MONDAY, Nov. 3, 2008 (HealthDay News) -- Eating fish twice a week may help reduce the risk of kidney disease in people with diabetes, according to a British study of more than 22,000 adults, including 517 with diabetes.
The participants' fish consumption was determined using dietary and lifestyle questionnaires. People with diabetes who ate less than one serving of fish per week were about four times more likely (18 percent) to have protein in their urine than those who ate at least two servings of fish per week (4 percent).
"Protein in the urine is one of the earliest signs of kidney disease," noted study co-author Dr. Amanda Adler, of the Medical Research Council epidemiology unit at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge.
The study was published in the November issue of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases.
Adler and her colleagues suggested the "unique nutrient composition of fish" may benefit kidney function by enhancing blood glucose control and improving plasma lipid profiles.
People who consume fish may have other lifestyle factors that reduce their risk of having protein in the urine (albuminuria), but the study design attempted to account for that possibility, Adler said.
"Diet is a relatively simple lifestyle change to make, and the benefits could be significant," Dr. Kerry Willis, senior vice president for scientific activities at the U.S. National Kidney Foundation, said in a foundation news release.
In addition to eating fish, other measures that help lower the risk of albuminuria include tight control of glucose, keeping blood pressure under control, quitting smoking, and following a diabetic diet as prescribed by a doctor, according to the kidney foundation.
The U.S. National Kidney Foundation has more about diabetes and kidney disease.