Fighting kidney disease with diet, drugs and genetic testing
November 22nd, 2010
06:33 PM ET

Fighting kidney disease with diet, drugs and genetic testing

Eating vegetables and fruits and drinking pomegranate juice  have positive effects on kidney disease, according to two presentations at the  American Society of Nephrology's scientific meeting  in Denver Colorado.

One study placed patients with moderately reduced kidney function on a diet high in fruits and vegetables. The researchers hypothesized that the Western diet produces an acidic environment in the body that can worsen as kidney function decreases. After 30 days on the diet, the patients had reduced urine excretion of three markers that signal kidney injury: albumin, transforming growth factor, and N-acetyl-á-D- glucosaminidase. While the study by Texas A&M College of Medicine and Scott and White Healthcare was small– only 40 patients - the researchers indicated their findings merit larger and longer term studies to determine whether the dietary intervention, which is a simple and inexpensive treatment, produces the same results.

Many people have seen commercials claiming the health and antioxidant benefits of drinking pomegranate juice, which include claims that it can lower cholesterol and blood pressure in patients with diabetes and hypertension.

An Israeli study found that dialysis patients who drank pomegranate juice before dialysis treatments showed reduced inflammation and minimized oxidative stress damage from free radicals, as well as lower hospitalization rates from infections.

The small study included 101 patients who received either pomegranate juice or a placebo three times per week for a year. The researchers say their findings show that pomegranate juice has powerful antioxident properties with benefits for dialysis patients.

African Americans with kidney disease related to high blood pressure and who carry gene variant common in African Americans are 1.5 times more likely to be at risk for progressive kidney disease, researchers from Johns Hopkins University said at the scientific meeting last week.

End stage renal disease occurs when the kidneys fail or almost completely fail to properly remove waste from the body. ESRD is 13.1 times more common in African Americans compared with white subjects, according to the American Society of Nephrology.

The variant MYH9 gene was very common, present in 55 percent of the AASK (African American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension) study participants. Its association with progressive kidney disease was independent of age, sex, or treatment for high blood pressure. The same variants are present in many African Americans without kidney disease, however.

Knowing how specific genetic variations can effect outcomes and the progression of kidney disease "and may lead to areas of research to slow or prevent progressive kidney disease," according to Brad Astor, lead researcher from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland.

Chronic kidney disease patients who took the cholesterol-lowering drug Vytorin had one-sixth fewer strokes, heart attacks or operations to open blocked arteries than patients who took a placebo. The results of the five-year SHARP (Study of Heart and Renal Protection) trial were presented on Saturday.

The main benefit to patients was the reduction in procedures to open blocked arteries and preventing certain types of strokes, according to lead researcher Dr. Colin Baigent of Oxford University, who presented the findings. In the group of patients treated with Vytorin, 284 had operations to unblock arteries, compared with 352 patients in the placebo group, which was statistically significant. Baigent explained that while the 9,000 patient study was large, it did not include enough patients to show differences in heart attacks and coronary deaths.

A press release from Merck, maker of Vytorin, noted, "This is the first prospective clinical study in patients with chronic kidney disease to demonstrate the benefit of lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol on major vascular events."
Vytorin is a combination of cholesterol fighters ezetimibe (Zetia) and simvastatin (Zocor), that is used for treating high levels of cholesterol in the blood.

soundoff (120 Responses)
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    November 23, 2010 at 00:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Rob

    Acid-producing foods are suspected to influence a number of common maladies, including osteoporosis, dry skin, hair, and nails, low immunity, and even depressive feelings and personality issues. How much of that is true remains to be seen through well-controlled clinical trials, and research like this helps to clear the picture up somewhat. It's worth noting that supplementation with potassium bicarbonate is also a possible solution to a high-acid diet. It helps to buffer the effect of the acid and keep the body's pH in a normal range. While this method of pH modulation also needs more study, its positive effects do seem to be significant.

    Rational nutrition for fat loss and long-term health: http://www.NutritionPerfected.com/np-blog.html

    November 23, 2010 at 08:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Odalice feliz

    glad to know.

    November 23, 2010 at 12:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. razzlea

    i would assume they mean 100% pomegranate juice not the one thats mixed with sugar. Checkout my health and fitness blog http://razzlea.blogspot.com/

    December 13, 2010 at 14:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Jon

    This is pretty retarded. The question should be: Why wouldn't fresh fruits and vegetables help ANY disease?

    We've become incomprehensibly nutritionally challenged in this country to the point in which something simple as drinking water is considered to be a "miracle cure" for multiple ailments. Hello, Earth to Jim, if you were drinking copious amounts of fresh water to begin with instead of Soda you wouldn't be so fat! When I read articles like this I am not only truly embarrassed to be an American, but human in general.

    December 14, 2010 at 12:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bhutan Rebirth Tours and Treks

      Apparently some fruits and vegetables are not good for chronic kidney disease.

      This is the advice for Chronic Kidney Disease:

      Avoid oranges and orange juice, nectarines, Kiwis, raisins or other dried fruit, bananas, cantaloupe, honeydew, prunes, and nectarines
      Avoid asparagus, avocado, potatoes, tomatoes or tomato sauce, winter squash, pumpkin, avocado, and cooked spinach

      May 11, 2014 at 23:37 | Report abuse |
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    Check out the food blog this guy just started. Good, cheap, healthy recipes. http://www.tinpotgourmet.com

    December 14, 2010 at 17:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. diane smith

    how are any fruits, vegetables, meats, poultry good for any person to eat? they have all been genetically engineered by monsanto.

    December 20, 2010 at 16:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Richard Finckle

    Dr Mark Goldberg is my family practicioner and he confirmed much of what this article said to me.

    December 27, 2010 at 21:18 | Report abuse | Reply
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    If you are interested in preventing further kidney damage, you might want to check out an iphone app called RENALTOUCH. It allows people with kidney disease who are either on dialysis or who may soon be on dialysis learn what they can do to improve their quality of life. There is information about 8 areas of kidney health to explore with a question and answer format to reinforce learning. You can get the app here:

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