Researchers from the University of South Australia have found an enzyme that might help reduce chronic kidney disease cases. Chronic kidney disease affects around 700 million people globally.

The enzyme NEDD4-2 is important for kidney health. The research found a correlation between a high salt diet, low levels of NEDD4-2, and advanced kidney disease, scientists shared in Cell Death & Disease.

“We now know that both a high sodium diet and low NEDD4-2 levels promote renal disease progression, even in the absence of high blood pressure, which normally goes hand in hand with increased sodium,” shared UniSA Centre for Cancer Biology scientist Dr. Jantina Manning.

The research helped identify the connection between the enzyme and salt. Researchers now realize that NEDD4-2 played a role in salt-induced kidney function.

“In a lot of cases, kidney disease is exacerbated by hypertension, so we wanted to investigate that link in our study. In fact, we found the complete opposite — that a high salt diet caused excessive water loss and low blood pressure. This is significant because it means that kidney disease can also happen in people who don’t have high blood pressure,” Dr. Manning says.

“Obesity and lifestyle are two main factors driving chronic kidney disease but there are other things at play as well,” says Dr. Manning. “Acute kidney injuries, drugs taken for other conditions, high blood pressure and a genetic predisposition can also cause it.”

Check out these other resources on eating for kidney health:

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