Adhering to a Mediterranean diet may help kidney transplant recipients preserve their graft function, Antonio W. Gomes-Neto, MD, of University Medical Center, Groningen, the Netherlands, and colleagues reported in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

In their study of 632 Dutch kidney transplant recipients with a functioning graft for more than 1 year, 76 patients experienced graft failure, 119 kidney function decline (doubling of serum creatinine or graft failure), and 181 graft loss over a median 5.4 years.

At baseline, all patients completed a 177-item validated questionnaire of foods eaten within the past month. A Mediterranean diet score was calculated according to whether an individual consumed higher than a median (sex-specific) intake of fish, fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and olive oil, or a lower than median intake of dairy and meat products. One point was also given for moderate alcohol consumption (men: 10 to 50 g/d; women: 5 to 25 g/d). The highest possible Mediterranean diet score was 9.

Every 2-point increase in Mediterranean diet score was associated with significant 32%, 32%, and 26% decreased risks for graft failure, kidney function decline, and graft loss, respectively. Patients with greater proteinuria or more recent transplants displayed especially strong associations.

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“These findings suggest that adopting a Mediterranean diet may benefit kidney graft survival after kidney transplantation, particularly in individuals with higher protein excretion and patients transplanted more recently,” Dr Gomes-Neto’s team stated.

A Mediterranean diet leads to a higher intake of antioxidants, fibers, and omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked with reduced oxidative stress and inflammation and better acid-base balance. In this study, higher Mediterranean diet score also was associated with less diabetes.

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Gomes-Neto AW, Oste´ MCJ, Sotomayor CG, et al. Mediterranean style diet and kidney function loss in kidney transplant recipients. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2020. doi:10.2215/CJN.06710619