Following the Mediterranean diet, which involves high consumption of vegetables and olive oil, and moderate consumption of protein, may help kidney transplant recipients maintain the organs function, a study says.
According to the study, published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, in more than one-third of kidney transplant recipients, the organs function is lost within 10 years. The researchers, including those from the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands, asked 632 adult kidney transplant recipients with a functioning donor kidney for at least one year to complete a food-related questionnaire, and assessed their adherence to the Mediterranean diet using a 9-point score.
Based on the survey results, the scientists analysed if 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 — could help protect transplant recipients kidney health. They found during an average follow-up of 5.2 years that 119 of the respondents experienced kidney function decline with 76 of developing kidney failure.
According to the study, the Mediterranean Diet Score was inversely associated with kidney function decline and kidney failure. It said each 2-point higher score was associated with a nearly 30 per cent lower risk of kidney function decline, and a 32 per cent 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 study co-author Antonio Gomes-Neto from the University of Groningen.
However, the researchers added that clinical trials of Mediterranean diet in kidney transplant recipients, including the guidance and education of a dietician, are required to further substantiate these findings.