Exercise could improve kidney function in obesity, study finds

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In a study from the Universidad de Granada in Spain, scientists found aerobic exercise may reduce the risk of diabetes-related kidney disease in some people.

Kidney (renal) disease is a common complication associated with type 2 diabetes, especially in people who are obese and do not exercise regularly.

Early markers of diabetes-related kidney disease include high levels of protein in the urine and a reduced ability of the kidneys to filter out waste from the bloodstream.

Chronic kidney disease can also lead to an imbalance of minerals in the body, particularly in the bones. Altered bone mineral content may contribute to disorders, such as bone-weakening disease osteoporosis.

In the study, researchers examined two groups of rats—both composed of a combination of lean and obese animals—to explore the effect of exercise on kidney disease risk factors.

The “exercise” group exercised on a treadmill for 45-60 minutes each day, five days a week. The “sedentary” group was trained for 15 minutes twice a week to mimic a human sedentary lifestyle.

The team found an improvement in blood vessel health and overall kidney function.

All of the obese rats, regardless of group, had hardening or scarring of the renal arteries, increased protein in the urine, and fat deposits within the filtering structures of the kidneys.

However, the obese rats in the exercise group showed a reduction in these factors when compared to the sedentary obese rats.

The exercised obese rats also had changes in bone composition—higher levels of calcium and copper, but lower concentrations of iron—when compared to the lean rats.

These changes were not enough, however, to affect the risk of developing osteoporosis.

The team concluded that an exercise program in aerobic interval training could protect kidney structure and urinary health from obesity and the development of diabetic kidney disease.

If you care about kidney health, please read studies about how to protect your kidneys from diabetes, and these heartburn drugs may cause gradual yet ‘silent’ kidney damage

For more information about kidney health, please see recent studies about the best and worst diets for diabetic kidney disease, and results showing how to live long with kidney disease.

The study was conducted by Rosario Martinez et al and published in the American Journal of Physiology—Renal Physiology.

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