Can VLPD help improve GFR for person with T... - Kidney Disease

Kidney Disease

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Can VLPD help improve GFR for person with Type 2 Diabetes?

bravo10 profile image

I've just finished Lee Hull's book. I've been reading a lot of posts about the VLPD (very low protein diet) helping improve GFR numbers, but they don't mention if they have diabetes or not. My nephrologist and dietician insisted that with diabetes, my GFR cannot improve, only the decline can be slowed. I want to prove them wrong. Do any of you know of people with diabetes and nephritis (glomerulonephritis) that improve significantly with the very low protein diet and exercise?

24 Replies

Hi, I'm diabetic and have CKD. Add to that the fact that I take meds for hypertension. I've had CKD for over four years but only known about it for the last three.

There is no cure for CKD! However, if you are diligent you can slow down the progression.

Immediately after I found out, I met with a nephrologist and then a renal dietitian.

Based on my previous year's labs, when I met the RD we developed a kidney-friendly meal plan. It's heavy on appropriate fruits and vegetables. I'm also allowed eight ounces of protein daily, which I get from poultry and seafood.

When I was diagnosed at the end of June 2017, my GFR was 32. Since then my GFR has climbed as high as 65. I had labs run again two days ago and my current GFR is 58. Again, since the diagnosis, my average has been 53.

My diabetes has been under control during this entire time. My last three A1c's have been 5.3, 5.2, and 5.2.

My high blood pressure is also under control with three medications. This morning my BP was 118/70.

You can't learn to control everything from a book, any book.

Meet with your nephrologist and renal dietitian and follow their guidance, not someone who is selling books. There is no One Size Fits All method.

If you haven't watched a virtual Kidney Smart class please go to and sign up for one.

Best of luck.

bravo10 profile image
bravo10 in reply to

Thanks for your helpful reply! I appreciate it.

KidneyCoach profile image
KidneyCoachNKF Ambassador in reply to bravo10

check out

Hello - I read your post and was reminded of this paper, where oral activated charcoal was to control the impact of renal disease in conjunction with a low protein diet.

Combination of oral activated charcoal plus low protein diet as a new alternative for handling in the old end-stage renal disease patients

Activated charcoal is pretty harmless, but the amount used in the paper is significant (30 gram/day) so please be aware charcoal adsorbs medication and makes it less effective. That's why please discuss this with a doctor. He you recommend spacing between taking medication and taking charcoal.

Kind regards


bravo10 profile image
bravo10 in reply to GBear


I have the trio plus IBS. I keep my GFR, diabetes and the IBS stable through diet and lifestyle change. My BP is high and not controlled as it might be. I'm in the group who are unable to control BP. So I live with it and touch wood, so far, no amount of testing has ever found a problem caused by it.

I have developed my own CKD based diet and lifestyle that has raised my GFR slightly while stabilising it. Most if not all of my CKD is down to 55 years of coke cola addiction, inherited kidney problems and an almost terminal bout of campylobacta. Zero kidney function for over 18 hours. I generally sit on the fence between stage 3A and 3B CKD.

IBS is the one I struggle to control as stress plays a major part in IBS.

Two things I have noticed through my squeaky clean diet is generally I feel better for it and I have just had a lowest natural cholesterol reading ever down from 9.5 to 7.8, all without medical help. With full on medication I only ever achieved 6.9 and got very sick with it.

The change of diet and lifestyle are generally helping my health in ways I had not expected. Not that my previous lifestyle and diet was bad, I didn't eat poorly or over do the exercise. I just didn't live to save what kidney function I had until I was made aware of my CKD when my kidneys shut down. A reality check in time to take action.

bravo10 profile image
bravo10 in reply to

Wow that must be so complicated to have the trio plus IBS. It’s nasty what Coke does. My kids tried to persuade me to stop but I didn’t til I realized recently how harmful it is for kidneys. My nephrologist says the key to getting back some of my GFR is managing my diabetes, so I really have to tackle that. Going to the bookstore tomorrow and meeting dietician. Is there one you recommend, that explains what I need to be doing to really manage it?

in reply to bravo10

The usual patter is don't use sugar use substitutes, hang on I'm CKD they kill kidneys, which cuts out salt by the way. Aw well use herbs and spices, ahh no they cause IBS problem., Gee I don't know then, I'll get back to you. I'm still waiting 6 years on.

At the end of the day I have had to go it alone, finding what works for me or what doesn't, a lot of ups and downs with a few backward steps in between, but essentially I now have a diet that while being somewhat disgusting, to say the least, is keeping me on track and very slowly has improved my health in general. Most of my results have improved and my GFR has lifted even with diabetes. I found most GP's have less information than I do and are stuck with what was indoctrinated into them when training.

I'm supposed to be dead by their account but I don't think I am! I did die as a child so I do know the signs. Anyway, I'm really blessed as only the good die young and I'm still here!

There is a theory that because our food is so refined and mucked about with this is effecting the way our bodies act. True or not, I have noticed an improvement and I am more aware of the real tastes of foods now. It may be mind over matter, but not before stomach!

The biggest favour you can do yourself is to not worry, anxiety and stress can compound the health problems. Yes, easier said than done and I'm a good example of that. But we must try for our own sake.

Hello! I have IgA and my eGFR was as low as 11.2%. For the last year, eating a whole food plant-based low protein food plan, I would not even know anything was going on if I did not see my labs every week. I feel great and cannot say enough about the power of food to heal. Wishing you all the best!

vinadhun2 profile image
vinadhun2 in reply to jmkb

how much is your gfr now? If I may ask, how old are you? and do you have any other condition?

bravo10 profile image
bravo10 in reply to vinadhun2

I’m 58. GFR: 46, was 52 in December. HBP 25 yrs, Nephritis for 18, type 2 diabetes for 6.

vinadhun2 profile image
vinadhun2 in reply to bravo10

great.keep it up.

I am 72 without any health issues and all kidney parameters are well within range like all electrolytes, no protein in urine, BUN is in range, no B.P. issue, no diabetes etc. Only culprit is creatinine which is average of 1.80 since Dec19.

I am taking plant based food and since last two months restricting 3Ps and Sodium.

jmkb profile image
jmkb in reply to vinadhun2

Hi! I am 48 and my eGFR ist currently around 12%. I do not have any other issues.

Hi, I have been diagnosed with igA neuropathy, in Nov 2018. My eGFR dropped to 18 in short 8 weeks. I was told a lot of nonsense about diet by many, many "experts". I was told by doctors, there is no cure, get ready for dialysis. I was shocked. I desperately looked for help, but got nothing. Instead all was so controversial and it didn't make much sense to me. My extensive research pointed my to one main cause... inflammation and compromised immune system. The key to regaining proper functions of our body is to reduce inflation and strengthen immune system. Provide you body with the best nutrition, supplements, clean water, regular exercise, eliminate toxic food, reduce stress... and you will see results. My recent test 2 weeks ago show eGRR 48 with all other parameters normal. I know it's a long journey, but I am determined to win this challenge. Stay positive, don't give up, educate yourself, trust your instincts, listen to your body and keep away from doctors or "experts". Best regards, Andre

bravo10 profile image
bravo10 in reply to Andreli

Thanks for your encouragement!

One other resource to consider: James is a "kidney coach." Conducts weekly sessions using YouTube. Currently he has a co-host, Jen Hernandez, a RD and certified renal dietitian. James claims he was first diagnosed with an eGFR of 8, and was told "You must go on dialysis." With diet (plant-based), exercise and other lifestyle changes, James is now just over the line at stage 3 CKD (I believe he has a consistent eGFR of 31). I have also taken the DaVita "Kidney Smart" sessions several times. Excellent.

bravo10 profile image
bravo10 in reply to Dixidude39

Thank you so much!

Hi. As some may have seen me state in other posts, the monster in the closet is your diabetes. Diabetes moves throughout your body taking out organs as it goes. Diabetes will take out your kidneys, your heart, your vascular system, your limbs, your eyesight, etc. "Almost all" the patients on dialysis in my husband's center, are diabetics according to the center's coordinator. If you're primarily interested in saving your kidneys, feel free to follow the kidney diet. If you're interested in saving all of you, then control/lower the diabetes immediately. Remove sugars and particularly carbs - as carbs convert to sugar and are found in sweet fruits, starchy items, processed foods, etc. In my opinion, it's best to blend a diabetes/kidney diet for overall wellness as the kidney diet can be at odds with the diabetes diet. We've noticed some kidney nutritionists don't know how to do that. So, you may have to ask for a referral who can do both. After being rather casual about his diabetes for years, my husband finally saw the light and tried to mend his ways by eating properly and dropping weight, but recently went on dialysis at age 70. His mother, on the other hand, took immediate steps to vanquish her diabetes and lived well into her 80s, never losing kidney function. The most common cause for renal disease is Diabetes Type II; it moves silently and stealthily. With your timely interest in improving your health, you likely will get a positive outcome.

bravo10 profile image
bravo10 in reply to Darlenia

Tomorrow I'm starting with a dietician with experience in both CKD and diabetes, with 20 yrs experience so I am hopeful. I am very much a book person, as I like to underline and make notes. I just read Lee Hull's book on Stopping Kidney Disease, but I realize he doesn't address the diabetes issue. He summarizes research that points to an alkaline (vegan) diet and keto acid supplements.

Is there a good book you recommend, on how to care for your health with type 2?

Sadly, I can't refer you to a specific book as none seem to specifically address both diabetes type II and kidney disease folks. (It would likely sell well if one was made available.) Instead, my husband and I became huge label readers for both carbs (diabetes) and potassium (kidney disease). As a rule, my husband limits himself to 70 net carbs (carbs minus fiber) a day maximum. And then we limit high potassium foods and drinks. This was done on the advice of our primary doctor who monitors my husband's complete physical wellness. A vegan diet satisfies both rather well, but it was too hard on our digestion as food moves fast through you (lots of bathroom visits). So we now use a modified vegan or keto diet with substitutions as needed, keeping a steely eye on carbs, potassium, salt, etc. There are some very good nutritionists out there, though, who are very good at this and will even examine your blood to find the most effective way to serve your particular needs and chemistry. Glad you're getting ahead of can pretty much stop the decline with the right approach. My husband has almost completely rid himself of diabetes; but he started too late to save his kidneys. Since you're asking all the right questions at a earlier point, I sense you'll do much better than than him and most others.

May I ask how old was your husband when he started to make changes and what stage CKD?

My 70 year old husband was given a below 50 gfr about 4 years ago, around age 66. His brutally frank nephrologist told him he had a life expectancy of 7 years (very optimistic). Shaken, my husband went to our primary care physician who immediately swung into action and took over complete management of his diet and diabetes (as his diabetes doctor retired then too). He told my husband to limit his carbs immediately to 70 net carbs and to keep an eye on salt/potassium. We got stunning results. Extremely positive. Weight dropped, insulin requirements steadily dropped, gfr bounced back somewhat. Both doctors were ecstatic - apparently doctors see more bad than good outcomes in patients. Then, boom...the world started to fall out from under us in January of this year. Blood pressure rose and kidney function diminished no matter what we did, and dialysis was implemented in June. His kidneys just plain gave up. Neither doctor knows specifically why-nephrolgist said kidneys will do that after sufficient abuse. Bear in mind that my husband was on insulin since his 50s or so...he was somewhat overweight, very cavalier about diet, trusting the insulin to keep everything on track...not realizing or caring that even with management, diabetes continues to impact the body. I saw/heard how it ravaged the bodies of his ancestors in various ways - kidneys, heart, eyes, etc. I also saw how those in his family that took action to the point they lived insulin free, lived great, long lives. Anyway, it's all water under the bridge now. A silver lining to this is that his team, including his cardiologist, are so appreciative and supportive of his changed behavior, that they are pushing and supporting him for a kidney transplant. As a person who stood at his side and watched him ignore the obvious and treat everything so casually, it's been very hard. He's now a changed man. Treat yourself and others well, and live the best life you can. It's achievable when done on time and with purpose. (For more info, search Diabetic Kidney Disease. Great diet tips are also provided here.)

Love101cats profile image
Love101cats in reply to Darlenia

I'm so relieved to have read these posts today especially yours. I'm almost 79, have had heart failure for 2 years and just diagnosed with diabetes and kidney failure stage 4. All three conditions require a diet but not all the same. I've had a difficult couple of weeks buying books and reading up and I changed the contents of my tesco order 3 times in 1 week! I cancelled an appointment with the diabetes dietitian because the renal one was the most worrying. Then the hospital renal dietitian phoned and all fell into place. All my results for kidneys are ok other than GFR which I think means my kidneys work but not very well probably due to heart medication. His advise is focus on the diabetes diet it will be the most beneficial. I never realized how destructive diabetes could be. My husband was on insulin and in the last 3 months of his life his sugar levels went AWOL. Nothing would get them down even when he ate nothing. But I was most worried about his heart/ kidneys. It was only 6 months ago so I've not been able to analyse things yet but am beginning to see that I do need to focus on the diabetes and get it under control though it is still just borderline. Everyone I see asks me if I sugar test at home another reason for me to accept that I have to take this seriously. I am overweight too! So all this info on the thread today has just straightened things out for me. Thank you.

Appreciate your kind words. We tend to super-specialize in the US, so the crosscurrents and undercurrents aren't noticed or dismissed. (That's not my field! My area is only the kidneys, or my area is only the heart, etc.) But diabetes is a killer of organs and of people. For those on this thread, there is the classification, "Diabetic Kidney Disease (DKD). We tend to obscure it, dismiss it, hide it under general terminology such as Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), etc. But I want to shout it from the rooftops. For many, it's the diabetes! Diabetes seems to be "so normal" because every other person seems to have it. But organs don't just fail, there is something pushing them into failure. Please stop the monster before it stops you. I'm so glad you're on the right track. I'm here to cheer you on...always.

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