High-Protein Diets Boost Kidney Filtration

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High-protein diets increase estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR), according to findings published online in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases.

The investigators studied 164 healthy adults with prehypertension or stage 1 hypertension who consumed each of three diets for six weeks. The three diets emphasized carbohydrate, protein, or unsaturated fat. Protein accounts for 15% of energy intake in the carbohydrate and saturated fat diets and 25% of energy intake in the protein diet.

The researchers, led by Edgar R. Miller III, MD, PhD, of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore, found that the protein-rich diet imcreased eGFR by about 4 mL/min/1.73 m2 compared with the other two diets. The investigators observed no significant difference in eGFR between the carbohydrate and unsaturated fat diets. The effects of the protein diet on renal function were independent of changes in blood pressure.

Although the protein-rich diets can increase eGFR, it is unclear whether long-term consumption of such diets leads to kidney disease is uncertain, the researchers stated.

Dr. Miller's group pointed out that subjects did not have kidney disease at baseline, which was a study limitation.

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