Health Advice



Nutrition News: Healthy Kidneys

Charlyn Fargo on

If you want to help your kidneys, add more seafood to your diet.

Higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood were associated with a moderately lower risk of chronic kidney disease and a slower decline in kidney function, according to a study published in the journal, The BMJ. But interestingly, associations weren't found with higher levels of plant-derived omega-3 fatty acids, only seafood.

Chronic kidney disease affects 700 million people worldwide and can lead to kidney failure and even death.

Earlier studies have suggested that omega-3 fatty acids may have beneficial effects on kidney function. The Dietary Guidelines and the American Heart Association both recommend two servings of seafood a week, to boost dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids.

Researchers at The George Institute for Global Health and the University of New South Wales pooled results of 19 studies from 12 countries looking at links between levels of biomarkers of omega 3s (EPA, DHA, DPA and ALA) and chronic kidney disease. Dietary sources of EPA, DHA and DPA come from seafood, while ALA is found mainly in plants (nuts, seeds and leafy green vegetables).

Overall, more than 25,500 participants were included in the analysis with an average age ranging from 49 to 77. After accounting for other factors, higher levels of seafood were associated with an 8% lower risk of developing chronic kidney disease.


Researchers wrote that while the findings don't prove a causal relation between seafood and chronic kidney disease risk, the results support current clinical guidelines that recommend adequate intake of seafood (two servings a week) as part of a healthy diet.

The bottom line: Eating two servings of fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna or mackerel, can help your kidneys and your heart.

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