MedDiet May Improve Kidney Function of Transplant Recipients

Researchers at the University of Groningen found that higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet among kidney transplant patients was inversely associated with renal function decline and failure.

Jan. 27, 2020
By Ella Vincent

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Kidney trans­plant recip­i­ents fol­low­ing the Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) were found to have a lower risk of renal func­tion decline and fail­ure, accord­ing to a study con­ducted by researchers at the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands.

The study fol­lowed 632 Dutch kid­ney trans­plant patients whose donor kid­neys worked for at least a year.

Our results show that adher­ence to the Mediterranean diet was asso­ci­ated with kid­ney func­tion preser­va­tion in kid­ney trans­plant recip­i­ents.- Antonio W Gomes-Neto, lead author of the study

The patients were fol­lowed for five years and asked to self-report their diet. Based on the given answers, the patients were rated on their con­for­mity to the Mediterranean diet from one to nine, with high scores mean­ing greater adher­ence.

While 19 per­cent of the par­tic­i­pants expe­ri­enced kid­ney func­tion decline (instead of the 33 per­cent of recip­i­ents who nor­mally expe­ri­ence kid­ney decline within 10 years of the trans­plant), higher adher­ence to the Mediterranean diet was inversely asso­ci­ated with renal func­tion decline.

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Each score increase of two points was asso­ci­ated with a 29-per­cent decrease in wors­en­ing kid­ney func­tion and a 32-per­cent decline in the risk of renal fail­ure.

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Our results show that adher­ence to the Mediterranean diet was asso­ci­ated with kid­ney func­tion preser­va­tion in kid­ney trans­plant recip­i­ents, in par­tic­u­lar in patients with higher pro­tein­uria and those trans­planted more recently,” Antonio W. Gomes-Neto, the lead author of the study, said.

Studies in the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion indi­cate that adher­ence to a Mediterranean-style diet might help kid­ney func­tion preser­va­tion,” he added. Considering long-term graft fail­ure still occurs in a con­sid­er­able amount of kid­ney trans­plant recip­i­ents, we aimed to inves­ti­gate whether adher­ence to a Mediterranean-style diet might also ben­e­fit kid­ney func­tion preser­va­tion in kid­ney trans­plant recip­i­ents.”

Michelle Routhenstein, a clin­i­cal nutri­tion­ist who was not involved with the study, told Olive Oil Times that the anti-inflam­ma­tory prop­er­ties asso­ci­ated with the Mediterranean diet may be among the rea­sons why adher­ing to it is ben­e­fi­cial for kid­ney trans­plant patients.

Due to its core prin­ci­ples of eat­ing more plant-based meals – rich in fruits, veg­eta­bles, nuts, seeds, healthy fats and spices, which impart a plethora of anti-inflam­ma­tory and antiox­i­dant prop­er­ties – the Mediterranean diet can be a good choice for a post-kid­ney trans­plant recip­i­ent because of its ben­e­fi­cial prop­er­ties that can reduce oxida­tive stress and inflam­ma­tion,” she said.

However, Routhenstein cau­tioned that when it comes to organ trans­plants there is no one-size-fits-all solu­tion and patients should always con­sult their doc­tors before choos­ing a diet.

Each per­son needs to be eval­u­ated inde­pen­dently and quan­ti­ties of cer­tain nutri­ents and foods may vary based on the per­son’s lab­o­ra­tory find­ings, med­ica­tion pre­scrip­tion and food pref­er­ences,” she said. Many indi­vid­u­als may still have impaired kid­ney func­tion and can­not eat high vol­umes of cer­tain nutri­ents preva­lent on the Mediterranean diet.”

The study was pub­lished in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.





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