Let’s Hear It For The Vegetarians!

In my book, What Is It And How Did I Get It? Early Stage Chronic Kidney Disease, I discuss phospherous a bit:

This is the second most plentiful mineral in the body and works closely with the first, calcium. Together, they produce strong bones and teeth. 85% of the phosphorous and calcium in our bodies is stored in the bones and teeth.  The rest circulates in the blood except for about 5% that is in cells and tissues. Again, phosphorous is important for the kidneys since it filters out waste via them. Phosphorous balances and
metabolizes other vitamins and minerals including vitamin D which is so important to CKD patients. As usual, it performs other functions, such as getting oxygen to tissues and changing protein, fat and carbohydrate into energy.

Be aware that kidney disease can cause excessive phosphorus. And what does that mean for Early Stage CKD patients? Not much if the phosphorous levels are kept low. Later, at Stages 4 and 5, bone problems including pain and breakage may be endured since excess phosphorous means the body tries to maintain balance by using the calcium that should be going to the bones. There are other consequences, but this is the one most easily understood.

Milk and diary products contain phosphorous, which is why I’m limited to 4 ounces daily.  Other foods that I, for one, need to limit or avoid due to their high phosphorous level are colas, peanut butter (which I,
unfortunately, had just discovered much to my delight before being diagnosed), nuts, and cheeses.  To give you an idea why, my phosphorous limit per day is 800 mg. Two pancakes contain 476 mg. or well over half my daily allotment. Although both IHOP and Village Inn now make their pancakes from scratch, it’s very rarely that I spend so much of my phosphorous allotment on them.

Today, I found the following article (a little late since it was published last December) on Bioscholar.com which is fast becoming one of my favorite sites for chronic kidney disease updates. I bolded what I considered new information – well, that is, new to me.

Vegetarian diet helps kidney disease patients stay healthy

Friday, December 24th, 2010

// // //

Phosphorous levels plummet in kidney disease patients who stick to a vegetarian diet, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology (CJASN). The results suggest that eating vegetables rather than meat can help kidney disease patients avoid accumulating toxic levels of this mineral in their bodies.

Individuals with kidney disease cannot adequately rid the body of phosphorus, which is found in dietary proteins and is a common food additive. Kidney disease patients must limit their phosphorous intake, as high levels of the mineral can lead to heart disease and death. While medical guidelines recommend low phosphorus diets for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), phosphorus content is not listed on food labels.

Sharon Moe, and her colleagues studied the effects of vegetarian and meat-based diets on phosphorous levels in nine patients with CKD. Patients followed a vegetarian or meat-based diet for one week, followed by the opposite diet two-to four- weeks later. Blood and urine tests were performed at the end of each week on both diets.

Despite equivalent protein and phosphorus concentrations in the two diets, patients had lower blood phosphorus levels and decreased phosphorus excretion in the urine when they were on the vegetarian diet compared with the meat-based diet. While the investigators did not determine the reason for this difference, a grain-based diet has a lower phosphate-to-protein ratio and much of the phosphate is in the form of phytate, which is not absorbed in humans.

The authors concluded that their study demonstrates that the source of protein in the diet has a significant effect on phosphorus levels in patients with CKD. Therefore, dietary counseling of patients with CKD must include information on not only the amount of phosphorous but also the source of protein from which it derives. “These results, if confirmed in longer studies, provide rationale for recommending a predominance of grain-based vegetarian sources of protein to patients with CKD. This diet would allow increased protein intake without adversely affecting phosphorus levels,” the researchers wrote.

Reference:
Sharon M. Moe, Miriam P. Zidehsarai, Mary A. Chambers, Lisa A. Jackman, J. Scott Radcliffe, Laurie L. Trevino, Susan E. Donahue, and John R. Asplin; Vegetarian Compared with Meat Dietary Protein Source and Phosphorus Homeostasis in Chronic Kidney Disease CJASN CJN.05040610; published ahead of print December 23, 2010, doi:10.2215/CJN.05040610

Disclaimer: Bioscholar is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The articles are based on peer reviewed research, and discoveries/products mentioned in the articles may not be approved by the regulatory bodies.
 
The only problem here is that I am limited to three food units of vegetables per day.  If I add the six food units of starch, three of fruit and one of dairy (soy for me, if it’s to be vegetarian), I don’t think I’ll be satisfied.  I think I remember the vegetarians members of the family wondering the same thing as they were making their decision.  However, it would definitely help with my calorie count.
 
Keep thinking about that until Friday’s blog and, of course,
keep living your life.
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Published in: on May 24, 2011 at 10:31 am  Leave a Comment  

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