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Eating fish at least twice a week seems to reduce the incidence of kidney disease in patients with diabetes, according to findings from a large British study. Although diabetics are advised to limit the amount of protein they eat to delay the progression of kidney disease, evidence is building that the effects on the kidneys may have to do with the source of the protein and not the quantity consumed.
Dr. Amanda Adler of the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit in Cambridge led a team of researchers examining a population-based cross-sectional analysis of 22,000 subjects. Among the 517 subjects with diabetes, the prevalence of albumin (protein) in the urine, an indication of kidney disease, was 8.3 percent. According to food questionnaire responses, 18 percent of diabetics who ate fish less than once a week had protein in the urine, versus 4 percent of those who included fish in their diet more than twice a week. After adjusting the data for clinical, social, demographic, lifestyle, and dietary factors, regular fish consumption remained a significant predictor of freedom from macroalbuminuria among diabetics. The study is published in the November 2008 issue of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases.