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Pomegranate Juice: How it helps kidney dialysis patients from complications

A recent study has shown that pomegranate juice helps protect dialysis patients from infections, inflammation and tissue damage.

A good number of studies conducted in recent years have professed support to the wide range of health benefits brought about by the intake of pomegranate juice.¬† It is said to contain excellent amounts of antioxidants which helps boost a person‚Äôs immune system.¬† Also, pomegranate juice have shown potential effects in lowering bad cholesterol levels and blood pressure ‚Äď very important effects especially for people diagnosed with diabetes and hypertension.

Aside from the mentioned health benefits, the results of a preliminary study have suggested that pomegranate juice can help protect the body against some complications of undergoing dialysis due to kidney disease, which includes the high death rate due to cardiovascular events and infections.  This is according to a paper presented at the 43rd Annual Meeting and Scientific Exposition of the American Society of Nephrology held in Denver, Colorado.

Effect on Patients under Dialysis

101 patients undergoing dialysis were enrolled in the study.  They were then divided into two groups: one group received pomegranate juice prior to every dialysis session, and another group received a placebo drink, thrice a week for a period of one year.  They were observed by Lilach Shema, a PhD candidate, Dr. Batya Kristal, FASN, (Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya, Ruth & Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel) and colleagues.

Results of the laboratory tests revealed that patients who consumed pomegranate juice exhibited reduction in inflammation and diminished oxidative stress damage caused by free radicals.  Furthermore, those who drank pomegranate juice had reduced risk of hospitalization brought about by infections. The findings of this recent study corroborate with the findings of previous studies saying that pomegranate juice contains powerful and effective antioxidant properties.

Pomegranate Juice also Good for the Heart

When data that was not included in the abstract was analyzed, it revealed that patients who consumed pomegranate juice also exhibited improved risk factors for cardiovascular conditions such as a reduction in blood pressure, improved lipid profile and lower cardiovascular events.  This suggests that the patients who drank pomegranate juice had better cardiovascular health compared to those who didn’t.  The said findings are in consonance with the other studied subjects, especially important for patients who are undergoing dialysis because a good number of patients with kidney disease die either from infections or cardiovascular-related causes.

The authors of the study said the their findings indicate that consuming pomegranate juice in controlled amounts coupled with a monitored and safe levels of potassium may help lessen complications that frequently occurs in patients undergoing dialysis.  It is very important to consider the involved risks in too much potassium content, most especially in patients with chronic kidney disease whose diets include potassium restriction.

Dr. Kristal said that more clinical trials should be conducted regarding the effects of pomegranate juice.  The study should be geared towards reducing the high morbidity rate related to cardiovascular events in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and to put a stop to its deterioration to end-stage renal disease. The researchers said that the next decade may bring about an epidemic of CKD.

What is Chronic Kidney Disease?

Chronic kidney disease is a condition in which the kidney gradually, and permanently, loses its function. The kidneys are responsible for filtering the blood in order to get rid of excess water and waste products. Waste and water will convert into urine and will then be flushed out of the body. When the normal function of the kidneys is disrupted, waste products and excess water starts to accumulate.  This becomes toxic to the body which may affect various body parts.

The following conditions may cause chronic kidney disease:

  • Uncontrolled hypertension
  • Presence of kidney stones
  • Heroin abuse
  • Sickle Cell disease
  • HIV Infection
  • Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Glomerulonephritis
  • Diabetes Mellitus (Types 1 and 2)

The worst stage of chronic kidney disease is the Stage 5.  This stage is also referred to as end-stage renal disease or kidney failure.  What happens is that, there is a near-total or total loss of kidney function.  Toxic substances, waste products and excess water start to accumulate which may cause various signs and symptoms to the patient.  When this happens, kidney transplantation or dialysis is needed for the patient to stay alive.

Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Easy fatigability
  • Pruritus (generalized itching)
  • Dry skin
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Headaches
  • Swelling of the extremities (hands and feet)
  • Problems in sleeping
  • Amenorrhea (absence of menstrual periods)
  • Excessive thirst
  • Easy bruising
  • Frequent muscle cramps and twitching
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness

How to keep your kidneys healthy

  • Avoid eating foods that contain high amounts of salt.
  • Drink a lot of water.
  • Avoid too much alcohol intake
  • Visit your doctor for regular check-ups.
  • Eat a balanced diet.¬† Include vegetables and fruits that are rich in polyphenols.¬† Examples include carrot juice, dried fruits, cauliflower, sun dried tomatoes, avocados, asparagus, green beans, beetroot, mushrooms and potatoes.

Other Benefits of Pomegranate Juice

As mentioned, numerous studies have been conducted regarding the health benefits of pomegranate juice consumption.  Despite its benefits, pomegranate juice contains high amounts of sugar, so remember to drink moderately.

Other known benefits of pomegranate juice are:

  • In a study published in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, pomegranate juice helps reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
  • In the Clinical Nutrition journal, researchers said that drinking pomegranate juice boosts the quality of sperm in men.
  • Pomegranate juice helps stop the progression of Alzheimer‚Äôs disease.¬† This is the result of a study published in the Neurobiology of Disease journal.
  • Studies conducted in Israel have shown that pomegranate juice helps fight breast cancer.¬† It destroys the cancer cells but leaves healthy cells unharmed.
  • Studies conducted with the use of mice have shown that drinking pomegranate juice may prevent lung cancer development.
  • For pregnant women, consumption of pomegranate juice helps protect the neonatal brain from damage.
  • Pomegranate juice is also good for the heart ‚Äď it prevents the build up of fatty plaques in arteries which could cause heart attacks and stroke.

Sources
emedicinehealth.com
kidney.niddk.nih.gov
healthdiaries.com
naturalnews.com
naturalnews.com
eurekalert.org

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