Transcript: Preventing Kidney Failure through Diet
Our kidneys are highly vascular organs. That’s why they look so red inside. After all, our two little kidneys have to filter through our entire blood supply, and as such, receive about 20% of our cardiac output, every time our heart contracts. And so, if the standard American diet is so toxic to the blood vessels in our heart, brain, and pelvis—leading to heart attacks, strokes, and sexual dysfunction—what might it be doing to our kidneys?
Researchers at Harvard recently put that question to the test. Thousands of women, and their diets, and their kidney function were followed for a decade. What they’re looking for is the presence of protein in the urine, known as microalbuminuria. There’s not supposed to be any protein in our urine. The whole point of our kidneys is to keep the good stuff in our blood, and get rid of the bad. It’s supposed to hold on to protein, and if it doesn’t, that’s a sign our kidneys are starting to fail.
There were three significant risk factors for declining kidney function in these women—none of which come as a surprise, given that we’re talking about clogged and inflamed blood vessels: “Specifically, diets higher in animal protein, animal fat, and cholesterol may be associated with [microalbuminuria—failing kidneys].” No such association was found for plant protein or plant fat.
And microalbuminuria is kind of a canary in a coal mine, telling you there’s something definitely wrong with your blood vessels. “[Microalbuminuria] and modest decrements in [kidney function] are powerfully associated with subsequent overt kidney disease, cardiovascular risk, and all-cause mortality [meaning a shortened lifespan]. In summary, diets lower in animal protein, animal fat, and cholesterol may be protective against [this kidney damage].”
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Serena.
Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.