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"These data warrant future clinical trials to test the effect of a moderate reduction in dietary sodium and potassium intake on CKD progression in patients with high dietary sodium or potassium intake," study leader Dr. Jiang He, from Tulane University, said in a news release from the American Society of Nephrology.
"The findings could ultimately impact dietary recommendations for patients with CKD to slow disease progression," He added.
It's estimated that 26 million people in the United States have chronic kidney disease, the researchers said. Chronic kidney disease can lead to kidney failure and also increases the risk for heart disease and early death, according to the study authors.
For the study, the researchers tested urine samples from almost 4,000 people with chronic kidney disease. They then estimated the daily intake of nutrients from these samples. They wanted to learn how sodium and potassium influence the progression of the disease.
High levels of sodium and potassium in the urine were linked with faster disease progression, the researchers found.
The study's participants consumed much more sodium than the recommended daily limit of about 2,400 milligrams (mg). On average, they ate 3,700 mg per day. The researchers said their findings could lead to new guidelines for how much sodium and potassium people with chronic kidney disease should have on a daily basis.
The study was funded by the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and published online Sept. 17 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
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SOURCE: American Society of Nephrology, news release, Sept. 17, 2015