A low-carb, low-sugar diet may help reduce polycystic kidney disease

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Scientists from UC Santa Barbara found that ketogenic diets may be safe and effective in patients with polycystic kidney disease (PKD).

The research is published in Clinical Kidney Journal and was conducted by Thomas W et al.

PKD involves painful, fluid-filled cysts in the kidneys and affects millions of people worldwide, impairing the organs’ function and often requiring dialysis in the later stages of the disease.

National Institutes of Health statistics indicate that it affects more than half a million people in the United States.

Previously, the team tested lab animals and found ketosis, a fasting response that is also the basis of popular diets, actually shrank the kidney cysts.

In the current study, the team took a closer look at the real-life experiences of patients with autosomal dominant PKD (the more common form) who have undertaken ketogenic dietary interventions.

They tested 131 ADPKD patients who had done either the ketogenic or the time-restricted diets for an average of six months.

They interviewed respondents by telephone, asking questions about their experiences with feasibility, changes in existing health conditions, kidney function and safety concerns.

It’s an effort to gain a clearer picture of how ketogenic and time-restricted diets can be used to manage this disease.

The team found ketogenic dietary interventions may be safe, feasible and potentially beneficial for autosomal dominant PKD patients.

A total of 86% of participants reported that the dietary interventions improved their overall health. Additionally, 67% of those surveyed described improvements in their ADPKD-related health issues, while 64% reported improvements in blood pressure.

A full 90% showed strong weight loss, and 92% reported the interventions as feasible, though 53% took breaks from their diets, often due to practical difficulties.

Ketogenic diets have been popular for years among the general population. Widely known as “keto” and “intermittent fasting,” the diets prompt a fasting response by limiting carbohydrates and sugars—the body’s go-to energy sources.

As a result, the body turns to fats for energy, breaking them down into ketones and fatty acids, replacing glucose (which plays a big role in the development of kidney cysts).

The researchers say it is important for PKD patients to utilize ketogenic dietary interventions to do so under the supervision of healthcare practitioners.

If you care about kidney health, please read studies about unhealthy eating habits that may increase risk of dangerous kidney disease, and how to protect against kidney disease.

For more information about kidney health, please see recent studies about why processed foods trigger chronic kidney disease, and results showing this diabetes drug may help slow down chronic kidney disease.

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