Scientists find new way to treat diabetic kidney disease

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Researchers are making strides in the battle against diabetic kidney disease, a serious complication of diabetes that can lead to end-stage kidney failure.

A recent animal study has revealed that combining a low dose of blood pressure medication with a higher intake of dietary-resistant starch could offer a new way to protect kidney health in diabetic individuals.

The findings were presented at the American Physiology Summit in Long Beach, California, highlighting a potentially groundbreaking strategy for managing diabetic kidney disease.

Diabetic kidney disease affects a significant number of individuals with diabetes, leading to severe health complications and the need for dialysis or kidney transplantation.

While blood pressure medications have been effective in preserving kidney function, their higher doses often come with unwanted side effects such as dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.

Claudia Carrillo, a Ph.D. student at Iowa State University, and her team suggest that a combined approach using dietary interventions alongside low doses of medication might offer a safer and more manageable solution for patients.

Dietary-resistant starch, found in foods like unripe bananas, cooked and cooled potatoes, legumes, and whole grains, plays a key role in this approach.

Unlike most carbohydrates, resistant starch is not digested in the small intestine but ferments in the large intestine, nourishing beneficial gut bacteria.

Previous studies by Carrillo’s team have shown that a high-resistant starch diet can prevent symptoms of kidney decline in diabetic rats. However, such a diet would require an impractical amount of resistant starch for human patients.

In their latest study, the researchers explored a more practical dietary intervention.

They combined a lower dose of resistant starch, making up 5% to 10% of consumed carbohydrates, with a low-dose renin-angiotensin system inhibitor, a type of blood pressure medication known for its beneficial effects on kidney health.

This combination not only restored vitamin D levels in the blood but also reduced the loss of vitamin D and protein in urine—key indicators of kidney health deterioration in diabetes.

The study’s results suggest that this dual approach not only helps maintain kidney integrity but also modulates the renal renin-angiotensin system, a vital component in regulating blood pressure and fluid balance.

This promising finding opens the door to further research on how combining whole food sources with established medications could minimize the risk of diabetic complications.

Looking ahead, Carrillo and her team plan to extend their research to include type 1 diabetic rats to see if the beneficial effects observed in type 2 diabetes models hold.

Additionally, they aim to investigate the impact of other types of fiber, such as whole oats, on kidney health and delve into the role of the microbiome in this drug-diet intervention strategy.

This innovative approach not only offers hope for those struggling with diabetic kidney disease but also underscores the importance of holistic strategies that combine dietary and medicinal interventions to improve health outcomes.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies that pomace olive oil could help lower blood cholesterol, and honey could help control blood sugar.

For more information about diabetes, please see recent studies about Vitamin D that may reduce dangerous complications in diabetes and results showing plant-based protein foods may help reverse type 2 diabetes.

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