed a moderate amount of pomegranate juice for a year experienced beneficial effect on their lipid profile, their blood pressure, and the number of antihypertensive medications they required.

The study randomized hemodialysis patients to receive either 100 ml of pomegranate juice (n = 66) or an equivalent-tasting placebo (n = 35) 3 times a week for 12 months.

At the end of 12 months, all components of the lipid profile (including total cholesterol, LDL, HDL and triglycerides) were improved in the pomegranate juice group but not in the placebo group.

Furthermore, patients who had a baseline systolic pressure of at least 140 mm Hg and drank pomegranate juice experienced a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure.

Last but not the least, more patients in the juice group than in placebo group took fewer antihypertensive drugs at the end of the study. The investigators believed the beneficial effects of pomegranate juice were probably related to the antioxidants (i.e. ascorbic acid and polyphenolic flavonoids) that it contained.

This result is definitely good news for hemodialysis patients. Beside kidney problems, this group of patients also has comorbidities such as hypertension and cholesterol, which increase their risk of heart attack and stroke.

If this study is to continue for another 5 years, it is possible that patients in the pomegranate juice have a fewer incidents of heart attack and stroke.

If you have kidney problems and would like to take pomegranate juice, you might like to inform your dietician and nephrologists first. It is because pomegranate juice contains high level of potassium. Patients with chronic kidney disease and dietary potassium restriction are especially prone to experience potassium overload.

Source: Kidney Week 2011: American Society of Nephrology 44th Annual Meeting. Abstract FR-PO1660. Presented November 11, 2011.

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