Promising Results: Ketogenic Diet Shows Potential as Treatment for Polycystic Kidney Disease

Published on November 8, 2023, 12:33 am

Promising Results: Ketogenic Diet Shows Potential as Treatment for Polycystic Kidney Disease

A clinical study conducted at the University of Cologne has revealed promising results regarding the use of a ketogenic diet as a potential treatment for hereditary polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). This disease is responsible for around 10% of all cases of kidney failure and is the most common hereditary kidney disease worldwide.

The study, known as Keto-ADPKD, was led by Professor Dr. Roman-Ulrich Müller and his team at the University Hospital Cologne and the Aging Research Excellence Cluster CECAD of the University of Cologne. Professor Müller’s translational nephrology unit at CECAD focuses on dietary interventions to prolong lifespan and combat diseases.

The Keto-ADPKD study investigated the effects of a ketogenic diet on polycystic kidney disease. The findings, published in the journal Cell Reports Medicine, showed that switching to a ketogenic diet had a positive impact on kidney function among ADPKD patients.

During the study, a total of 66 patients were divided into three groups: one group followed a ketogenic diet for three months, another group practiced three days of water fasting once a month, and a third control group adhered to standard dietary recommendations. It is worth noting that 95% of patients in the ketogenic group and 85% in the water fasting group reported that their respective diets were manageable in everyday life.

Furthermore, researchers were able to confirm diet compliance through biomarker analysis using blood samples. The design of this study followed randomized controlled trial protocols like those used in drug trials, ensuring high standards.

The ketogenic diet may appear unconventional at first glance because it restricts carbohydrates such as sugar and flour while encouraging higher fat consumption. However, previous studies have suggested that this form of diet might have general life-prolonging effects. The fact that patients could successfully integrate this dietary change into their daily lives is an important finding from the Keto-ADPKD study.

After just three months, the study observed positive changes in key parameters, including kidney function, without any unexpected side effects. These improvements were statistically significant and exceeded the researchers’ expectations.

Professor Müller believes that these results mark an important milestone toward the development of a possible new treatment for polycystic kidney disease. However, he emphasizes that further larger studies conducted at multiple sites are needed to validate these findings and determine if sustained improvements in kidney function can be achieved in the long term without any adverse effects.

Overall, this study is crucial because it demonstrates that dietary interventions can be as effective as pharmaceutical treatments, serving as a foundation for future dietary treatment strategies.

To learn more about the study, please refer to the research publication titled “Feasibility and impact of ketogenic dietary interventions in polycystic kidney disease: KETO-ADPKD – a randomized controlled trial,” authored by Sadrija Cukoski et al., published in Cell Reports Medicine (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.xcrm.2023.101283