- Chronic kidney disease affects 1 in 10 people worldwide and, if left untreated, can lead to kidney failure.
- Diet, exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent or manage the condition.
- A new study suggests that by including fish-rich omega-3 fatty acids in their diet, people may reduce their risk of chronic kidney disease.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects
Kidney damage can happen over a long period of time, often without causing symptoms at first. Eventually, the kidneys cannot filter the blood properly, leading to edema or fluid retention because the kidneys cannot get rid of excess fluid and salt.
People with CKD are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death.
Managing blood pressure and blood sugar levels is critical to keeping your kidneys healthy. Being active, maintaining a healthy body weight, and eating a healthy diet are also important in preventing and managing CKD.
Now, researchers at the University of New South Wales in Sydney have found that omega-3s from seafood are associated with a moderately lower risk of chronic kidney disease and a slower decline in kidney function.
The study was published in
The study was part of the Fatty Acid Studies and Outcomes Research (FORCE) consortium. FORCE was created to understand the relationships between fatty acids in our diet and metabolic processes, using data from several studies.
“This is an interesting study of diet potentially having a direct effect on disease progression. […] The methodology of this combined analysis is good – more accurate and avoids measurement errors related to self-report.”
—Dr. Eamon Laird, Visiting Research Fellow, Trinity College, Dublin, who was not involved in the study.
The researchers analyzed data from 19 studies from 12 countries to assess the association between long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) and CKD.
The 25,570 participants were aged between 49 and 77 at baseline. Overall, 4,944 (19.3%) developed
People who had the highest levels of seafood-derived omega-3s in their diet had an 8% lower risk of CKD incidence. Those with total n-3 PUFA levels in seafood in the highest fifth had a 13% lower risk of CKD compared to those in the lowest fifth.
Researchers discovered this protective association with three individual omega-3s from seafood, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA).
doctor Shree Mulay, CEO and nephrologist at The Kidney Experts, PLLC, who was not involved in the study, welcomed the study but urged caution, especially in people who already have CKD.
“It is exciting to explore whether eating more fatty seafood could lead to increased PUFA intake and slower progression of CKD. However, caution is essential, as many of these fish are high in phosphorus – a mineral that nephrologists work hard to keep low in dialysis patients and those with advanced CKD,” she said. medical news today.
Plant-derived omega-3s, such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), found primarily in nuts and seeds, had no effect on CKD risk.
The corresponding author, Dr. Kwok Leung Ong, senior research fellow at the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia, said MNT:
“For plant-derived ALA, the finding was not very surprising, although still interesting to note, since ALA generally shows a weaker effect on metabolic risk factors such as lipids, glucose and inflammatory markers in clinical trials, when compared to EPA and DHA.”
“The important implication of our study is that adequate consumption of seafood and oily fish (where most omega-3 fatty acids in the blood come from) may help prevent or delay the development of chronic kidney disease.”
— Dr. Kwok Leung Ong
And Dr. Laird concurred: “Seafood-derived omega-3 is already in a ‘ready-to-use’ form by the body, and it makes scientific sense that it would be associated with a health outcome like chronic kidney disease.”
While the study’s findings are promising, the results do not indicate a causal relationship.
“It should be noted that our findings do not prove a causal relationship between seafood n-3 PUFA and CKD risk, as the findings were observational, but are consistent with current clinical guidelines that recommend adequate intake of seafood as part of a healthy diet. patterns, especially when seafood replaces eating less healthy foods,” said Dr. Ong.
The Doctor. Laird, for his part, called the findings “controversial” and said many other compounds could have had a similar effect.
“[T]The authors did not take into account other dietary factors (including other vitamins (eg, vitamin D) and minerals found in fish) that also have anti-inflammatory benefits against which EPA and DHA levels are only just keeping pace,” he noted.
“Direct mechanisms could include direct anti-inflammatory effects on the immune system and dampening of ‘inflammation.’ Furthermore, higher DHA and EPA may have reno-protective properties in kidney disease, with attenuation of fibrosis.”
—Dr. Eamon Laird
Most seafood contains some n-3 PUFAs, but the
- Mackerel (Atlantic and Pacific)
- tuna (bluefin and albacore)
People can also get their seafood-derived omega-3s from fish oil supplements. For people on a vegetarian diet, chia seeds, flaxseeds and walnuts are rich in ALA, some of which the body converts to EPA and DHA.
DHA and EPA are thought to reduce inflammation, which has been linked to a number of chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other autoimmune disorders.
So, while this study doesn’t conclusively prove that including seafood in your diet will reduce your risk of CKD, for most people, increasing your seafood intake, particularly oily fish, is likely to benefit your overall health.