Alport syndrome is a heritable disease caused by mutations in genes that provide instructions for making a protein called type 4 collagen. Type 4 collagen provides structure for organs and tissues. Mutations in these genes result in a lack of type 4 collagen protein being made, which leads to kidney problems, hearing loss, and eye abnormalities.

Why diet is important

All Alport syndrome patients develop kidney problems. Type 4 collagen is involved in the formation of glomeruli, which are tiny blood vessels in the kidneys where blood filtration occurs. Abnormalities in the glomeruli result in the poor filtration of blood and the presence of protein and blood in the urine. Over time, these abnormalities lead to scarring and the development of progressively severe kidney disease.

Limited treatments are available to help protect an Alport syndrome patient’s kidneys. To lessen the strain on kidneys, a patient should also adopt a healthy diet.

Working with dietitians can help ensure that Alport syndrome patients obtain the necessary nutrition while minimizing strain on the kidneys.

Diet and dialysis

Many Alport syndrome patients eventually progress to kidney failure and require dialysis or a kidney transplant. In such cases, maintaining a healthy diet becomes even more important.

Patients undergoing peritoneal dialysis may gain unwanted weight because infusion fluid contains a carbohydrate called dextrose. Dietitians can help patients manage and reduce unwanted weight gain.

Patients with diabetes may see their blood sugar rise after dialysis, and a dietitian can help plan a diet that keeps blood sugar under control.

What is a healthy diet for Alport syndrome patients?

A healthy diet for Alport syndrome patients is low in sodium and salt. Patients should avoid salt substitutes made with potassium, and include in their meals other flavor-enhancing spices instead of salt. They also should eat more protein such as meat, fish, or poultry. Nuts and legumes may not be a good source of protein, as in many cases they also are high in potassium and phosphorous, which are difficult for the kidneys to filter.

Many dairy products also are high in phosphorous, so patients should limit their intake of milk, yogurt, and cheese, although some patients may be able to take a phosphate binder before a meal to reduce the absorption of phosphorous in the stomach.

Most fruits and vegetables contain potassium. Patients should choose fruits and vegetables that are low in potassium. A list of these can be found at the National Kidney Foundation’s website.

Recipes are available at the National Kidney Foundation, Davita, and AlportUK websites.

Other information

Maintaining a diet can be challenging. Patients should plan meals in advance and have healthy snacks available throughout the day.

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Alport Syndrome News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.