Q: I have chronic kidney disease. Is it still OK for me to drink wine?
A: Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a degenerative condition in which kidney function worsens over time, eventually leading to kidney failure. The kidneys serve to filter waste from the blood, and when their effectiveness wanes, this waste can build up and eventually become fatal without dialysis or a kidney transplant.
People with CKD can also experience chronic inflammation that can lead to cardiovascular disease. Inflammation is a response to trauma or infection, but in some individuals, inflammation is triggered by their own immune system, causing tissue damage. Reducing a patient's inflammatory response may prevent chronic issues like kidney and heart disease.
With that in mind, researchers have studied whether certain foods and drinks can either contribute to or reduce inflammation, and it just so happens that wine, especially red wine high in resveratrol, can be a beneficial component of an anti-inflammatory diet. (However, a clinical trial for a resveratrol-based drug was halted in 2010 when it was shown to aggravate pre-existing kidney problems.)
A 2014 study at the University of Colorado at Denver (further supporting a similar study in 2005) concluded that people who drank less than 1 glass a day were 37 percent less likely to develop CKD, and those who already had CKD were 29 percent less likely to develop cardiovascular disease.
A May 2015 study from the University of Milan and Versilia Hospital in Italy found that white wine in conjunction with extra-virgin olive oil can lower plasma markers of chronic inflammation by considerable margins. This was a very small study, but it had promising results in the 20 participants, 10 of whom suffered from CKD. Participants were separated into two groups and given two periods of "treatment" of prescribed amounts of white wine and olive oil, some receiving just olive oil and some receiving a combination of both oil and wine. Researchers aimed to test the anti-inflammatory qualities of two key components of the Mediterrannean diet, which has been linked to a wide range of health benefits.
In the Milan study, olive oil alone did not produce any anti-inflammatory effects, but the combined olive oil and wine treatment did have positive results. Researchers found that certain biomarkers for inflammation dropped 50 percent during the combined consumption of white wine and extra-virgin olive oil in the healthy individuals and 40 to 50 percent in the CKD patients.
While some studies have indicated that a moderate wine diet may both decrease the likelihood of developing CKD and reduce the damage caused by CKD, it's imperative that you consult your physician before adding wine to any treatment plan.
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