PKD & The Case for Water

As humans, we’re more than 50% water, and without water, we die in a few days. As astronomers search the universe looking for habitable planets or planets that may harbor life, the key ingredient that they’re looking for is none other than good old H20 (water!).

Water has an important role to play in keeping us hydrated, but now, researchers are also investigating whether water has the ability to suppress cyst growth in people with PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease).

Specifically, Vasopressin is a hormone inside our bodies that stimulates cyst growth in PKD, and drinking water may suppress Vasopressin levels.

How much water would you need to drink? Because no long term trials have been completed as yet, the answer isn’t clear, but the general approach seems to be as much as possible. Vasopressin levels are lowest when our bodies are hydrated, so drinking water continuously throughout the day seems to be the way to go.

It’s important to note that this form of therapy may only be recommended for people who still have good (or better) kidney function. In all cases, check with your nephrologist if you are thinking of giving this a go. While a study hasn’t been completed confirming the pro’s of this approach, that likewise implies that the con’s are also not confirmed.

Luckily for us, research into water as a potential therapy for PKD is getting underway!

First, the University of Cambridge are currently executing “A randomized feasibility trial of high water intake in polycystic kidney disease” – called the DRINK trial.

  • This trial is a feasibility trial, which means it’s small (50 people planned) and quick (12 weeks) and
  • the outcome is primarily to determine whether those in the trial are capable of drinking enough water on a daily basis to stop Vasopressin production by the brain, and whether it’s safe to do so.
  • If successful, the outcomes of this feasibility trial will be used to plan a larger trial to determine whether high water intake can slow down the effects of ADPKD on a long-term basis

Next, The Rogosin Institute (pioneers in the treatment of kidney failure and kidney transplantation) are conducting a clinical trial in the United States scheduled to have commenced in June 2017, but continuing to recruit patients, according to clinicaltrials.gov.

  • This trial is also a small trial with 32 participants, but with a longer timeframe of 18 months
  • Unlike the DRINK trial, the primary outcome in this study with be a measure of the change in Total Kidney Volume
  • Secondary outcomes are currently noted as Kidney Function Change, and a change in urine and blood markers of response to high water intake
  • The estimated primary completion date for the collection of primary outcome measures is December 2018

So, while its frustrating to not know whether or not something as simple as water could be saving your kidneys right now, the good news is that it is being looked into! And before too long, hopefully, we’ll have some validation as to the efficacy of water in treating ADPKD!

What do you think about the potential of water to treat PKD? Leave your thoughts and comments below!

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