Kidney damage is often an outcome of diabetes. But new research shows how a compound in vegetables may be able to reverse the kidney problems that are associated with diabetes.
Approximately one-quarter of people with diabetes will eventually develop kidney damage called diabetic nephropathy. People with diabetes have high blood glucose levels or blood sugar, damaging the kidneys over time. When the kidneys become damaged, they can no longer perform their job of cleaning the blood. This can lead to waste and fluid build-up in the blood instead of leaving the body. This slow loss of kidney function will eventually require dialysis.
People with diabetic nephropathy should get regular screenings for kidney disease and utilize any treatment options that may be available. There is currently no cure for diabetic nephropathy.
It is currently the leading cause of chronic kidney disease in the U.S. It has also been associated with an increased risk of heart disease, which is why researchers are so interested in finding a way to reduce symptoms and outcomes of the condition.
Researchers from Saudi Arabia examined a compound commonly found in vegetables called phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) for this new study. Using rats, they assessed the effects of PEITC with those who had diabetic nephropathy.
“Our study provides, for the first time, evidence that PEITC might be effective as a naturally occurring agent to reverse serious kidney damage in people with diabetes,” said lead study author Mohamed El-Sherbiny. “Our study introduces mechanistic evidence of how PEITC might manage kidney injury associated with diabetes by targeting multiple interconnected pathways involved in diabetic nephropathy, including inflammation, glycation and oxidative status.”
Previous research had found that sulforaphane, a related compound also found in cruciferous vegetables also helps to reduce kidney damage in patients with diabetes.
“PEITC seems to manage one of the most serious and painful diabetic complications. Luckily, PEITC is naturally present in many dietary sources, importantly watercress, broccoli, turnips, and radish,” said El-Sherbiny.
Further research is needed to confirm these findings in humans. However, this study can help researchers understand how dietary behavior can help or hinder those with kidney damage due to diabetes. For those with diabetes or diabetic nephropathy, making slight changes to a daily diet may help reduce the amount of kidney damage.