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Contact: Shari Leventhal
sleventhal@asn-online.org
202-416-0658
American Society of Nephrology

Pomegranate juice: Beyond antioxidants, potential benefits for dialysis patients

Pomegranate juice reduces damage to tissues, inflammation and infections

Studies in recent years have claimed multiple health benefits of pomegranate juice, including that it is a good source of antioxidants and lowers both cholesterol and blood pressure, especially in diabetic and hypertensive patients. A preliminary study now suggests that it can ward off a number of complications in kidney disease patients on dialysis, including the high morbidity rate due to infections and cardiovascular events, according to a paper being presented at the American Society of Nephrology's 43rd Annual Meeting and Scientific Exposition in Denver, CO.

Batya Kristal, MD, FASN (Western Galilee Hospital, in Nahariya, Ruth & Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel), PhD candidate, Lilach Shema, and colleagues studied 101 dialysis patients who received either pomegranate juice or another placebo drink at the beginning of each dialysis session, three times a week for one year.

Laboratory tests showed that patients who drank pomegranate juice experienced reduced inflammation and the damage of oxidative stress caused by free radicals, was minimized. Furthermore, pomegranate juice drinkers were less likely to be hospitalized due to infections. These findings support other studies that suggest pomegranate juice has potent antioxidant properties.

Recent analyses of data not included in this abstract, revealed that those who drank pomegranate juice also showed an improvement in cardiovascular risk factors, such as reduced blood pressure, improvement in lipid profile and fewer cardiovascular events, suggesting that they had better heart health. These results are in agreement with other studied populations and particularly important for hemodialysis patients, because most kidney disease patients die either from cardiovascular-related causes or infections.

The authors say their findings suggest that drinking a controlled amount of pomegranate juice with a safe and monitored content of potassium may help reduce the complications that often occur in dialysis patients. It is important to consider the risk involved in potassium overload, especially in chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients with dietary potassium restriction.

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

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Study co-authors include Ronit Geron, MD, Galina Shapiro, Shifra Sela, PhD (Western Galilee Hospital), and Liora Ore (University of Haifa).

Disclosures: The authors reported no financial disclosures. The study was supported by the Chief Scientist Office of the Ministry of Health, Israel; Jess & Midred Fisher Family Cardiology Research Fund, and the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research, Technion, Israel.

"One Year of Pomegranate Juice Consumption Decreases Oxidative Stress, Inflammation and Incidence of Infections in Hemodialysis Patients," [TH-FC059] will be presented as an oral presentation on Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 6:06 PM MT in Korbel 4A of the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, CO.

ASN Renal Week 2010, the largest nephrology meeting of its kind, will provide a forum for 13,000 professionals to discuss the latest findings in renal research and engage in educational sessions related to advances in the care of patients with kidney and related disorders. Renal Week 2010 will take place November 16 November 21 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, CO.

The content of this article does not reflect the views or opinions of The American Society of Nephrology (ASN). Responsibility for the information and views expressed therein lies entirely with the author(s). ASN does not offer medical advice. All content in ASN publications is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions, or adverse effects. This content should not be used during a medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Please consult your doctor or other qualified health care provider if you have any questions about a medical condition, or before taking any drug, changing your diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment. Do not ignore or delay obtaining professional medical advice because of information accessed through ASN. Call 911 or your doctor for all medical emergencies.

Founded in 1966, the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) is the world's largest professional society devoted to the study of kidney disease. Comprised of 11,000 physicians and scientists, ASN continues to promote expert patient care, to advance medical research, and to educate the renal community. ASN also informs policymakers about issues of importance to kidney doctors and their patients. ASN funds research, and through its world-renowned meetings and first-class publications, disseminates information and educational tools that empower physicians.



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