The Mediterranean Diet Protects Renal Function in Older Adults: A Prospective Cohort Study

Nutrients. 2022 Jan 19;14(3):432. doi: 10.3390/nu14030432.


Background: Chronic kidney disease entails a high disease burden that is progressively increasing due to population aging. However, evidence on the effect of the Mediterranean diet on renal function is limited, in particular among older adults in Mediterranean countries.

Methods: Prospective cohort study with 975 community-dwelling adults aged ≥ 60 recruited during 2008-2010 in Spain and followed up to 2015. At baseline, food consumption was obtained using a validated dietary history. Two Mediterranean dietary patterns were used: (i) An a priori-defined pattern, the Mediterranean Diet Adherence Screener (MEDAS score: low adherence: 0-5 points; moderate: 6-8 points; high: 9-14 points); (ii) An a posteriori Mediterranean-like dietary pattern, based on 36 food groups, which was generated using factor analysis. Renal function decline was calculated as an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) decrease ≥1 mL/min/1.73 m2 per year of follow-up.

Results: A total of 104 cases of renal function decline occurred. Compared with participants with a low MEDAS adherence, the multivariable-adjusted odds ratios (95% confident interval) for renal function decline risk were 0.63 (0.38-1.03) for moderate adherence, and 0.52 (0.29-0.95) for high adherence (p-trend: 0.015). Multivariable-adjusted odds ratios (95% confidence interval) for renal function decline risk according to increasing quartiles of the adherence to the a posteriori Mediterranean-like dietary pattern were 1.00, 0.67 (0.38-1.20), 0.65 (0.35-1.19), and 0.47 (0.23-0.96) (p-trend: 0.042).

Conclusion: A higher adherence to a Mediterranean diet was associated with a lower risk of renal function decline in older adults, suggesting benefits to health of this dietary pattern in Mediterranean countries.

Keywords: Mediterranean diet; a posteriori patterns; older adults; renal function decline.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Humans
  • Kidney / physiology
  • Prospective Studies