Pea Hull Fibre Shows Potential for Chronic Kidney Disease Patients - PulseResearch
April 25, 2017
An investigation into the role of pulse fibre in patients with chronic renal failure
Approximately one in 10 adults in North America has chronic kidney disease (CKD). Compounding the health issues, individuals with late stage CKD may have reduced intakes of dietary fibre from whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes due to diet restriction and poor appetite. All this may contribute to constipation and a reduced quality of life.
Pulses and/or pulse fractions may offer a solution. Recent research out of the University of Florida reveals that pea hull fibre supplementation in the diets of people with CKD, resulted in significant improvements in bowel function, with no adverse gastrointestinal symptoms.
Researchers carried out three studies, including two involving CKD patients, from 2009 to 2013 in North Central Florida. They tested the effect of fibre, including that from pea hull, on important clinical outcomes of CKD patients – one with commercially available foods, and one with foods they had prepared.
“CKD patients have many serious symptoms due to uremia - the buildup of urea and other protein waste products,” Dr. Wendy Dahl from the University of Florida says. “We found that pea hull fibre improved gastrointestinal function and physical aspects of quality of life.”
“Fibre improved kidney function in one study and symptoms such as itching,” she adds. “However, the most important finding is that the fibre decreased p-Cresol, a substance that is produced in our large intestine by gut bacteria. This substance is then absorbed into the blood and contributes to inflammation which is thought to contribute to kidney damage, cardiovascular disease, and possibly other diseases.”
The research suggests that foods with added pea hull fibre may have positive impacts on specific components of quality of life and clinical markers of kidney function in CKD patients. It further suggests that a high protein diet is detrimental to bifidobacteria (bacteria associated with good gut health), and pea hull fibre may exhibit a slightly protective effect.
“Pea hull may enhance our gut microbiota by increasing beneficial bacteria and suppressing detrimental organisms,” Dahl says. “Although pea hull fibre seems to be somewhat resistant to fermentation, it may impact gut microbiota in a positive way by its effect on gut function – speeding up transit.”
Pulses are one of the few foods that provide a high source of fibre in a reasonablesized serving.
“Given our low fibre intake compared to recommendations, adding pulses to the diet is the most effective and affordable way to fill this fibre gap,” Dahl says. “Adding fibres, such as pea hull fibre, to commonly consumed foods is another good way of meeting requirements.”
That said, research is still needed to demonstrate that added fibres, such as pea hull, provide the gut and metabolic effects that will translate into prevention of chronic disease.
The researchers will continue their research this fall. “Protein fermentation in the gut – a result of higher protein, low-fibre diets typical in North America – may be involved in risk of chronic disease including chronic kidney disease.
“We will first study the effects of pea hull fibre and pea protein in older adults and overweight children, and then do a more in-depth study in CKD patients on a number of health outcomes,” Dahl says. “We are hypothesizing that added fibre is needed in higher protein diets to protect health.”
SPG Investment: $171,040
Project Length: 25 years
Project Lead: Dr. Wendy Dahl - Associate Professor, Food Science & Human Nutrition, University of Florida