Low-carb diet may reverse kidney failure in diabetics, says new research

Thursday, June 16, 2011 by: Nicole Parsons
Tags: low-carb diet, kidney failure, health news

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(NaturalNews) A new study shows that a low carbohydrate, high fat diet, used typically to treat and control seizures in children with epilepsy, may reverse kidney failure in people with diabetes.

Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine have found that the ketogenic (low carbs, high fat) diet is useful as many cells can get energy from ketones.

Ketones are molecules produced when the blood glucose levels are low and blood fat levels are high. It has been shown that when cells use ketones instead of glucose for energy, glucose is not metabolized. As high glucose metabolism is what causes kidney failure in diabetics, the Mount Sinai researchers theorized that introducing a ketogenic diet would work to block the toxic and very harmful effects of the glucose.

Charles Mobbs, PhD, professor of neuroscience and geriatrics and palliative care medicine at Mount Sinai and his team studied mice that were genetically predisposed to have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The mice were allowed to develop kidney failure. Half of the mice were then fed a ketogenic diet while the other half was kept on a standard diet high in carbohydrates. The researchers found that the half on the ketrogenic diet had their kidney failure completely reversed after eight weeks.

"Our study is the first to show that a dietary intervention alone is enough to reverse this serious complication of diabetes." Said Dr. Mobbs, "This finding has significant implications for the tens of thousands of Americans diagnosed with diabetic kidney failure and possibly other complications each year."

Keeping in mind the extreme guidelines of the diet, it is not a realistic long term solution in adults, but the research suggests that one month on the diet may be enough to "reset" the process that leads to kidney failure.

The team also found a large array of genes expressed during diabetic nephropathy not previously known to be involved with the development of that specific complication. The team also came to find that the expression of those genes was also reversed while on the diet.

Dr. Mobbs and his team have plans to continue on with their research on the impact of the ketogenic diet and the way in which it reverses kidney failure. He also believes that the diet could help treat other neurological diseases and retinopathy, a disease that results in vision loss.

"We look forward to studying this promising development further." Dr. Mobbs stated enthusiastically. The findings of this study have been published in the current issue of PLoS ONE

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