Plant-Based Eating Reduces Hazardous Phosphorus in Renal Patients

Key Takeaways:

  • Plant-based diets can potentially reduce harmful phosphorus levels in patients suffering from chronic kidney disease (CKD), despite having comparable phosphorus and protein content to meat-based diets.
  • Elevated phosphorus levels in CKD patients can cause severe cardiovascular diseases and even death. This makes phosphorus management critical for those with impaired kidney function.
  • The study involved nine CKD patients cycling between a vegetarian diet and a meat-rich diet, and consistently found lower phosphorus levels in blood and urine after the vegetarian dietary week.
  • The exact cause of the observed reduction in phosphorus levels under a vegetarian diet is still not entirely clear. There are suggestions that grain-based diets incorporate a smaller phosphate-to-protein ratio, and a significant proportion of phosphates exist in the phytate form, a compound that the human body does not absorb.
  • The findings suggest that dietary considerations, particularly in regards to the source of protein, can have an impact on phosphorus levels in CKD patients. Further long-term studies are needed to establish the potential of plant-based diets as a treatment intervention for CKD patients.

A recent detailed analysis indicates that embracing vegetarianism reduces levels of detrimental phosphorus present within the plasma and excretion of kidney ailment sufferers.

Phosphorus-Rich Foods & Kidney Disease

Individuals battling kidney disease need to keep their phosphorus intake in check – a mineral found in a variety of food proteins and common food additives. Due to impaired kidney function in such patients, expelling this mineral becomes a great challenge. As a consequence, escalated phosphorus levels may pose severe threats causing cardiovascular diseases, and even resulting in fatality.

Research Methodology

This investigation focused on the impact of vegetarian and meat-based nutritional regimes on phosphorus levels in a small group of nine patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Participants alternated their dietary patterns, consuming either a vegetarian diet or a meat-rich one for one week, followed by a two to four weeks’ gap, after which they switched to the alternate diet for another week.

Test Findings and Analysis

Upon completion of each dietary cycle, researchers carried out blood and urine examinations. Surprisingly, regardless of comparable phosphorus and protein content in both diets, individuals depicted lower phosphorus in their blood and urine following the vegetarian dietary week.

The research team could not pinpoint the exact cause of this differential outcome. However, they emphasized that grain-based diets incorporate a smaller phosphate-to-protein ratio and a significant proportion of phosphates exist in the phytate form, a compound that the human body does not absorb.


As stated by Dr. Sharon Moe and her team from Indiana University School of Medicine and Roudebush Veterans’ Affairs Medical Center, this evidence suggests that a meal’s protein source significantly influences phosphorus levels in longtime kidney disease patients.

“These data, if corroborated through detailed longitudinal studies, substantiate the recommendation of grain-based vegetarian protein sources as a dietary mainstay in CKD patients. This nutritional strategy would allow for an increase in protein intake, without negatively influencing phosphorus levels,” they added in a press statement.

The research is published in the online edition of Dec 23rd in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Additional Resources

For more comprehensive information on chronic kidney disease, refer to the abundance of resources available at the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Diana Wells

Hello, wonderful readers! I'm Diana Wells, a writer, dedicated mother of two, and a passionate blogger with an emphasis on life’s most intricate journeys. Amidst the chaos of daily life and parenting, I've found solace and purpose in penning down experiences, particularly in the realms of health and mental wellbeing.Being a mother has not just blessed me with joy, but it has also opened my eyes to the complexities of mental health. From postpartum challenges to the daily stresses that many of us face, I understand the importance of nurturing our minds alongside our bodies.My writings aim to shed light on these often overlooked aspects of health. Whether you're seeking guidance, a sense of community, or simply looking to understand more about mental health, I'm here to provide a fresh, empathetic perspective. Let's navigate the winding paths of our minds together, finding strength, understanding, and hope in each other's stories.Thank you for allowing me to share my passion with you. Let's prioritize our mental wellbeing and celebrate the small victories along the way!
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