Association of Vegetarian Diet with Chronic Kidney Disease

Nutrients. 2019 Jan 27;11(2):279. doi: 10.3390/nu11020279.


Chronic kidney disease (CKD) and its complications are major global public health issues. Vegetarian diets are associated with a more favorable profile of metabolic risk factors and lower blood pressure, but the protective effect in CKD is still unknown. We aim to assess the association between vegetarian diets and CKD. A cross-sectional study was based on subjects who received physical checkups at the Taipei Tzu Chi Hospital from 5 September 2005, to 31 December 2016. All subjects completed a questionnaire to assess their demographics, medical history, diet pattern, and lifestyles. The diet patterns were categorized into vegan, ovo-lacto vegetarian, or omnivore. CKD was defined as an estimated GFR <60 mL/min/1.73 m² or the presence of proteinuria. We evaluated the association between vegetarian diets and CKD prevalence by using multivariate analysis. Our study recruited 55,113 subjects. CKD was significantly less common in the vegan group compared with the omnivore group (vegan 14.8%, ovo-lacto vegetarians 20%, and omnivores 16.2%, P < 0.001). The multivariable logistic regression analysis revealed that vegetarian diets including vegan and ovo-lacto vegetarian diets were possible protective factors [odds ratios = 0.87 (0.77⁻0.99), P = 0.041; 0.84 (0.78⁻0.90), P < 0.001]. Our study showed a strong negative association between vegetarian diets and prevalence of CKD. If such associations are causal, vegetarian diets could be helpful in reducing the occurrence of CKD.

Keywords: chronic kidney disease; dietary pattern; vegetarian diet.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet, Vegetarian / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors