Beetroot Pill Could Save Some Kidney Failure Patients in Near Future
“Beetroot pill” could help save patients from kidney failure after heart X-ray
Wait – say that again?
That’s right. A heart X-ray – angiogram – runs the risk of destroying the kidneys of heart patients who undergo the X-ray. It’s actually one of the most common causes of kidney failure in the hospital. More on that in a second.
But it turns out that beetroot could reduce the risk of kidney failure in patients having a heart X-ray, according to research from Queen Mary University of London.
Queen Mary University explains in the latest press release:
The new research project funded by national charity Heart Research UK will look into whether dietary inorganic nitrate found commonly in beetroot could be used in pill form to prevent one of the most common causes of kidney failure in hospital.
Coronary angiography is a type of x-ray test which is used to look at the coronary arteries in the heart and diagnose a number of heart conditions. It can also help in the planning of procedures to widen narrowed or blocked arteries in the heart.
During angiography, a special dye is injected into the blood so that the blood vessels can be seen. However the dye can cause acute kidney injury, known as contrast induced nephropathy (CIN), which is thought to be in part because it reduces levels of nitric oxide in the kidneys.
Dietary nitrate, found in abundance in vegetables such as beetroot, can increase levels of nitric oxide in the body.
FUN FACT: Sunlight increases nitric oxide in the body and reduces death from all causes!
Professor Amrita Ahluwalia, Co-Director and Professor of Vascular Pharmacology at Queen Mary’s William Harvey Research Institute, said,
CIN is a serious consequence of coronary angiography, resulting in patients staying longer in hospitals and higher healthcare costs.
If we find that giving dietary nitrate in capsule form could replace the lost nitric oxide in the kidneys and prevent CIN, the benefits to patients with heart disease would be substantial including reduced rates of kidney damage, less need for treatments such as dialysis and better long term survival.
Researchers will divide patients into two groups – one group taking nitrate capsules and the other group taking placebo capsules that do not contain nitrate.
“Kidney function will then be measured and compared in both groups before the procedure, and two days and three months after to see if dietary nitrate makes a difference,” they said.
The researchers are urgent to prove or disprove their strong intentions so that they can quickly bridge the sometimes-large gap between laboratory analysis and patient care.
“This exciting project has the potential to help reduce the risk of kidney damage and lead to better long-term survival for patients following coronary angiography,” said Barbara Harpham, Chief Executive of Heart Research UK.
This research is not the first time that powerful vegetables (and fruit) have been suggested as future pills to help patients. Sulforaphane from broccoli has been tested as a potential “broccoli pill” to help diabetic patients. Amazingly, freeze-dried strawberry powder helped actual diabetics in human trials and demonstrated alterations on throat cancer.
DISCLAIMER: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
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