Help your kidneys: Pass on salt and diet soda

October 31, 2009

Individuals who consume a diet high in sodium or artificially sweetened drinks are more likely to experience a decline in kidney function, according to two papers being presented at the American Society of Nephrology's annual meeting in San Diego, California.

Julie Lin MD, MPH, FASN and Gary Curhan, MD, ScD, FASN of Brigham and Women's Hospital studied more than 3,000 women participating in the Nurses' Health Study to identify the impact of sodium and sweetened drinks on kidney function.

"There are currently limited data on the role of diet in kidney disease," said Dr. Lin. "While more study is needed, our research suggests that higher sodium and artificially sweetened soda intake are associated with greater rate of decline in kidney function."

The first study, "Associations of Diet with Kidney Function Decline," examined the influence of individual dietary nutrients on kidney function decline over 11 years in more than 3,000 women participants of the Nurses' Health Study. The authors found that "in women with well-preserved kidney function, higher dietary sodium intake was associated with greater kidney function decline, which is consistent with experimental animal data that high sodium intake promotes progressive kidney decline."

The second study, also conducted by Dr. Lin and Dr. Curhan, "Associations of Sweetened Beverages with Kidney Function Decline," examined the influence of sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened beverages on kidney function decline in the same group of Nurses' Health Study participants. An analysis of the nationally representative NHANES III participants had previously reported an association between sugar-sweetened soda and urinary protein, but data on kidney function change was not available. This investigation reported "a significant two-fold increased odds, between two or more servings per day of artificially sweetened soda and faster kidney function decline; no relation between sugar-sweetened beverages and kidney function decline was noted" said Dr. Lin. This association persisted even after the study authors accounted for age, caloric intake, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cigarette smoking, physical activity, and cardiovascular disease. The mechanisms for kidney decline in the setting of high intake of artificial sweetenters have not been previously studied and deserve further investigation.
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The study participants were older Caucasian women and the authors note that the findings may not be directly applicable to men or people of other ethnicities.

The authors report no financial disclosures.

EDITOR: "Associations of Diet with Kidney Function Decline," (SA-FC342) will be presented as part of a Free Communication Session at the American Society of Nephrology's 42nd Annual Meeting and Scientific Exposition on Oct. 31 at 4:24 pm in Room 25 of the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, CA. "Associations of Sweetened Beverages with Kidney Function Decline," (SA-PO2751) will be presented as part of a Poster Session from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm in the Scientific Exposition Hall of the San Diego Convention Center also on Oct. 31. Both abstracts will be presented as part of a Press Briefing on Oct. 30 at 12:15 pm in Room 12.

ASN Renal Week 2009, the largest nephrology meeting of its kind, will provide a forum for 13,000 professionals to discuss the latest findings in renal research and engage in educational sessions related to advances in the care of patients with kidney and related disorders. Renal Week 2009 will take place October 27 - November 1 at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego.

Founded in 1966, the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) is the world's largest professional society devoted to the study of kidney disease. Comprised of 11,000 physicians and scientists, ASN continues to promote expert patient care, to advance medical research, and to educate the renal community. ASN also informs policymakers about issues of importance to kidney doctors and their patients. ASN funds research, and through its world-renowned meetings and first-class publications, disseminates information and educational tools that empower physicians.

American Society of Nephrology

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