How Does the Ketogenic Diet Affect Your Kidneys?

Published: May 9, 2019

How Does the Ketogenic Diet Affect Your Kidneys?

See, all too often, we only hear the negative stuff. We hear people talking about how the ketogenic diet could give you kidney stones, or the excess protein that you consume on a ketogenic diet is bad for the kidneys overall. The fact is, those things aren’t really even that true, but there’s a lot of positive science that shows that the ketogenic diet is actually very powerful at helping about the kidneys, and supporting the overall long life of the kidney cells. I’m Thomas DeLauer with Keto-Mojo, and we’re going to break down how the ketogenic diet truly impacts the kidneys.

The first thing I want to talk about is going to be kidney stones. We generally think that kidney stones are just these compositive crystals that form that just happen because we’re either super dehydrated or because we have a bad diet. The reality is, it’s a lot more complex than that, and kidney stones quite frankly, are really formed more so from the genetic level than anything else. We’re either genetically predisposed to kidney stones, or we’re not. Kidney stones are just the formation of crystals that aggregate a tad too much. In other words, we already have crystals in our urine. Crystals in our urine are just components of different minerals, types of minerals that compile together and ultimately form either a small crystal or a larger crystal.

There are three factors we have to look at when it comes down to forming a crystal in the kidneys. It’s going to be; Do we have a lot of crystal promoting products? Do we have not enough anti-crystal products? Or are we just super dehydrated or have very low urine volume? Those are the only three factors that play a part when it comes down to developing larger kidney stones, and the ketogenic diet really doesn’t have too much to do with that. See, as long as you’re getting your minerals in, as long as you’re eating a healthy diet in the first place, there’s no reason that the ketogenic diet is going to lead you to have more kidney stones. That’s purely a genetic thing, and something that is really only caused by a serious urine obstruction issue, or a very bad diet.

Now when it comes down to the protein consumption on a ketogenic diet and how that could potentially damage the kidneys, quite frankly, that is just somewhat irrelevant. A lot of the studies that talk about protein being bad for the kidneys have completely been debunked these days. In fact, a lot of times we’re finding that protein actually helps support the life of the cells within the kidneys. Additionally, when you’re on a ketogenic diet, you’re not eating a ton of protein, you’re actually eating less protein on a keto diet than you probably would on an ordinary diet. So really, not even a cause for concern there. But yes, let’s get into the positive stuff, like a study that was published in Kidney International, that the ketogenic diet actually supports the genetic function that allows kidney cells to live longer. In research they were looking at what’s called nephropathy, where the kidney starts to die. They found that when patients went on a low-carb ketogenic diet, they had an increase in what’s called the SIRT1 gene. The SIRT1 basically activates protective mechanics that protects the proteins within the kidneys. Basically, our kidneys became stronger, and more protected when we went on a ketogenic diet. It all has to do with the activation of AMPK, where the body essentially starts going into preservation mode because we’re deprived of glucose. This is a very powerful thing.

The other topic that we have to look at is when we’re on a ketogenic diet our glucose levels are lower which means our insulin levels are lower, and it’s been hypothesized before that higher levels of glucose and higher levels of insulin increase the amount of blood volume that is rushing through the filtration portion of the kidneys. While this sounds like a good thing, when you’re really jamming it in there through a filtration process, you can cause the small little capillaries in the kidneys to actually collapse, and this forms some scar tissue. The scar tissue can form lesions and can be very detrimental to your overall health, not to mention just your kidney health, so the ketogenic diet actually reduces the risk of this.

Lastly, let’s take a look at a meta-analysis that was published in the British Journal of Nutrition. When looking at 1000 participants from multiple studies, the ketogenic or low-carb diet, did not have any adverse effect on kidney or renal health at all, or renal function. It didn’t really change anything. What you may want to be concerned with, or at least consider, is the fact that, on a ketogenic diet, it’s a little bit easier to become dehydrated, just make sure you’re drinking water and you’re not going to have any issue for the kidneys. The only thing that we might want to be somewhat concerned with, or at least be aware of, is when you’re on a ketogenic diet you’re losing some water and you’re usually in a little bit of a dehydrated state because the kidneys are being told to excrete more water. You actually have a good amount of urine volume flowing through the kidneys, you just become more dehydrated systemically, which means your minerals can become a little imbalanced. Just make sure you’re taking magnesium, and the proper steps to get your minerals in by eating the right veggies like you should be doing anyways.

As always, if you want to make sure that you’re truly in a ketogenic state, you’re going to want to measure, and that’s exactly where Keto-Mojo comes in. Utilizing the Keto-Mojo meter we can see exactly where our glucose levels are at, but also where our ketone levels are at, so you can make sure that you’re not only living in a nice moderate-glucose fashion but you feel good and have stable energy. You can also make sure you’re getting the most out of the ketogenic diet. So make sure you’re leaving it to Keto-Mojo meter when it comes down to doing your measuring. As always, keep it locked in here with Keto-Mojo, and I’ll see you in the next video.


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