A high vegetable diet leads to longevity and disease prevention

A high vegetable diet leads to longevity and disease prevention

Cutting phosphate in the diet reduces deaths and heart problems related to kidney disease says an interesting new study.

Phosphate is an essential mineral but is in plentiful supply in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, wholegrains and legumes.  A synthetic version is added as a preservative to processed and refined foods and commercially produced animal foods such as colas, milk, cheese and other dairy products, creating the ‘high phosphate intake’ problem.

Millions of people around the world suffer from chronic kidney disease, a condition that rarely causes symptoms until its later stages unfortunately so there is no way to protect yourself against it apart from through your diet.

It is a very unpleasant disease and one you would do best to avoid by ensuring your phosphate intake is through good wholesome foods rather than the synthetically added b-grade version so rampant in the modern food supply.

With kidney disease, the heart and blood vessels become hardened and calcified as the kidneys begin to falter.  Sadly the bottom line is that patients with chronic kidney disease are far more likely to die of heart disease than kidney failure so prevention of heart disease is the same as prevention of kidney disease.  The good news is that preventing both is mainly done through dietary changes and they are relatively simple.

The Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis research, as published in ‘Kidney International’, the journal of the International Society of Nephrology showed a number of aspects to kidney disease and its relationship to diet.

“It appears that early, strict control of phosphate is crucial.  Waiting until a person is on dialysis to get phosphate under control is too late.  A buildup of calcium in blood vessels is a huge concern.  That we were able to reverse blood vessel calcification by severely restricting phosphate is impressive and may have important implications for the treatment of chronic kidney disease.  It may be that patients with chronic kidney disease are not the only ones who may benefit from restricting phosphate in their diets.  It’s possible that people at high risk of kidney failure, including those with uncontrolled diabetes or high blood pressure, may be able to delay the onset of kidney problems by limiting phosphate.  That’s an intriguing possibility that’s worth evaluating” 
Senior author Dr Eduardo Slatopolsky, MD, the Joseph Friedman Professor of Renal Diseases in Medicine.

The study on rats with chronic kidney disease shows that “severely restricting phosphate in the diet reduces deaths and reverses vascular calcification and kidney damage”.  

The study found:

  • Rats eating a high-phosphate diet had the highest blood levels of phosphate and the highest death rate, at just over 70%
  • Rats on the low-phosphate diet had a mortality rate of only 6% 

The standard advice to kidney disease patients as the kidney disease worsens is to follow a strict diet to limit the buildup of toxic waste products in the blood.  

The frustrating thing is that this is often not even suggested or started until after the damage has been done.

If the findings are confirmed in people (which seems fairly obvious from the large studies on humans with low ‘added-phosphate’ in their diets), then strictly limiting dietary phosphate early will help people live longer, healthier lives with fewer heart and vascular problems.

How do you do this?

A healthy, balanced, plant-based wholefood diet.

Study by Finch JL, Lee DH, Liapis H, Ritter C, Zhang S, Suarez E, Ferder L and Slatopolsy E. “Phosphate restriction significantly reduces mortality in uremic rats with established vascular calcification” as published in Kidney International on October 9, 2013.


Posted: Wednesday 9 April 2014