What is chronic kidney disease?
Chronic kidney disease (CKD), also known as chronic renal disease, is a progressive loss in renal function (disposal of wastes in the body by the kidney) over a period of months or years. This leads to a high level of wastes in the bloodstream, leading to a range of complications including heart diseases, high blood pressure, anemia, weak bones, poor nutritional health and nerve damage. When kidney disease progresses, it may eventually lead to kidney failure, which requires dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain life.
Chronic kidney disease & diet
Our bodies need approximately 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, which is more than adequately supported by a vegetarian diet. A non-vegetarian diet is actually associated with an excess consumption of proteins by the body.
The break down of proteins inside the body, leads to the generation of a waste products (primarily nitrogen or ammonia). When people eat too much protein, their body absorbs more nitrogen than is needed. This excess nitrogen needs to be expelled by the body through urine, increasing the strain on the kidneys. The more protein that is consumed, the greater is the strain on the kidney. Overtime, people who consume too much protein, risk permanent loss of kidney function.
Excess nitrogen in the system, also leads to the liver becoming overloaded allowing ammonia and other toxic substances to build up in the bloodstream. This can lead to hepatic encephalopathy – a condition marked by a decline in brain and nervous system function.
Scientific evidence: Kidney disease and diet
Research that has been conducted on the linkage between meat, dairy and kidney disease have found
- Non vegetarians are at significantly more likely to develop gall stones than vegetarians
- Excess protein consumption (specifically animal proteins) accelerates renal function decline and risks include hyperaminoacidemia, hyperaccmoneimia, hyperinsulinemia, nausea and diarrhoea
- Lower serum phosphorous levels can be achieved within a week of shifting towards a vegetarian diet
Details of the same (including the research methodology, key findings and a link to the original study) are available in the resource tab below.