Research shows that eating at least two servings of oily fish such as mackerel, sardines, and herring per week is associated with a lower risk of chronic kidney disease and a slower decline in organ function.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects approximately 700 million people worldwide. It can lead to kidney failure and death, so there is an urgent need to identify the factors that can prevent its onset and development.
A study has now found an association between higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish and other seafood, and a reduced risk of kidney problems. The link was not found with higher levels of plant-derived omega-3 fatty acids.
The findings of the international team of researchers, led by the George Institute for Global Health and the University of New South Wales, are published in the medical journal BMJ.
Dr Matti Marklund, lead researcher at the George Institute, told the Guardian: “While we can’t say for sure which specific fish had the biggest impact on CKD risk, we do know that levels of fatty acids in the blood It reflects well taken.” in a letter.
“Among the richest dietary sources of these fatty acids are fatty cold-water fish — for example, salmon, sardines, mackerel, and herring — and to a lesser extent shellfish, such as oysters, mussels, and crab.”
The findings support guidelines that recommend the consumption of oily fish and other seafood as part of a healthy diet.
“Current dietary recommendations in most countries suggest at least two servings of fish per week, preferably oily fish, which will provide about 250 mg/day of long-chain omega-3s,” Marklund said.
Animal studies have previously suggested that omega-3 fatty acids may help with kidney function, but so far the evidence from human research has been limited — and relied mostly on dietary questionnaires.
Researchers pooled the results of 19 studies from 12 countries examining the links between levels of omega-3 fatty acids and the development of chronic kidney disease in adults.
About 25,000 people, ages 49 to 77, were included in the main analysis.
After accounting for a combination of factors including age, gender, ethnicity, body mass index, smoking, alcohol intake, physical activity, heart disease and diabetes, higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in seafood were associated with an 8% lower risk of chronic kidney disease. .
When the participants were stratified by the levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the seafood consumed, those in the highest quintile had a 13% lower risk of chronic kidney disease than those in the lowest quintile. Higher levels were also associated with a slower annual decline in kidney function.
The researchers pointed out that their findings were observational and therefore did not prove that including more seafood in your diet definitely reduces your risk of developing chronic kidney disease. “We need randomized controlled trials to determine this kind of causation,” Marklund said.
However, the results were similar after further analysis, and appeared consistent across age groups. “Higher levels have been consistently associated with a lower risk of chronic kidney disease,” he added.