A new study indicates that following the Mediterranean diet may help kidney transplant recipients maintain transplant kidney function. The findings appear in an upcoming issue of CJASN.
Despite improvements in the survival of transplanted kidneys in the early years after transplantation, loss of kidney function within 10 years still occurs in more than one-third of recipients. António Gomes-Neto, MD (University of Groningen, in the Netherlands) and his colleagues investigated whether adhering to the Mediterranean diet–which focuses on high intake of fish, fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and olive oil together with lower intake of dairy and meat products–might help protect transplant recipients’ kidney health.
For the study, 632 adult kidney transplant recipients with a functioning donor kidney for at least one year completed a food-related questionnaire, and adherence to the Mediterranean diet was assessed using a 9-point score.
During an average follow-up of 5.2 years, 119 recipients experienced kidney function decline (76 of whom developed kidney failure). The Mediterranean Diet Score was inversely associated with kidney function decline and kidney failure. Each 2-point higher score was associated with a 29% lower risk of kidney function decline and a 32% lower risk of kidney failure.
“Increasing scientific evidence has demonstrated health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet on cardiovascular and kidney health. In this study, we show that kidney transplant recipients with higher adherence to the Mediterranean Diet are less likely to experience function loss of their kidney transplant,” said Dr. Gomes-Neto.