People who advocate for more natural, less chemically-oriented treatments for bodily ailments got a boost recently, from a study showing that kidney patients on dialysis fared better when they drank pomegranate juice. The oral presentation, “One Year of Pomegranate Juice Consumption Decreases Oxidative Stress, Inflammation and Incidence of Infections in Hemodialysis Patients,” was given on Thursday, November 18, 2010, at the American Society of Nephrology’s 43rd Annual Meeting and Scientific Exposition in Denver, Colorado, as a part of Renal Week 2010.
Several researchers in hospitals in Israel did a year-long study in which they gave some dialysis patients pomegranate juice before their dialysis treatment, while other patients took a placebo. The researchers discovered that those who drank the pomegranate juice showed reduced inflammation and “oxidative stress.” While these things don’t halt the kidney disease itself, they significantly reduce complications that often stem from dialysis itself.
Kidney patients tend to die more from infections or cardiovascular-related problems. So it’s no small matter that those who took the pomegranate juice were shown to end up with fewer infections. They also tended to have lower blood pressure and fewer cardiovascular problems. The juice also improved their lipid profile, and had good antioxidant properties.
The researchers caution that this doesn’t mean kidney dialysis patients should start guzzling pomegranate juice all day long. The juice does have some potassium in it, and patients with chronic kidney disease could suffer potassium overload, which could also be harmful to the kidneys.
But taking pomegranate juice and monitoring potassium levels carefully could provide one way of easing pressure on the kidneys and improving the health and longevity of kidney patients. Further clinical trials are needed, but this most recent study suggests these patients could really benefit from this natural, healthy remedy.