Plant Foods for Reducing Kidney Failure Risk

kidney disease and vegetable protein

Kidney health improved with alkaline diet.

Multiple studies have recently confirmed that eating an alkaline diet with plenty of vegetable protein reduces the risk of kidney failure and chronic kidney disease.

In one study, researchers from the University of Utah followed 1,104 patients with chronic kidney failure using the 1988-1994 National Health and Nutrition Examination Study. They continued to follow those patients until 2006.

They found that each additional 10-grams of vegetable protein eaten per day – in place of animal protein – resulted in a 14% reduction of death during the study.

The researchers cancelled out factors related to age, BMI and smoking among the subjects.

The new study, presented at this year’s ASN Kidney Week conference, is entitled, “Higher Intake of Vegetable Protein Is Associated with Lower All-Cause Mortality in Chronic Kidney Disease.”

The study illustrated the potential damage produced by toxins from the consumption of animal-based protein foods. The article in Nephrology News stated:

“Due to poor kidney function, toxins that are normally excreted in the urine can build up in the blood of individuals with chronic kidney disease. Research shows that compared with animal protein, vegetable protein intake in patients is linked with lower production of such toxins.”

Certain food choices render greater amounts of toxins. A healthy person will be able to excrete many of these toxins, but a person with chronic kidney disease has reduced abilities. This produces a build up of toxins, overloading the kidney.

Alkaline diet better for the kidneys

This adds to the burden created by the acidic nature of animal proteins, especially those from red meats. Vegetable proteins, in contrast, produce alkalinity within the system.

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This factor was illustrated in another recent study, from Texas A&M College of Medicine. Here the researchers, led by Nimrit Goyaya, M.D., conducted a clinical trial of 71 patients with high blood pressure and kidney disease (nephropathy).

For one year, the researchers gave 23 patients extra fruits and vegetables and 23 patients an alkaline medication. The remaining 25 patients received no treatment. In this latter group, their kidney disease worsened, while the other two groups improved over the year.

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This effect was confirmed in another study from Tokyo Kyosai Hospital and another from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Both clinical studies found that those with greater acidic diets had a greater incidence of kidney failure, while those who ate a more alkaline diet had a reduced risk.

Because plant proteins also come with a variety of phytonutrients, they present an alkaline source of protein. Animal-based proteins are particularly high in complex proteins without the buffering effects of phytonutrients. So these diets tend to be more acidic.

Other research has found that albuminuria – which accompanies a build up of protein within the urine – also referred to as proteinuria – often indicates the existence of kidney disease, as the ability to filter out albumin and proteins is decreased. Some scientists have proposed testing albumin levels to determine the health of the kidneys.

In a study of 17 patients with diabetes and albuminuria, switching from red meat to other protein sources decreases the urinary albumin excretion rate and thus decreases the risk of kidney failure.

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Consuming more vegetable protein may help kidney disease patients live longer. Nephrology News and Issues.

Acid levels in the diet effects on kidney health. Nephrology News and Issues. 2013. Nov 11; Retr November 18, 2013,

Crews DC, Sozio SM, Liu Y, Coresh J, Powe NR. Inflammation and the paradox of racial differences in dialysis survival. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2011 Dec;22(12):2279-86. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2011030305.

de Mello VD, Zelmanovitz T, Perassolo MS, Azevedo MJ, Gross JL. Withdrawal of red meat from the usual diet reduces albuminuria and improves serum fatty acid profile in type 2 diabetes patients with macroalbuminuria. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 May;83(5):1032-8.

Crews DC, Boulware LE, Gansevoort RT, Jaar BG. Albuminuria: is it time to screen the general population? Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. 2011 Jul;18(4):249-57. doi: 10.1053/j.ackd.2011.06.004.


  • Case Adams, Naturopath

    California Naturopath, Ph.D. in Natural Health Sciences, Doctorate in Integrative Health Sciences, Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner. Diplomas in Blood Chemistry, Clinical Nutritional Counseling, Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Colon Hydrotherapy, certificates in Pain Management and Case Management/Contact Tracing. Has authored more than 30 books and hundreds of periodical articles on natural medicine. Recreational activities include surfing, sailing, running, biking, swimming, SUPing, hiking. Contact: case(at)caseadams(dot)com. [email protected] Adams, Naturopath Case

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