Chia seeds are one of the great addition to keto nuts and seeds. However, excess eating of chia seeds has side effects on the kidneys.
The high nutrition value of chia seeds during large consumption may harm the kidneys.
Chia seeds side effects kidney
Chia seeds contain plenty of protein, fat, total carbs. It is also a great source of minerals like calcium, iron, phosphorus, and potassium.
A controlled intake of these nutrients is beneficial for maintaining a healthy kidney function. But surplus consumption of macronutrients may create side effects on kidneys.
Increased risk of albuminuria and eGFR decline
Chia seeds may increase the risk of albuminuria and eGFR decline due to high saturated fat.
Studies have shown that high dietary saturated fat can decline eGFR and have a greater risk of albuminuria (1).
Albuminuria means an abnormal amount of albumin in your urine. Albumin is a protein that carries hormones, enzymes, and medicines through the body.
The test of urine albumin is used to diagnose kidney disease. Excessive albumin is released with our urine during kidney problems.
This is considered a sign of kidney disease.
On the other side eGFR or Estimated glomerular filtration rate is used to measure kidney functions.
A decline in eGFR means you are prone to kidney disease.
According to the American Heart Association, our daily saturated fat intake should be 5-6 % of total calorie intake (2).
That means a 2000 calorie diet should contain no more than 13 grams of saturated fat.
Chia seeds are high in saturated fat and calories. Serving the size of 100 g of chia seeds can provide 486 calories and 3.33 grams of saturated fat (3).
Due to this, an excess intake of chia seeds can easily break the limit. That’s why uncontrolled chia seeds intake may cause kidney problems.
Chia seeds may cause chronic kidney disease
Chia seeds are high in total carbs. As chia seeds do not contain sugar it is high in net carbs also.
The carb-rich chia seeds may have side effects on the kidney.
A study done for 10 years over non-diabetic mice has shown that higher dietary carbs can significantly increase the chances of chronic kidney disease (4).
Calcium-rich chia seeds kidney side-effects
Chia seeds are a good source of calcium. Surplus intake of calcium is related to multiple kidney problems.
Excess calcium can accelerate the calcification of vascular and soft tissue (5).
An increased rate of vascular calcification can decline the GFR(glomerular filtration rate) in chronic kidney disease patients.
According to studies, vascular calcification can increase the morbidity and mortality of chronic kidney disease patients (6).
Furthermore, chia seeds cause kidney stones also. A high intake of calcium-rich foods like chia seeds may cause Hypercalcemia.
Above-normal blood calcium levels are called hypercalcemia. Studies have shown that hypercalcemia can cause kidney stones (7).
Because of this excessive eating of calcium-rich chia seeds may promote kidney stones.
Other side effects of chia seeds over kidney
Chia seeds may cause other kidney side effects also. Dietary protein-rich chia seeds may promote kidney diseases like
- Kidney hyperfiltration
- Glomerular injury
According to studies renal hyperfiltration, glomerular injury, and proteinuria can be caused by a high dietary protein intake (8).
Doctors always recommend a low protein diet to manage chronic kidney diseases.
That’s why limiting the intake of a protein powerhouse like chia seeds can reduce the risk of chronic kidney diseases.
Moreover, high protein intake may increase intraglomerular pressure and glomerular hyperfiltration.
The increased rate of intraglomerular pressure and glomerular hyperfiltration damages the glomerular structure.
A damaged glomerular structure may lead to chronic kidney disease (CKD) (9).
Also, chia seeds are a great source of iron, phosphorus, and potassium. A high intake of these minerals can cause kidney side effects.
Iron chelators can cause kidney side effects like kidney failure (10). Furthermore, an iron overload or excessive iron can be toxic and may lead to multiple kidney diseases.
Furthermore, chia seeds are a high source of phosphorus. Phosphorus-rich foods may increase serum phosphorus.
Studies have shown that high serum phosphorus is related to a high mortality rate in patients with chronic kidney disease (11).
Also, too much calcium can calcify the kidneys and increase the troubles for normal kidney function.
On the other side, a lot of dietary potassium is present in chia seeds. Dietary potassium has a negative effect on mildly impaired kidney function patients (12).
This is considered as another chia seeds side effect for kidneys.
Chia seeds are a highly nutritious, delicious, and convenient addition to any diet. However, the high nutrient profile of chia seeds causes adverse kidney side effects.
Protein, fat, calcium, carbs, phosphorus, and potassium elements of chia seeds have multiple side effects on kidneys.
An excess intake of chia seeds can break the daily saturated fat profile. Which leads to albuminuria and eGFR decline.
Also, the high protein and carbs of chia seeds can cause chronic kidney disease. Furthermore, calcium, iron, phosphorus, and potassium have negative effects on the kidney.
You may get multiple kidney disorders like kidney stones, calcification of kidneys, kidney failure, and even mortality from excess intake of these nutrients.
However, a limited intake of chia seeds will save you from any of these kidney side effects.