AUSTIN, Texas — A poster presented at the National Kidney Foundation Spring Clinical Meetings reportedly is the first to hypothesize that it may be possible to reverse diabetic kidney lesions by way of dietary changes. The author speculated that plant-based diets can improve, and possibly even reverse, diabetes in select patients.
“Basically, the long story short is that it’s possible to reverse diabetic nephropathy with a pancreatic transplant. These changes are not permanent, which was a huge find back in 1998,” Shivam Joshi, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania, told Healio Nephrology. “What I did with that was I combined that with the idea that we can reverse diabetes with diet, at least type 2 diabetes. So, the idea is that most of diabetes is lifestyle, caused by poor lifestyle — both diet and physical activity — and if we’re able to at least work on our diet portion and [we are] able to reverse diabetes that way, which several studies have shown.”
The abstract is based on two previously conducted studies that showed correlations between plant-based diets and reversal of other chronic diseases, like heart disease.
“One of the studies was a 4-week randomized controlled trial showing that people eating specifically a plant-based diet had almost tripled the improvement of their HbA1c levels compared to American diabetes diet,” Joshi said. “The second study was a retrospective case series of 13 people who were placed on a plant-based diet, and all of them had improved their diabetes and most of them had reversed their diabetes.”
The abstract noted the most impressive results came from the case series involving 13 individuals who followed a plant-based diet for 7 months. In that study, investigators found mean HbA1c went from 8.2% to 5.8%. In addition, eight patients had reversal of diabetes.
“If you can reverse diabetes through diet, which is more economical, much less invasive and a less hazardous way than giving a pancreas transplant, you could potentially have the same effect in your kidney too, which could generate a lot of cost savings and help a lot of people,” Joshi added. – by Jake Scott and Kristine Houck, MA, ELS
Joshi S. Poster 252. Presented at: National Kidney Foundation Spring Clinical Meetings; April 10-14, 2018; Austin, Texas.
Joshi reports no relevant financial disclosures.