Whether dietary protein intake worsens renal function in the general population has been discussed but not yet determined. We aimed to examine the longitudinal association between dietary protein intake and risk of incident chronic kidney disease (CKD).
We conducted a 12-year follow-up study with 3,277 Japanese adults (1,150 men and 2,127 women) aged 40-74 years, initially free from CKD, who participated in cardiovascular risk surveys from two Japanese communities under the Circulatory Risk in Communities Study. The development of CKD was defined by the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) during the follow-up period. Protein intake was measured at baseline by using the brief-type self-administered diet history questionnaire. We estimated sex-, age-, community- and multivariate-adjusted hazard ratios (HR) for incident CKD were calculated using the Cox proportional hazards regression models according to quartiles of percentage of energy (%energy) from protein intake.
During 26,422 person-years of follow-up, 300 participants developed CKD (137 men and 163 women). The sex-, age-, and community-adjusted HR (95% confidence interval, CI) for the highest (≥16.9%energy) versus lowest (≤13.4%energy) quartiles of total protein intake was 0.66 (0.48-0.90), p for trend = 0.007. The multivariable HR (95%CI) was 0.72 (0.52-0.99), p for trend = 0.016 after further adjustment for body mass index, smoking status, alcohol drinking status, diastolic blood pressure, antihypertensive medication use, diabetes mellitus, serum total cholesterol levels, cholesterol-lowering medication use, total energy intake, and baseline eGFR. The association did not vary by sex, age, and baseline eGFR. When examining animal and vegetable protein intake separately, the respective multivariable HRs (95%CIs) were 0.77 (0.56-1.08), p for trend = 0.036, and 1.24 (0.89-1.75), p for trend = 0.270.
Higher protein intake, more specifically animal protein intake was associated with a lower risk of CKD.