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Saudi Journal of Kidney Diseases and Transplantation
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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 172-173
Creatinine clearance of strict vegetarianism practitioners: An observation

Wiwanitkit House, Bangkhae, Bangkok, Thailand; Visiting University Professor, Hainan Medical University, China; Adjunct Professor, Joseph Ayobabalola University, Nigeria

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Date of Web Publication7-Jan-2014

How to cite this article:
Wiwanitkit V. Creatinine clearance of strict vegetarianism practitioners: An observation. Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl 2014;25:172-3

How to cite this URL:
Wiwanitkit V. Creatinine clearance of strict vegetarianism practitioners: An observation. Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl [serial online] 2014 [cited 2023 Feb 5];25:172-3. Available from: https://www.sjkdt.org/text.asp?2014/25/1/172/124562
To the Editor,

The effect of nutrition on kidney health is an important topic. It is known that eating beha­vior can be a contributory cause for some of the kidney diseases. Therefore, how to eat aiming at good kidney health is an issue for both nephrology and nutrition researches. Of several different nutritional practices, vegeta­rianism or abstinence from animal products is considered to be healthy by many. This prac­tice is seen in many communities and is a deep-rooted eating culture in many countries around the world. [1]

There are several reports on the beneficial health effects of the vegetarianism and most works mention that this practice is good for human health. [2],[3] However, specific reports on the effect of vegetarianism on kidney health are limited. [4] In addition, it is hard to conclude any facts from the previous reports as they are not controlled studies. Here, we present our experience of a controlled study of creatinine clearance among strict vegetarianism practi­tioners.

This work, a cross-sectional descriptive study, is an additional work to a previous report on the study of renal function in vegetarianism [5] and is part of a project under the research pro­gram to study the health status of the Buddhist monks, which is ethically approved and fun­ded by Chulalongkorn University. The studied subjects were two groups of Buddhist monks (all males) in a rural province in Thailand. The first group consisted of 35 Buddhist monks in the Mahayana Sect from a Mahayana temple, the Bhoyen Temple in Kancharaburi Province of Thailand. The second group was another 35 age-matched controlled Buddhist monks in Hinayana Sect from a Hinayana temple, the Lukkae Temple in Kanchanaburi Province of Thailand. All subjects were in the same age group. All live in the rural community with a similar environment. All were Buddhist monks and had the same lifestyle, as Buddhist medi­tating practitioners. The only difference bet­ween the two groups of subjects was the eating pattern. The first group practiced strict vegeta­rianism whereas the second group did not. For each meal, the subjects in each group had to eat the same menu at their respective temples.

The blood and urine sample collections were performed on the same day for all subjects. They were passed on for laboratory analysis at the National Reference Laboratory in Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, and all labo­ratory tests were also performed on the same day. The studied laboratory parameter was creatinine clearance. The preparation of all subjects for creatinine clearance was per­formed before the sample collection date. The creatinine clearance values of the first group and the second group are 124.4 ± 30.2 and 78.6 ± 18.4 mL/min, equal to orderly. There is a significant difference of the values between both groups (P <0.05, T-test).

The aim of this study was to ascertain the effect of strict vegetarianism practice on the creatinine clearance. The observation in this work can be helpful data on the nutritional effect of vegetarianism practice. In this work, all sub­jects are well matched for demographic cha­racteristics (age, sex, occupation, environment of living, etc.). All subjects were religious practitioners with a patterned life style and had very little chances of exposure to the external community and travel. Hence, it is likely that the difference in the study results is more reliable than any other previous reports.

Conceptually, vegetarianism practice implies eating fruits and vegetables without any ani­mal products. The vitamin and antioxidant de­rived from fruits and vegetables can be helpful for human health. [4] The abstinence from animal protein loading is another good thing for better health status. [4] Several previous reports have mentioned the usefulness of vegetarianism on kidney function. [2],[3] We have earlier reported the observation that "Vegans had significantly lower urine protein level" and suggested that the renal function would be better in the vege­tarianism group. [5] However, the reference para­meter, creatinine clearance, was not measured in that study in that report. [5] Apparently, there are some contradictory reports as well. Lin et al reported that "renal functions, in terms of the estimated glomerular filtration rate, were not different between the vegetarians and the omnivores". [6] Probably, the main reason for the inconclusive report is due to the difficulty in subject selection and control of confounding factors.

In this study, a better creatinine clearance was seen in the vegetarianism group. This might imply that vegetarianism is better than non-vegetarianism in preserving kidney health. Indeed, there is a previous report showing that there is a significant improvement of creatinine clearance in patients with renal failure after changing to vegetarianism. [7] One might argue that these differences seen might be due to confounding factors from metabolic disea­ses, especially diabetes mellitus. In our study, however, all subjects were had a strict eating pattern and shared the same menu for each meal. A weak point of this work is that there is no study on the nutrigenomics component of each subjects to control the underlying genetic factor that might contribute to some diseases that affect kidney health (such as diabetes mellitus). Nevertheless, it might be presump­tively assumed that vegetarianism might be good for kidney health based on an obser­vation on creatinine clearance in this work.

   Acknowledgment Top

This work was performed by a partial support from Ratchadapisake Sompote Fund, Chulalongkorn University. The author would like to acknowledge all medical personnel who pa­rticipated in sample collection and analyses. Finally, special acknowledgment has to be made to all subjects in this study.

   References Top

1.Ruby MB. Vegetarianism. A blossoming field of study. Appetite 2012;58:141-50.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Craig WJ. Nutrition concerns and health effects of vegetarian diets. Nutr Clin Pract 2010;25:613-20.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Dwyer JT. Health aspects of vegetarian diets. Am J Clin Nutr 1988;48(3 Suppl):712-38.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Bernstein AM, Treyzon L, Li Z. Are high-protein, vegetable-based diets safe for kidney function? A review of the literature. J Am Diet Assoc 2007; 107:644-50.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Wiwanitkit V. Renal function parameters of Thai vegans compared with non-vegans. Ren Fail 2007; 29:219-20.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Lin CK, Lin DJ, Yen CH, et al. Comparison of renal function and other health outcomes in vegetarians versus omnivores in Taiwan. J Health Popul Nutr 2010;28:470-5.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Barsotti G, Cupisti A, Morelli E, Ciardella F, Giovannetti S. Vegan supplemented diet in nephrotic syndrome. Nephrol Dial Transplant 1990; 5 Suppl 1:75-7.  Back to cited text no. 7

Correspondence Address:
Viroj Wiwanitkit
Wiwanitkit House, Bangkhae, Bangkok, Thailand; Visiting University Professor, Hainan Medical University, China; Adjunct Professor, Joseph Ayobabalola University, Nigeria

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1319-2442.124562

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