Study examines fish in diet, kidney health

THE QUESTION: Might eating fish help prevent kidney disease in people with diabetes?

THIS STUDY analyzed data on 22,384 people (39 to 79 years old); 517 of them had diabetes. Testing revealed the level of the protein albumin in their urine, considered an early sign of kidney disease. People with diabetes who reported eating less than one serving of fish a week were four times more likely to have excessive protein levels (called persistent albuminuria) than were those whose weekly diet included two or more servings of fish. In nondiabetics, no link was found between the amount of fish eaten and urine protein levels.

WHO MAY BE AFFECTED? People with diabetes, who are especially susceptible to kidney disease. Excess sugar in the blood can, in essence, poison the nephrons, the tiny tubes in the kidneys that filter the blood, causing them to break down and possibly fail completely.

CAVEATS: Data on fish consumption came from questionnaires completed by the study participants. Factors not taken into account, such as lifestyle or medication, may have affected the results. The study did not differentiate between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Nearly all participants were white; whether the findings apply to other races is unclear.

FIND THIS STUDY: November issue of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases.

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