October 6, 2022  Print

The Westmead Institute for Medical Research is leading a clinical trial that is testing a treatment for high blood pressure in people with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). The treatment is beetroot juice which is a rich source of a naturally occurring compound called nitrate.

ADPKD is an inherited condition that causes the growth of fluid-filled cysts in the kidneys. This results in chronic kidney disease, pain, and high blood pressure. High blood pressure puts people with ADPKD at risk of further complications, such as worsening kidney function and heart disease. Some studies have reported that a chemical important in relaxing blood vessels, nitric oxide (NO), is lower in people with ADPKD. It is suspected that this may contribute to high blood pressure in the disease. Nitrates, such as those found naturally in vegetables like beetroot, can be broken down in the body to form NO. Beetroot juice has been shown to improve blood pressure, the health of blood vessels and even exercise performance by increasing NO levels in healthy people and in with some diseases.

The aim of this clinical trial is to determine whether beetroot juice lowers blood pressure in people with ADPKD. This research has been funded by a seeding grant from PKD Australia (a not-for-profit organisation) and is led by Dr Priyanka Sagar and Prof Gopi Rangan.

This is a 5-week trial, and participants will be asked to drink to either beetroot juice or nitrate-depleted beetroot juice (placebo juice) for 1 month, to test if beetroot juice is effective. Recruitment is currently underway, and the investigators anticipate that the trial will be completed in December 2022, with results available in early 2023.

The results of this trial will provide information on if beetroot juice is an effective dietary supplement to treat blood pressure in conjunction with blood pressure medications.

If you have ADPKD and high blood pressure and are interested in participating in this research study, please contact the clinical trials team on (02) 8627 3529 or email beetpkdtrial@wimr.org.au. Your participation will be invaluable in helping to learn more about treating ADPKD.