We recently wrote a piece on how keto diets can reduce colorectal cancer. Ketosis is a metabolic state brought on by these diets and also fasting. Keto diets are characterized as being high in protein, low in carbohydrates, and high in fats. This has made it a popular tool for losing weight, and it turns out to be helpful against kidney disease.
Researchers from UC Santa Barbara found that keto diets greatly helped lab mice with polycystic kidney disease (PKD).
A fix-all diet?
PKD is a painful disease that involves fluid-filled cysts in the kidney. It affects millions of people worldwide, impairs kidney function and often requires dialysis in later stages. Thomas Weimbs, a biochemist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, was surprised to find that lab mice with PKD improved with keto diets.
Researchers put mice into ketosis using ketogenic diets, intermittent fasting, or administering the ketone beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB). This wound up actually shrinking the size of the cysts in these lab mice. These findings led to human patients with PKD going on keto diets.
From the lab to the real world
In a new study in the Clinical Kidney Journal, Weimbs and colleagues took a look at a group of patients with a common form of PKD who underwent ketogenic interventions. They looked at 131 patients.
They found that keto diets “may be safe, feasible and potentially beneficial for autosomal dominant PKD patients.”
86 percent of participants self-reported that their diets had improved their overall health. 67 percent of those said that they saw improvements in their PKD-related issues. There was also notable weight loss and improvement in blood pressure.
This happens because keto diets and intermittent fasting prompt a fasting response in the body by limiting carbs and sugars, ready energy sources for the body. The body then turns to fat for its energy by breaking them down into ketones and fatty acids. This replaces glucose which has a major role in developing kidney cysts.
Weimbs and his team are now looking into the comparative health benefits between keto diets and intermittent fasting.
Source Study: Clinical Kidney Journal — Ketogenic dietary interventions in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease—a retrospective case series study: first insights into feasibility, safety and effects | Clinical Kidney Journal | Oxford Academic (oup.com)