Managing Diabetic Kidney Disease with Antioxidants

Diabetes is a disease in which the body has high levels of blood glucose or blood sugar. It is also one of the major causes of kidney disease. In the United States, this medical condition is the most common cause of kidney failure. Thus diabetic kidney disease is a major concern.

Kidneys are responsible in filtering the blood and keeping it clean. But when they become damaged, fluids and waste can be retained in the body and stays in the blood. If damage is severe, the patient may need to undergo dialysis and even kidney transplant.


Diabetic Kidney Disease

Diabetic Nephropathy or Diabetic Kidney Disease is a complication of diabetes. Since the latter causes injury to the blood vessels, the kidneys can also be affected and if the small blood vessels in these organs are destroyed, the body will retain more salt and water which can lead to edema on the feet and weight gain.

Oxidative stress is also one of the reasons Diabetic Kidney Disease exacerbates. But in a study conducted about DKD, it was discovered that antioxidant agents are effective in improving kidney damage in patients who are in the early stage of DKD.

The systematic review was about the benefits of taking chronic antioxidant supplementation and the study was conducted on adult DKD patients who either have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes mellitus. The first type is also known as juvenile onset diabetes since patients with this condition have this disease at an early age. Caused by the pancreas not being able to develop sufficient insulin, people with Type 1 diabetes have to take insulin injections. Conversely, Type 2 diabetes usually occurs after the age of 40 and can be treated with medication and proper diet or sometimes insulin injections.


Possibility of Developing Diabetic Kidney Disease


According to experts, around 30% of patients with Type 1 diabetes will be suffering from diabetic kidney disease while around 10% to 40% of people with Type 2 diabetes will have this disease in the long run. Juvenile onset diabetes and 10 to 40 percent of those with Type 2 (adult onset) diabetes eventually will suffer from kidney failure.



In the clinical trials conducted, several antioxidants were evaluated. These include vitamins A, C and E as well as zinc, selenium, ubiquinone and methionine. Results show that these antioxidants brought significant reduction in the levels of albuminuria although there were no changes on glomerular filtration rate.


It has also been discovered that the kidneys of people with diabetes have a higher level of reactive oxygen species (ROS), one of the causes of kidney disease. Antioxidants play a major role in neutralizing free radicals as well as ROS.

Meanwhile, studies were also conducted on rodent models with Type 2 diabetes. It showed that there is an improvement in the kidney function of diabetic females if antioxidants are incorporated in the diet. Moreover, there were also improvements on the enzymes called nitric oxide synthases (NOS), producers of nitric oxide that is significant for normal blood flow in the kidneys.  These are on top of the improvements on the damage of tubules and glomeruli.

The researchers concluded that antioxidants can partially prevent glomerular damages and with the supervision of a medical expert, patients with DKD can include high levels of antioxidants in the food they eat. Antioxidants are present in dark green leafy vegetables, beans, berries and nuts.




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