Why People with Kidney Disease Should Avoid High-Inflammatory Diets

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Diet is an important part of managing many health conditions, and new research is shining a light on how essential it can be for healthy kidneys.
Researchers at the American Society of Nephrology last month demonstrated a link between pro-inflammatory diets to a higher risk of developing kidney failure, identified as end stage renal disease (ESRD) in people with chronic kidney disease (CKD).
“The implication of the study would be that based on our findings, we suggest that anti-inflammatory diets be tested whether they can lead to lower rates of [end stage renal disease] because our findings show a high risk of ESRD with a pro-inflammatory diet,” Tanushree Banerjee, PhD, the presenter of the research and a research specialist in the Department of Medicine at University of California San Francisco, told Healthline.
What the study found
Banerjee and her team looked at data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and linked it with the U.S. Renal Data System to see how pro-inflammatory diets affected the progression of CKD to kidney failure.
They analyzed a group of 1,084 adults ages 20 and older, all of whom had CKD, and found that 120 participants, about 11 percent, developed ESRD over the course of 14 years of follow-up.
The researchers used a tool called the Adapted Dietary Inflammatory Index. Developed in 2009, the index implements a scoring system to categorize dietary components according to whether they are pro- or anti-inflammatory.
The risk of developing ESRD was higher if individuals consumed more pro-inflammatory foods. The higher the score of their diet on the index, the greater the risk.
“Many common diseases are thought to be linked to chronic inflammation,” said Dr. Anjay Rastogi, professor and clinical chief of nephrology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California Los Angeles, who isn’t affiliated with the study.
“These include but are not limited to cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Kidney disease is also linked to inflammation. Anything that induces, potentiates, or worsens inflammation can potentially lead to worsening of kidney disease.”
Rastogi pointed that “diet has a very important role in slowing down the CKD and optimizing the ESRD care.”
Roughly 30 million people in the United States are affected by chronic kidney disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, only about 48 percent of individuals with severe CKD and 4 percent of those with minor symptoms are even aware they have it.
CKD is characterized by low-grade inflammation and tends to get worse over time, leading to kidney failure.
When a person’s kidneys stop working completely, they must either undergo dialysis treatments or receive a kidney transplant.