In recent years, the body of research surrounding chronic kidney disease (CKD) has uncovered some troubling statistics. The incidence rate of the condition continues to rise drastically and, with the associated increase in end-stage renal disease, CKD patients are dying more frequently, not less. What’s more troubling is that new research has discovered negative effects of dialysis and that the treatment significantly decreases the quality of life of CKD patients.
Thus, new treatment options are necessary to discover now more than ever. Due to the metabolic disturbances caused by CKD, researchers have hypothesized that an answer may lie within patients’ diets. A team of researchers set out to examine the effects of a low-protein diet, supplemented with ketoacids and its effects on CKD patients. In particular, with the heightened risk of diabetes for CKD patients, these researchers chose to perform the study in CKD patients with diabetes.
The study consisted of 197 patients with chronic kidney disease between stages three and five. Out of the total participants, 81 were also diagnosed with diabetes and 116 were not, who then acted as the control group for the experiment. All patients were over the age of 18 and any who were currently on dialysis or immunosuppressant therapies were excluded from the experiment. The participants were asked to follow a very specific low-protein diet and were examined over a period of three years.
Each participant was assigned a dietician and the nutrition plan for each was individualized. The diets were supplemented with amino acids, ketoacids, and omega-3 fatty acids. The participants participated in a type of orientation, in which they were provided with a list of equivalent foods and shown several recipes and meal plan options they could implement.
The dieticians continued working with the patients throughout the process to refine the meal plans for each one based on individual needs. Blood samples were taken from participants at intervals throughout the process to examine the protein and nutrient levels in their systems.
The results of the study showed that practicing this type of diet in patients with chronic kidney disease and diabetes is safe. None of the diabetes patients had to increase their dosage of insulin throughout the experiment. In fact, by the end of the experiment, resting glucose levels in these patients had decreased to near normal levels. The diet ultimately helped with controlling both ailments (CKD and diabetes) patients were experiencing on a metabolic level.
Diabetes patients showed healthy weight-loss and increased muscle mass over the course of the study. Many were also able to decrease their dosage of insulin, although the specifics of this result were not as well recorded, as participants did so through their regular physicians.
This study is the first of its kind and provides evidence that a low-protein diet, supplemented with ketoacids, can improve the health of CKD patients suffering from diabetes, can lower the need for diabetes treatment in these patients, and improve overall quality of life.
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