Prescription 2018: Natural Kidney ProtectionJuly 11, 2018 Written by JP [Font too small?]
Arguably, the kidneys are the least appreciated and discussed organs in the human body. They play a vital role in maintaining homeostasis by filtering blood while contributing to a number of important biological functions, including regulating blood pressure, bone mineral density and the production of red blood cells. But, unless something goes wrong with these two bean-shaped organs, most people hardly give them a second thought. If you’re one of those people, this is your chance to learn a few simple steps you can take to keep your kidneys healthy so that you won’t need to think about them much in the future.
When discussing fiber and prebiotics, kidneys generally don’t come to mind. Foods rich in roughage are typically considered a means to facilitate regularity and to support cardiometabolic health by moderating blood sugar, cholesterol and weight. On the other hand, prebiotics tend to be utilized to “fertilize” healthy bacteria aka probiotics in our gut. However, in recent years, researchers have dramatically broadened their view about the potential of both of these dietary components.
Preventing illness is always preferable to treating it. Two recent studies in the British Journal of Nutrition and the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, both conclude that diets rich in fiber can significantly reduce the odds of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD). What’s more, several separate trials have found an inverse link between fiber-rich eating patterns and the formation of kidney stones. Two other important publications bear mentioning. First, a meta-analysis from 2014 reported that higher fiber intake is associated with protection against renal cell carcinoma or kidney cancer. Finally, a 2016 study published in the journal Advances in Medicine, revealed that a fiber- and nutrient-dense diet may decrease the likelihood of CKD progression. Practically speaking, this argues for the inclusion of more nutritious fruits and vegetables, rather than simply supplementing with oat bran, psyllium or other supplement sources.
If you follow health and medical trends at all, you’ve surely noticed a plethora of coverage about the influence the gut microbiome imparts on many conditions and diseases. A systematic review from this year explains that prebiotics, probiotics and synbiotics (a combination of the two), appear to “reduce blood urea and serum phosphate concentrations”. Healthy kidneys process urea (a waste product related to protein digestion) and phosphate (a mineral) without trouble. Unhealthy kidneys cannot and this can cause a variety of unwanted effects: bone loss, fatigue, frequent and/or painful urination, joint pain, restless legs and more. According to the authors of the paper, the noted reduction in phosphate and urea along with the dampening of oxidative stress and systemic inflammation may well “control the progression of chronic kidney disease”. A few intervention studies from 2018 bolster the thesis that addressing gut dysbiosis (imbalance of bacteria) via prebiotics not only protects the kidneys, but also improves renal function.
Examples of Prebiotic Foods: Asparagus, Dandelion Greens, Garlic, Jicama, Onion
Examples of Prebiotic Supplements: Acacia Gum, Beta-Glucan, Fructooligosaccharides (FOS), Inulin, Galactooligosaccharides (GOS)
Adding more dietary fiber and prebiotics offers yet another advantage: it tips the odds of avoiding diabetes in your favor. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of kidney damage and disease. There is one small caveat that requires consideration. If you’re not accustomed to consuming large amounts of fiber and/or prebiotics, it’s probably best to add them gradually to your daily routine. Additionally, if you have any type of digestive or gut-related condition, it may impair your ability to tolerate a fiber- and prebiotic-forward diet. This is especially true if your condition isn’t well controlled or if you’re in the midst of a flare up. If that’s the case for you, proceed with caution and medical counsel. For the rest of us, these two simple strategies look very promising for the kidneys and beyond.
Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!
To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:
Study 1 – NIH: Your Kidneys & How They Work … (link)
Study 2 – Dietary Fibre Intake in Relation to the Risk of Incident Chronic Kidney … (link)
Study 3 – DASH Dietary Pattern and Chronic Kidney Disease in Elderly … (link)
Study 4 – Dietary Intake of Fiber, Fruit and Vegetables Decreases the Risk … (link)
Study 5 – Dietary Style and Acid Load in an Italian Population of Calcium Kidney … (link)
Study 6 – Diet and Risk of Kidney Stones in the Oxford Cohort of the European … (link)
Study 7 – Dietary Energy Density, Renal Function & Progression of Chronic Kidney … (link)
Study 8 – Dietary Fiber Intake and Risk of Renal Cell Carcinoma: Evidence from … (link)
Study 9 – Modulation of intestinal microbiota, control of nitrogen products … (link)
Study 10 – Effect of Prebiotic (Fructooligosaccharide) on Uremic Toxins of … (link)
Study 11 – Dietary Changes Involving Bifidobacterium Longum and Other … (link)
Study 12 – The Association of Dietary Fiber Intake with Cardiometabolic Risk … (link)
Study 13 – Dietary Behaviors and Glucose Metabolism in Young Adults at Risk … (link)
Study 14 – Comparison of Two Calorie-Reduced Diets of Different Carbohydrate … (link)
Study 15 – Gastrointestinal Transit Time, Glucose Homeostasis & Metabolic Health … (link)
The Gut-Kidney Connection
Source: J Ren Nutr. 2017 Nov;27(6):458-461. (link)
Tags: Fiber, Kidney Health, Prebiotics
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Detoxification, Food and Drink