Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Protecting Kidney Function with Fruits and Vegetables

Here's the deal: there is growing evidence that baking soda can help preserve kidney function in folks with early stage chronic kidney disease.


I imagine a whole bunch of question marks sprouting over my readers' heads right about now. Here's a more scientific explanation:


Many foods have high acid content, and these acids can be damaging to the glomerules of the kidney. As we all recall from our high school science class, alkaline (base) substances are the chemical (ph) alternate to acids.


Baking soda's technical/chemical name is Sodium Bicarbonate - an alkaline.


But because sodium is also damaging to the kidneys, and can cause or worsen hypertension (high blood pressure), the use of baking soda to mitigate acid damage is questionable. Our reseachers wondered if the addition of base/alkaline foods would reduce dietary acid and help prevent kidney damage compared to baking soda therapy.



The foods in question:

Fruits such as apples, apricots, oranges, peaches, pears, raisins, and strawberries.

Vegetables such as carrots, cauliflower, eggplant, lettuce, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, and zucchini.



30 days of this treatment 'significantly and comparably decreased kidney injury' in those with stage 2 Chronic Kidney Disease (GFR<60), the same result as baking soda, but without the annoying sodium problem. Unfortunately, folks with Stage 1 CKD didn't appear to benefit, and neither did those with more severe stages of chronic kidney disease. If you'd like to read all the grisly and long-winded details, here you go.


Goraya, N., Simoni, J., Jo, C., & Wesson, D. (2011). Dietary acid reduction with fruits and vegetables or bicarbonate attenuates kidney injury in patients with a moderately reduced glomerular filtration rate due to hypertensive nephropathy Kidney International, 81 (1), 86-93 DOI: 10.1038/ki.2011.313