Fruits and Veggies For Your Kidneys

Chronic kidney disease patients with metabolic acidosis benefit from adding fruits and vegetables to their diet

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Your kidneys are your body's filters. That is, they help rid the blood of waste. So it may follow that what you put in your body can affect your kidneys, especially if you have kidney disease.

Kidney disease patients may want to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet, according to a recent study. One complication of kidney disease is called metabolic acidosis - a condition in which there is too much acid in the body.

To treat severe cases of this condition, doctors use alkaline therapy. Fruits and vegetables are high in alkaline.

"Eat healthy to manage disease."

Nimrit Goraya, MD, of Texas A&M College of Medicine, and colleagues set out to see if patients with chronic kidney disease could improve their health by adding fruits and vegetables to their diet.

Dr. Goraya and colleagues wanted to see if adding fruits and vegetables to kidney patients' diets could treat less severe metabolic acidosis. The researchers found that patients who added fruits and vegetables to their diet for 3 years reduced a key marker of metabolic acidosis.

Patients taking an oral medication of baking soda - another alkaline-rich substance - had similar improvements.

In addition, patients on a 3-year alkaline treatment had better estimated glomerular filtration rates (eGFR) - a measure of kidney function - compared to those who did not receive treatment. 

An eGFR below 60 mL/min for 3 months or more may be a sign of kidney disease. An eGFR below 15 mL/min is a sign of kidney failure that requires immediate medical attention.

Dr. Goraya and colleagues found that kidney disease patients with metabolic acidosis who added fruits and vegetables to their diet had an eGFR of almost ten points higher after 3 years compared to patients who didn't receive treatment.

Patients taking the baking soda medication also had better kidney function than untreated patients.

According to the study's authors, both baking soda treatment and a diet high in fruits and vegetables reduced a marker of metabolic acidosis and preserved kidney function in patients with chronic kidney disease.

These results support alkali treatment for kidney disease patients with less severe metabolic acidosis, the authors said.

These findings were presented at the American Society of Nephrology's Annual Kidney Week. The study has yet to be published in a journal. As such, the research still needs to be reviewed by a body of peers.

The research was funded through private Foundation and clinical revenue support.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
November 5, 2012
Last Updated:
June 20, 2013