Effects of Low Protein Diet on Modulating Gut Microbiota in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of International Studies

Int J Med Sci. 2021 Oct 25;18(16):3839-3850. doi: 10.7150/ijms.66451. eCollection 2021.


Background: Although associations between low protein diet (LPD) and changes of gut microbiota have been reported; however, systematic discernment of the effects of LPD on diet-microbiome-host interaction in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) is lacking. Methods: We searched PUBMED and EMBASE for articles published on changes of gut microbiota associated with implementation of LPD in CKD patients until July 2021. Independent researchers extracted data and assessed risks of bias. We conducted meta-analyses of combine p-value, mean differences and random effects for gut microbiota and related metabolites. Study heterogeneity was measured by Tau2 and I2 statistic. This study followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. Results: Five articles met inclusion criteria. The meta-analyses of gut microbiota exhibited enrichments of Lactobacillaceae (meta-p= 0.010), Bacteroidaceae (meta-p= 0.048) and Streptococcus anginosus (meta-p< 0.001), but revealed depletion of Bacteroides eggerthii (p=0.017) and Roseburia faecis (meta-p=0.019) in LPD patients compared to patients undergoing normal protein diet. The serum IS levels (mean difference: 0.68 ug/mL, 95% CI: -8.38-9.68, p= 0.89) and pCS levels (mean difference: -3.85 ug/mL, 95% CI: -15.49-7.78, p < 0.52) did not change between groups. We did not find significant differences on renal function associated with change of microbiota between groups (eGFR, mean difference: -7.21 mL/min/1.73 m2, 95% CI: -33.2-18.79, p= 0.59; blood urea nitrogen, mean difference: -6.8 mg/dL, 95% CI: -46.42-32.82, p= 0.74). Other clinical (sodium, potassium, phosphate, albumin, fasting sugar, uric acid, total cholesterol, triglycerides, C-reactive protein and hemoglobin) and anthropometric estimates (body mass index, systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure) did not differ between the two groups. Conclusions: This systematic review and meta-analysis suggested that the effects of LPD on the microbiota were observed predominantly at the families and species levels but minimal on microbial diversity or richness. In the absence of global compositional microbiota shifts, the species-level changes appear insufficient to alter metabolic or clinical outputs.

Keywords: Chronic kidney disease; Low protein diet; Meta-analysis; Metabolites; Microbiota; Protein; Systematic review.