Researchers are saying eating more fruits and vegetables can help reduce metabolic acidosis in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Metabolic acidosis is a condition where too much acid builds up in a person’s body. This can be caused by several things including ingesting too much aspirin, a build-up of toxins in the body, and kidney failure.
Chronic kidney disease is a condition where one or both kidneys operate at reduced capacity or fail completely. Without kidneys, toxins and wastes, which would normally be expelled through urine, build up in the body and can cause organ damage.
Researchers say, while dietary acid reduction through sodium bicarbonate supplements appears to help, acid reduction through fruits and vegetables (F+V) produce greater results and provide additional health benefits for those with CKD. Additionally, F+V diets can produce these outcomes cost-effectively for the patient. Previous research has already shown these diets can reduce acid, improve cardiovascular health, and slow down the progress of CKD.
Researchers say diet should be the foundation for any and all CKD treatments because of the ability to improve health and reduce death. Drugs, they say should be used to supplement and reinforce treatments based on diets. Researchers also say doctors should educate their patients on CKD and emphasize the importance of diet. They say drugs are normally seen as the first avenue for caring for CKD patients.
Experts say, in the past, physicians have been concerned using fresh F+V would cause more problems for patients. They feared patients could end up developing hyperkalemia, a condition where a person has too much potassium in their blood. A recent study shows this did not happen. In fact, this reinforced the data which shows several fruits containing citrate which is converted into bicarbonate.
In the most recent study, 108 macroalbuminuric patients with nondiabetic CKD stage 3 who had metabolic acidosis were examined. Some test subjects received F+V treatments with amounts calculated to reduce dietary acid by half. Others received current care or oral sodium bicarbonate supplements. Patients were examined every year for 5 years with a focus on their plasma total CO2, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, change in medication dose, estimated glomerular filtration rate, and systolic blood pressure.
The study also looked at the number of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) events, medication costs, and hospitalization costs a CKD patient might have to undertake.
The results showed a net plasma total CO2 go up over 5 years in the F+V group. This was the same in the sodium bicarbonate group. Average health scores did favor the F+V group and there were no cardiovascular events with them, either. The sodium bicarbonate group had 2 cardiovascular events and the group receiving the usual care had 6 cardiovascular events. There was no difference in the household care costs between the F+V group and the sodium bicarbonate group. The usual care groups, however, had the highest costs.