Omega-3 fats in seafood may help lower risk of chronic kidney disease

Credit: Dana Tentis / Pexels

In a study from The George Institute for Global Health, scientists found higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood are linked to a lower risk of chronic kidney disease and a slower decline in kidney function.

These associations were not found with higher levels of plant-derived omega-3 fatty acids.

The findings support current clinical guidelines that recommend adequate seafood intake such as oily fish as part of healthy diets.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects about 700 million people worldwide and can lead to kidney failure and death, so there is a need to identify factors that might prevent its onset and progression.

Previous studies suggest that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) may have beneficial effects on kidney function.

In the current study, researchers reviewed the results of 19 studies from 12 countries up to May 2020 to examine links between levels of n-3 PUFA biomarkers and the development of CKD in adults.

Biomarkers included eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), and alpha linolenic acid (ALA).

The main dietary sources of EPA, DHA and DPA come from seafood, while ALA is found mainly in plants (nuts, seeds, and leafy green vegetables).

Overall, more than 25,000 participants were included in the main analysis. Their average age ranged from 49 to 77. In total, 4,944 participants (19%) developed CKD.

The team found higher levels of total seafood n-3 PUFAs were linked to a modest (8%) lower risk of developing CKD.

When participants were split by n-3 PUFA levels, those with total seafood n-3 PUFA levels in the highest fifth had a 13% lower risk of CKD compared with those in the lowest fifth.

Higher levels of total seafood n-3 PUFAs, especially DHA, were also associated with a slower decline in kidney function

Plant-derived ALA levels were not associated with CKD.

These findings are supportive and consistent with current clinical guidelines that recommend adequate intake of seafood as part of healthy dietary patterns, especially when seafood replaces the intake of less healthy foods.

If you care about kidney health, please read studies about how to protect your kidneys from diabetes, and drinking coffee could help reduce risk of kidney injury.

For more information about kidney health, please see recent studies about foods that may prevent recurrence of kidney stones, and eating nuts linked to lower risk of chronic kidney disease and death.

The study was conducted by Kwok Leung Ong et al and published in The BMJ.

Copyright © 2023 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.