Charcoal can prove useful in dealing with the high rate of heart disease in patients with advanced kidney disease, finds a new study.
It has been observed in the past that patients with advanced kidney disease have high rates of atherosclerosis or "hardening of the arteries" and death from heart disease.
The form of oral activated charcoal - a product called AST-120-has previously been used by doctors in emergency treatment for certain types of poisoning.
But now, recent studies have shown that AST-120 can be helpful in treating kidney disease as well.
The preliminary research being presented at the American Society of Nephrology's 42nd Annual Meeting and Scientific Exposition in San Diego, CA was conducted on mice genetically engineered to develop atherosclerosis.
Mice with different levels of kidney mass were assessed to see the effect.
It was noted that in mice with profoundly reduced renal mass, treatment with AST-120 led to a dramatic decrease in atherosclerosis, even when charcoal treatment was delayed.
The researchers observed that the improvement in atherosclerosis was unrelated to changes in blood pressure or cholesterol levels, instead it was because of reduced inflammation in the blood vessels.
Valentina Kon, MD (Vanderbilt University) said: "We found that oral activated charcoal lessens atherosclerotic lesions in experimental mice with kidney damage.
"This is especially important because there is no effective treatment to reduce the high rate of cardiovascular mortality in patients with end-stage renal disease."