Could a keto diet boost kidney health?

Credit: Sam Moghadam Khamseh/ Unsplash.

ADPKD, short for Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease, is a genetic kidney disorder.

It’s the most common inherited kidney disease and leads to kidney failure in about 10% of cases.

Kidney failure means that the kidneys can’t work properly anymore.

In this disease, water-filled sacs, or cysts, start to grow in the kidneys. These cysts affect the nephrons, the tiny parts of the kidneys that do all the hard work of cleaning our blood.

Over time, the cysts can grow so big that the kidneys stop working. About half of people with ADPKD will need dialysis or a new kidney by the time they are 50 to 60 years old.

What the Scientists Did

Researchers from the Kidney Research Center Cologne and other places wanted to see if diet could help. They studied 63 people with ADPKD and split them into three groups.

  1. The first group ate a ketogenic diet for three months. This is a diet that’s low in carbs and sugar but high in fat. It forces the body into a state of ketosis, where it burns fat instead of sugar for energy.
  2. The second group did a water fast for three days every month. This also puts the body into ketosis.
  3. The third group followed the usual doctor’s advice for ADPKD, which is to eat less salt and drink more water.

The researchers wanted to see if people could stick to these diets. They also wanted to see if the diets had any effect on the kidneys.

The Results

Most people in the keto and fasting groups found the diets doable. And after just three months, their kidneys showed signs of improvement.

The kidneys in these people actually got smaller, which is a good thing in ADPKD. And their kidneys worked better too.

But the people in the control group, who just ate less salt and drank more water, didn’t see the same benefits. Their kidneys got bigger, not smaller.

What’s Next?

Even though these results are promising, the researchers are careful. They say that we need bigger studies before we can say for sure that a keto diet can help in ADPKD.

These studies need to include more people and go on for longer. And they need to make sure that the diet is safe.

If you are interested in kidney health, keep an eye on new research. Other studies show that drinking alcohol in moderation could lower the risk of kidney injury.

And research also found that COVID-19 might be causing more kidney injury than we first thought.

For more health news, check out recent studies on kidney infections and a combination treatment that could help people with kidney cancer live longer.

This study was led by Dr. Roman-Ulrich Müller. The team presented their findings at Kidney Week, a big event put on by the American Society of Nephrology.

If you care about kidney health, please read studies about a drug that prevents kidney failure in diabetes, and drinking coffee could help reduce the risk of kidney injury.

For more information about kidney health, please see recent studies about foods that may prevent the recurrence of kidney stones, and common painkillers that may harm the heart, kidneys, and more.

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