There is conflicting research on whether drinking wine contributes to or prevents kidney disease. Because alcohol can contribute to high blood pressure, which if uncontrolled can lead to kidney disease, doctors previously discouraged their patients with hypertension from drinking at all. The same held true for their patients with heart conditions.
However, studies conducted for the National Kidney Foundation are now indicating that consuming wine in moderation can actually be helpful in preventing heart and kidney disease. The same studies also showed that patients who included wine in moderation with their kidney disease diet were 29% less likely to develop heart disease than those who drank no wine.
Kidney failure and heart disease are linked, and the same diseases affect both organs. According to The Kidney Trust, many researchers now consider both organs part of the same system. Factors that affect both the heart and the kidneys include:
- High Cholesterol;
- Blood Vessel Calcification; and
Dr. Tapan Mehta, University of Colorado at Denver, stated in an interview with WebMD that he was uncertain why drinking wine in moderation is helpful to the kidneys but suspected it connected with:
a) the polyphenols found in wine, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties; and
b) the link between moderate wine drinking and lower urine protein levels.
Yet Dr. Mehta cautions that overindulging in wine or any other form of alcohol is still dangerous to both the kidneys and the heart.
KIDNEY DISEASE DIET and DRINKING WINE
Renal dieticians seem to agree that wine or any form of alcohol consumed in moderation is fine on a kidney disease diet. However, the Renal Support Network cautions to check with your doctor about medication interaction or other factors that need to be taken into consideration. Moderation is considered to be one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
As with any medical condition, always consult with your doctor before taking any supplement. If you have kidney disease, some kidney supplements may actually toxic to your system. The National Kidney Foundation is adamant against taking any herbal supplement when one suffers from kidney disease. However, other organizations argue that there are supplements that are beneficial to kidney disease patients and in preventing kidney disease. DaVita’s Kidney Disease Education Center offers a list of both helpful and harmful kidney supplements. Once again, do not take any supplement without first consulting your physician.
Dr. Gary Curhan, of Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School, agrees with Dr. Mehta that drinking in moderation is good for both the heart and the kidneys; however, he adds that for those who don’t already drink, these findings are no reason to start.