Mount Sinai School of Medicine researchers have found that a special diet high in fat and low in carbohydrates, known as the ketogenic diet, can reverse kidney damage in mice with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. The 8-week diet completely reversed albuminuria and partially reversed glomerular sclerosis. During the study, the research team discovered nine genes related to diabetic kidney disease, and found that their expression was also reversed as a result of the diet.
The scientists are not sure how the ketogenic diet reverses diabetic nephropathy, but they believe it has something to do with the reduction in blood glucose. They will continue to focus on how the diet works and whether it could succeed in humans. The very strict diet, normally used to treat children with epilepsy, is not a realistic long-term option for humans, but it points the way towards possible drug targets that produce the same effects as the diet. The scientists also theorize that perhaps a short-term exposure to the diet could “reset” the kidney health of someone suffering from the early stages of diabetic nephropathy.
Diabetic Kidney Failure May Be Reversed with Low Carbohydrate Diet, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, April 20, 2011
Research Article: Reversal of Diabetic Nephropathy by a Ketogenic Diet