Increasing Vegetable Protein Intake Could Help Kidney Disease Patients, Study Suggests

by Amy Morris

A new study has suggested that people living with kidney disease who eat more vegetable protein rather than animal protein may live longer than people with kidney disease that eat more animal protein.

When a person has kidney disease it means that there kidneys are failing to adequately excrete toxins that in healthy persons comes out in the urine, instead causing the toxins to build up in the blood which can cause a lot of damage to the body when not treated correctly.

This recent study was carried out at the University of Utah and led by Xiaorui Chen, with the research team studying 1,104 chronic kidney disease patients who took part in a major U.S. government health survey, between 1988 and 1996.


Once the researchers had adjusted the results to take into account certain factors like age, smoking, weight, the researchers then concluded that for each 10 gram increase in vegetable protein intake a patient had per day, these patients had a 14 percent lowered risk of dying by the end of 2006.

This has left two kidney disease experts stating that the findings confirm the effect a person’s diet can have on the illness.

Dr. Joseph Mattana who is a chief of the division of nephrology and hypertension at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, New York has told Health Day that the study suggests that,

“The type of protein consumed may have an important impact on outcomes, namely that higher vegetable protein intake may be associated with better survival.”

Mattana also made further comments on the diets of kidney disease patients who are not on dialysis, by stating that managing their nutritional needs is a “complex” task. He also said the new findings are “encouraging”, but better studies would be needed to really test the theory that a higher vegetable protein intake specifically is what offered the real benefit in the current study.

As Dr. Stephen Fishbane, who is chief of the division of kidney diseases and hypertension at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York made similar comments stating the new study was “interesting” but had limitations. Namely as he touched on the fact that people who eat healthier diets generally may be consuming other foods that offer the health benefits in this study that were discovered, and it may not be the vegetable protein after all.

For now, it may be wise that patients with kidney disease do not opt to increase the amount of vegetable protein in their diets too dramatically until further studies have been carried to find out what specific foods are of benefit to improving kidney function in the body.


I would always say for anyone with kidney disease, or any serious disease, that seeking out good nutritional advice for your specific situation from an expert qualified in this area, such as a nutritionist or naturopath, as they will understand key foods and lifestyle factors that are already proven to offer good health support.