Can A Healthy Diet Boost Kidney Health? Your Genetics Will Decide

Not everyone's kidney gets benefited from what they eat. An individual's genetics can play an important role in regulating the effect of diet.

Edited by Neha Grover (with inputs from ANI)  |  Updated: November 21, 2019 13:02 IST

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Can A Healthy Diet Boost Kidney Health? Your Genetics Will Decide

It's common knowledge that our diet dictates our bodily health. We would think a good diet will result in good health of kidneys, but that may not be true for all. If the findings of a new study are to be believed, not everyone's kidney gets benefited from what they eat. The study claims that the extent to which dietary compounds affect kidney health, largely depends on an individual's genetics. An enzyme called Glutathione S-transferase mu-1 (GSTM1) plays an important role in getting rid of toxins from the body.  However, many people carry a null variant in (GSTM1) gene that hinders its production and poses danger of kidney function decline.

The findings appeared in an upcoming issue of The Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN). "We speculate that the GSTM1 enzyme may be involved in the breakdown of antioxidant-promoting compounds, and therefore a deficiency in the enzyme may increase the bioavailability of protective compounds relevant in kidney disease," said Dr. Thu H. Le, MD (University of Rochester Medical Centre).

(Also Read: Healthy Plant-Based Diets Can Protect Kidney Function; Study)

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The extent to which dietary compounds affect kidney health, largely depends on an individual's genetics

The team of researchers led by Dr. Le found that the absence of the gene gives rise to the chances of kidney injury in mice with hypertension and kidney disease. But, when the mice were fed with a healthy diet comprising broccoli powder (which is rich in an antioxidant-activating compound), it was seen that the risk of kidney injury dropped significantly in the genetically altered mice, but not in normal mice with kidney disease.

Dr Le concluded, "In the context of personalized and precision medicine, increased consumption of cruciferous vegetables may be protective, particularly in those lacking GSTM1 who are genetically most at risk for kidney disease progression. Furthermore, our study suggests that knowing an individual's genetic information enables tailoring an intervention to prevent or delay kidney disease progression among those who would respond based on their genetic makeup."

The study's discovery that high consumption of broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables may result in a lower risk of kidney failure; may prove helpful in prevention or treatment of kidney-related diseases.

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