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When Fishy is Good

According to researchers in Sweden, eating fish protein reduces the risk of developing microalbuminuria, a condition marked by protein in the urine that is associated with kidney disease.

Anna V. Mollsten, BA, of Umea University in Umea, Gisela G. Dahlquist, MD, PhD, of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, and colleagues studied the eating habits of people with diabetes and published the results in the May issue of Diabetes Care.

Researchers identified 75 among 1,150 patients who had had diabetes for more than five years and had higher-than-normal albumin excretion rates—the level of protein in the urine—of at least 15 g/min. They selected a control group of 225 subjects who had diabetes for the same length of time, but had normal protein levels in their urine. All 300 patients completed food questionnaires for 12 months. There was little difference in their overall protein, meat or vegetable consumption.

Researchers found that those who ate more fish protein (an average of 9.35 grams, or about one ounce of fish, per day)—12 in the test group and 63 in the control group—were less likely to have microalbuminuria, compared to those who ate less fish protein (an average of 2.72 grams, or about one fourth of an ounce of fish, per day).

As an explanation, Dahlquist’s group suggests that fish protein may lessen the level of work by the kidneys, which effectively reduces the chance of developing diabetic nephropathy, according to Reuters Medical News.

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