Proceedings of the Japan Academy, Series B
Online ISSN : 1349-2896
Print ISSN : 0386-2208
ISSN-L : 0386-2208
Low-protein diet for the prevention of renal failure
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2017 Volume 93 Issue 1 Pages 1-9


The prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) is estimated to be 8–16% worldwide, and it is increasing. CKD is a risk factor for heart attack and stroke, and it can progress to kidney failure requiring dialysis or transplantation. Recently, diabetic nephropathy has become the most common cause of CKD. In Japan, the cumulative probability of requiring hemodialysis by the age 80 years is 1/50 in males and 1/100 in females. The number of patients under hemodialysis in Japan exceeded 320,000 in 2014, among which 38,000 were newcomers and 27,000 died.

The annual medical costs of hemodialysis are 1.25 trillion yen in Japan, representing 4% of the total national medical expenditures in 2014. A low-protein diet (less than 0.5 g/kg b.wt.) is a very effective intervention. Low-protein rice (1/10 to 1/25 of the normal protein contents) is helpful to control the consumption of proteins, decreasing at the same time the intake of potassium and phosphate.

Protein restriction is indicated as soon as the eGFR becomes lower than 60 ml/min/1.73 m2 body surface, in order, to slow disease progression. The newly developed low-protein Indica rice is expected to help many CKD patients in China and Southeast Asia.

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© 2017 The Japan Academy
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