Water and kidneys: Drink up!

A recent cross-sectional analysis of NHANES (i.e. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) data from 2005-2006 showed that consuming more water could prevent the development of chronic kidney disease.

Image source: http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/human-biology/kidney.htm

In chronic kidney disease (CKD) the kidneys become damaged and cannot sufficiently filter blood, allowing toxins to build up and cause other problems like bone disease, anemia, and cardiovascular disease. According to the CDC, approximately 1 in 10 Americans have CKD and the primary risk factors for developing CKD are diabetes and hypertension (i.e. high blood pressure). Someone with decreased kidney function may not know it since symptoms aren’t apparent until it progresses to more severe levels. A blood test called the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) provides an estimate of how well your kidneys are working and kidney disease is staged according to GFR numbers:

Image source: http://www.kidney.org/professionals/kdoqi/guidelines_ckd/Gif_File/kck_t10.gif
Image source: http://www.kidney.org/professionals/kdoqi/guidelines_ckd/Gif_File/kck_t10.gif

The recent analysis, which included almost 3,500 adults, split up participants into three groups according to their water intake from both foods and beverages: <2 liters/day, 2-4.3 liters/day, and >4.3 liters/day. The <2 liter/day group had the highest amount of people with GFR levels between 30 and 60, indicating stage 3 CKD. Additionally, CKD was correlated with low intakes of plain water and not other beverages.

Image source: http://www.3pk.ca/


The results from this study provide another opportunity to recognize how important water consumption is to our health. Maybe CKD can now be added to the growing list of diseases and conditions that have been suggested to be reduced with water consumption.

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One thought on “Water and kidneys: Drink up!

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