Gluten and kidney disease connected

Does Gluten Cause Kidney Disease?

Kidney disease is an overlooked aspect of many patients with gluten intolerance.  In this recent study, protein leakage dissipated on a gluten free diet saving this patient from a laundry list of medications and side effects.  The authors of the study point out that gluten induced kidney damage can precede the onset of classic symptoms associated with celiac disease.

Proteinuria resolved completely following the initiation of a gluten-free diet, without the use of immunosuppressive therapy and despite tapering of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor. This case illustrates that CS-associated MPGN may precede overt clinical evidence of coeliac disease and may respond to gluten-free diet, without resort to immunosuppressive therapy.


Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2009 Nov;24(11):3545-8.

Gluten Free Society's Stance

Gluten Can Cause Kidney Failure

I have personally seen a number of patients recover from different stages of kidney failure using a TRUE gluten free diet as part of their treatment plan.  Most recently, a gentlemen in stage III kidney failure.  In this case kidney function was restored in less than two months after going on a gluten free diet.

Nutritional Advice From Doctors and Hospitals

Very commonly, kidney failure is associated with heart disease and diabestes.  The standard heart healthy diet recommendations are geared to high levels of whole grain intake.  Subsequently, many of these patients are instructed to eat a diet high in whole grains and low in proteins.  This combination is deadly for those with gluten induced kidney damage.  If you are not sure whether gluten is playing a role in your disease, get genetically tested for gluten sensitivity.

If you have kidney disease, including renal stones, make sure your doctor checks your 25 OH D levels (vitamin D).  Additionally, make sure that he measures for other nutritional deficiencies as well.   Malabsorption is a common cause of secondary diseases for those with intolerance or sensitivity to gluten.

All the best,

Dr. Osborne – The Gluten Free Warrior



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Gluten Free Warrior Commentary


19 responses on “Gluten Damages the Kidneys

  1. Kristine says:

    This is very interesting. My son was born with chronic renal insufficiency and now at 13 years old he has stage III kidney disease. I wonder if this may help him with his disease process. I did have my daughter tested and she does have HLA-DQ 2,3 (Subtype 2,9) which I believe makes her gluten sensitive, although her stool study did not show above range. I have Hashimotos also and think this could predispose me to gluten issues and perhaps my son as well.

  2. I have autoimmune interstitial nephritis and was diagnosed with stage 3 kidney disease. My Mother is Coeliac and I was advised to go GF by a friend who was aware of the effect gluten could have on the body in someone who may be gentically pre-disposed to be….such as leaky gut syndrome etc. I had no symptoms of Coeliac disease but in view of my circumstances, I had no alternative but to try it – after all, the possibility of not having to have a transplant was very compelling. 2 years on and I have been discharged from hospital and my Creatinine levels just get better and better. Although my Consultant wasn’t interested in my GF theory for my improvement, my Doctor was very interested.

    • Eva Mosley says:

      Yes! My mother has Hashimotos, my younger brother has behavioral problems, and I am Gluten sensitive. We went gluten free about 2 years ago and we all have seen great outcomes. Especially my mother! I’m a big supporter and I believe your family should definitely try going gluten free for at least 3 months.

  3. Lorraine says:

    Very interesting. It’s terrible that most nutritional advice from doctors is to eat a diet high in whole grains. The very thing they need to avoid.

  4. Robin davis says:

    I have no Medical Insurance so I haven’t been tested but when I eat Gluten my body swells specially my legs and blisters feet sick to stomach what’s cheapest test I can take to see exact diagnosis

  5. I was diagnosed with stage 3 kidney disease. I started eating a gluten free diet. If you have suggestions for me feel free to contact me. Thank you very much.

    • Aidan Doherty says:

      Hi Carol thanks for the info. My son has kidney failure but about to establish extent via GFR. He has drastically reduced gluten last couple of weeks with positive effect. In your case, by going gluten free, did kidneys eventually clear ??
      Much appreciated,

      • Aidan,
        I can speak to the impact of gluten on kidney disease. I have seen this correlation in a number of patients who had no other option or means for recovery. In short, kidney function does return, if the kidney dysfunction is caused as a result of gluten induced autoimmunity or inflammation.
        All the best,
        Dr. Osborne

  6. Pete says:

    Very interesting to see lately (2016) gluten may well be the cause of some CKD. I have had IgANepropathy (bergers disease) since 1993 (UK) and NOT ONE consultant or GP has ever been interested in why we have this disease or tried to delay onset to failure. This clearly shows we are on our own and the establishment (health servce and big pharma) is really only there to justify their own existence. Without sick people they would not exist. I am about to embark on a gluten free diet and I have no doubt it will have a big impact. I am already vegan, which I am sure has managed to delay failure for so long. Dont wait for someone else to save you, start fighting back yourself.

    • Marcia says:

      Hi Peter,

      I have had Kidney transplant 16 years ago because of Glomerulonephritis(focal segmentar). All went well until I started having Angioedema wich I had been sreened for by many doctors without finding the causa. Intuitively I cut out gluten and dairy from my diet and the alergic reaction subsided. About the same time I started having proteinuria again, wich has been rising since then. A few monthns ago I reitroduced gluten and dairy without reaction but within a few months I started having periferic oedema. I am off gluten again for 3 weeks, hoping to have my kidney function restored.

      • Eva Mosley says:

        To fully recover if you are gluten sensitive you need to STAY on a gluten free diet. Gluten sensitivity is usually permanent

  7. Suzanne says:

    My grandson age three who eats gluten free has developed a blockage in his kidney and peed blood. He went to dr last week and they found blockage but the specialist can not see him for two weeks. He’s been suffering with stomach pains. His mom just had a baby January and people were bringing in food everyone should know the whole family eats gluten free but is it possible some gluten was in their food that was brought and can it cause a blockage. Their daughter who’s five and also gluten free had a bout of stomach pain last week but is fine now.

  8. Sharon says:

    Here’s my story. History elevated creatinine for decade plus – thought to be due to NSAIDs over years w joint, back, muscle spasms. Celiac diag went GF (didn’t know how sick I was) and within 6 months creatinine back to normal. Stays that way for 3 years until dairy proteins followed by soy intolerance. Sick for year multitude of issues worsening kidney function. Missed – just discovered the soy in some Vit Ds – I was taking and one type of magnesium capsule. Good thing I had some visible symptoms like upper abdomen swelling, severe hair loss and vascular skin netting else they’d have considered me a head case. Can’t wait to see if this brings my creatinine and eGRF back to normal range. I see well-known nephrologist and former specialist noted I did not present like classic kidney patient – BP low to normal, no protein issue, no diabetes. We shall see if this is the missing piece to the puzzle. My cousin with minimal disease spilling protein tested neg for celiac doc had her try GF diet and protein issue cleared up!

  9. Gail Schumacher says:

    I was told that I have kidney desease some years back. I stopped eating gluten and felt better. My creatinin level became better. Lately, I’ve been eating gluten once every week or so (I love turnovers). I am now having kidney pain, getting up more than once to use the restroom at night, and feeling terrible (I ate 4 turnovers in the past 3 days). Last night I ate two turnovers and my mouth developed a horrible taste right away, and I became physically shaky. I still have this bad taste in my mouth by this next morning— yuk! No more Gluten for me.

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Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Peter Osborne, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Osborne and his community. Dr. Osborne encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.

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