From the book: What you must know about kidney disease
by Board Certified Internal Medicine and Nephrology Doctor Rich Snyder
What causes the inflammation in these disorders? What is the trigger that predisposes the kidney to be the recipient of these high-level inflammatory syndromes? Why are some people more inclined than others to get this? Part of the answer to these complex questions may be as simple as the food choices we make.
We can all develop allergies. In some people, these food allergies can trigger a significant inflammatory reaction in the kidneys causing either GN or NS. A prevalent example is an allergy to gluten, which is a common ingredient in many types of bread, including wheat and rye. A gluten allergy can cause an inflammatory process in your stomach and intestins called celiac disease. Having celiac disease increases your risk of developing any form of nephritis or nephrotic syndrome. There have been several cases reported of either NS or GN in people who had celiac disease. The advent of gluten free foods have been a blessing to those with this syndrome.
In another study, adults diagnosed with NS who ate a low-allergy diet had a dramatic reduction in proteinuria. Moreover, in a study focusing on children who had been diagnosed with NS, there was a dramatic reduction in proteinuria when cow´s milk was removed from the diet. And many of the children´s urine protein levels remained low in follow-up. There are other reported cases where just by changing the nature of their diets, patients with other types of GN like IgA nepropathy were able to maintain kidney function and reduce protein.
So what does this information suggest? It hints that there may be something in the food we are eating that is triggering nephritis or NS. But is it the preservatives, the food additives, or the colouring? Is it the way the food is prepared?
The information in these studies also suggest that one initial method of treating these conditions should be a low-allergy, inflammatory-free diet. It also suggest that figuring out what food allergies are present may be of benefit.
If you have been diagnosed with one of these syndromes, your diet should be as anti-inflammatory as possible in order to remove any possible exposure to contributing factors in foods. As you read, it can be very hard to pinpoint the exact allergy. Therefore, I would strongly recommend avoiding all dairy and processed food.
An interesting medical article suggested that celiac disease may be more common than once thought, and it is my opinion that it may be wise to consider a gluten-free diet.
Lagrue, G., Laurent, J., Rostoker, G. "Food allergy and idiopathic nephritic syndrome." Kidney International Supplement. Nov. 1989;27: S147-51
Laurent J., Lagrue G., et al. "Is adult idiopathic nephrotic syndrome food allergy? Value of olioantigenic diets." Nephron 1987; 47(1): 7-11
Laurent J., Lagrue G., et al. "Dietary manipulation for idiopathic nephrotic syndrome: A new approach to therapy." Allergy Nov 1989; 44(8): 599-603
Sieniawska, M., Syzmanik-Grzelak, H "The role of cows milkprotein intolerance in steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome." Acta Paediatrica Dec 1992; 81(12): 1007-12