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Fruits and Veggies in Diet Ease Metabolic Acidosis, Prevent Kidney Injury

Update Date: Feb 08, 2013 07:22 AM EST

Fruits and vegetables not only provide the required minerals and vitamins, but also offset the effects of a diet that causes a buildup of acids in the body, says a new study. Researchers say that increasing fruit and vegetable consumption can help protect the kidney from Chronic kidney disease, where the kidneys are unable to remove excess waste and water from the body.

A condition known as metabolic acidosis is common in patients whose kidneys have slowed down due to CKD. The condition occurs when there is a lot of acidic food, like animal and grain-based, in the diet.

Now, doctors prescribe alkali supplements like bicarbonates to act against the acid in the body of patients with chronic kidney disease along with metabolic acidosis. However, researchers from Texas A&M College of Medicine along with their colleagues have found that adding fruits and veggies that are alkaline in nature can also help control metabolic acidosis.

The study included 57 people who had the condition. The study participants were either kept on a diet high in fruits and vegetables or on pills that lower acidity.

The study lasted for a year and researchers found similar improvements in both the groups. People taking either pills or fruits and vegetables had lower kidney injury risk, higher plasma carbon dioxide levels (PTCO2) - an indicator of lower metabolic acidosis.

"We showed that by addition of alkali such as bicarbonate or alkali-inducing fruits and vegetables, patients had a favorable response by reduction of urinary kidney injury markers," said Dr. Wesson. "Our study suggests that these interventions will help maintain kidney health in those with kidney disease," added Dr. Goraya.

However, not many patients who suffer from acidosis can afford or maintain a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, experts say.

"A small group of highly motivated patients wishing to reduce their pill burden through dietary modification may benefit from the results of this study. However, many patients find it difficult to follow a diet high in fruits and vegetables and might therefore be more adherent to a supplement," wrote Muhammad Yaqoob, M.D. (Bartshealth NHS Trust and William Harvey Research Institute, in London) in an accompanying editorial.

The study is published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

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