Higher dietary acid load is associated with higher likelihood of peripheral arterial disease among American adults

J Diabetes Complications. 2018 Jun;32(6):565-569. doi: 10.1016/j.jdiacomp.2018.03.001. Epub 2018 Mar 9.


Objective: To explore the association between dietary acid load, potential renal acid load (PRAL) and net endogenous acid production (NEAP), and peripheral arterial disease (PAD) in a national representative sample of American adults.

Methods: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) database (for 1999-2002) was used. PAD was diagnosed by ankle brachial index assessment. Analysis of covariance was used to examine adjusted mean of different dietary acid load by PAD status; multivariable logistic regression was used to relate dietary acid load with prevalent PAD. Sample weighting was accounted for in all analyses.

Results: Of the 4864 eligible participants aged 40-85, 2482 (51.0%) were men, and 269 (5.5%) had PAD. After adjustment for age-, sex-, race-, estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), smoking, dietary fat, carbohydrates, protein, saturated fat, and dietary fiber, and energy intake, body mass index, hypertension, cholesterol, triglyceride and diabetes, estimated glomerular filtration rate, participants with PAD had higher mean of (PRAL: 16.2 vs 9.1mEq/d, NEAP: 56.2 vs 50.1mEq/d, both p<0.001) than PAD-free participants. In logistic regression with same cofounders, the top quarter of PRAL (more acidic) was associated with 31% higher odds of the PAD compared with the bottom quarter (more alkaline) [odds ratio: 1.31, 95% confidence interval: 1.11-1.57].

Conclusion: Our findings, for the first time, suggest that dietary acids load, an index of acid-base balance, is associated with the likelihood of PAD after adjustment for main clinical and anthropometrical confounding factors. These results support the hypothesis that diet plays an important role in chronic disease occurrence.

Keywords: Dietary acid load; Net endogenous acid production; Peripheral arterial disease; Potential renal acid load; The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey; Vascular disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acids / administration & dosage*
  • Acids / metabolism
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease / epidemiology*
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease / etiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Acids