Dietary changes may restore kidney function in people with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes

A specialized low-carbohydrate eating regimen called the ketogenic diet may help reverse kidney damage in people who have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, according to a recent study published in the journal PLoS ONE.

Researchers fed this diet to half of a group of diabetic laboratory rodents that suffered from kidney failure, a symptom of diabetes called nephropathy. This condition is caused by high glucose metabolism, the scientists explained.

The study's results showed that kidney damage was reversed among mice that were fed the specialized diet, while the health status of the other group that consumed standard high-carbohydrate food remained unchanged.



"Our study is the first to show that a dietary intervention alone is enough to reverse this serious complication of diabetes," said lead researcher Charles Mobbs.

Although the scientists noted that long-term adherence to the ketogenic diet may be unrealistic because it restricts carbohydrates and encourages fat consumption, following this eating regimen for as little as one month may provide optimal kidney benefits.

Mobbs said that these findings may help researchers develop diabetes treatments that can imitate the effects of these dietary changes.

According to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC), diabetes accounts for more than 43 percent of the more than 100,000 cases of kidney failure reported annually in the U.S.

To help prevent damage to these organs, the organization explains that people with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes should avoid high protein consumption. Diabetic individuals may consider seeking professional dietary advice from their physicians or a nutritionist to ensure that they are eating safe and wholesome diets.

Maintaining healthy blood pressure levels is also key to preventing kidney failure. The NKUDIC recommends that people strive to achieve readings of 130/80 by increasing physical activity, if needed.
First published on: April 27, 2011