PKD Diet

What is the PKD Diet?

The Polycystic Kidney Diet is simply a plant based diet with very limited animal proteins. Enjoy things that grow from the earth; discard the rest. PKD Diet is a neutral protein alkaline plant based diet. It is low in salt, neutral in protein, and allows for sufficient water to shut down vasopressin diminishing kidney cyst formation. It keeps a cystic body well hydrated important for decreasing symptoms and minimizing cyst growth.


Through maintaining alkalinity the integrity of ones own personal DNA is increased, (the replication of genes is kept intact), thus squelching the second hit mechanism that causes an increase in cyst numbers, symptoms and size. We have gathered this alkaline dietary information from amongst our mutual experiences enhancing the health of cystic kidneys, cystic liver, and cystic organs. Some have measured their girth eliminating a food for a week, then re-eating that same food again while making note of any symptoms, increase in girth, or pain that may occur. Girth is measured at the same spot, at the same time each day. These changes are then incorporated into a PKD Diet as a dietary information database. This is gleaned from each one of us, from our collective researchers, and from our own doctors as this information becomes available to us.

Should any find it difficult to eat only plant based foods, try limiting animal products to occasional broths, lamb, flat white fish, soft white cheese, cottage cheese, egg yolk, while keeping quantities to less than 3 ounces per day and no more frequently than twice a week. If one must eat animal proteins, some have tried incorporating the suggestions listed on better protein choices. There are some who have tried to eat ecologically inspired alternatives to animal proteins taking into account the methodology involved in marketing meat vs. vegetables. Some have looked at the carbon footprint differences of foods enabling a choice for their foods. A free living diet study exams some differences and some outcomes between diets.

Plant Based Alkaline PKD‐PLD Diet

Enjoy eating foods that grow from plants like fresh ripe fruits, green, yellow, orange, purple, brown or white vegetables, nuts, berries and grains. This whole foods plant based vegan alkaline diet is geared toward PKD kidney health and PLD liver health. Preparing all food yourself from locally grown in season produce goes a long way toward maintaining the health of cystic organs.


Neutral Protein 0.6 grams/kilogram

Neutral Protein in is equal to protein out. Calculate your daily protein. 3 ounces of fish is about the size of a deck of cards. 1 ounce of cheese is equal to one dice. Protein is set individually to maintain a neutral protein balance between 0.6 grams—0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. Protein quantities from certain foods has been compiled into a chart by a fellow PKD'r. Some protein foods from a plant based diet are: spelt [the highest amount of protein among grains], cabbage juice, carrot juice, corn, chia seed, and of course nuts, beans, legumes, grains, and seeds. Soak nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, and grains prior to cooking to diminish their phytic acid content. By preparing food in this fashion, foods become alkaline and more digestible.

Avoid Carrageenan
Carrageenan even in small quantities is to be avoided. Become an avid label reader.

Life-Span Extension Methionine Restriction.
This is a caloric restricted diet low in methionine thought to extend life expectancy. Foods that are high in methionine are animal proteins. Restriction of methionine foods is also thought to help decrease cancers.

1200 mg sodium

Sodium or salt intake is limited to 1/8 teaspoon per day or a 1200 mg sodium diet. Many have tried Himalayan pink crystal salt and have experienced no rise in their blood pressure when using small quantities (1200 mg) of this salt. Recently there has been some conflicting information about Himalayan salt; our experience is that it is beneficial. If you have had a transplant, these individuals must restrict all salt or they swell.

3 Liters water or twice your daily output

Drinking enough water, to raise serum osmolality just above that of urine shuts down vasopressin, similar to the still-in-clinical-trials experimental drug, tolvaptan. Tolvaptan Slows Kidney Disease Progress

Does Diet Help?

2014 Cohort Studies
Plant Food Diet Lessens Renal Cell Carcinoma Incidence
Plant based diet lessens depression, improves quality of life
Risk of death and end stage renal disease lessened by plant based diet
2013 study plant based diet protects against kidney toxicity

Urine Alkalization Facilitates Uric Acid Excretion 2010

In Japan they used two types of diets, one of meats (acidify urines); the other fruit and vegetable rich, converts the urine to alkaline. This was a 5 day consecutive study. They collected all day urines from participants and found that after three days urine pH reached a steady state. Researchers conclude that alkalization of urine by eating nutritionally well-designed alkaline foods are effective for removing uric acid from the body. Uric acid is elevated in PKD.

Support for Less Salt, More Potassium 2013

The idea that reducing salt intake -- and increasing potassium intake -- can lower blood pressure and improve disease outcomes has received additional support from three systematic reviews.

Diet vs Alkalizers in Chronic Kidney Disease 2013

One year of fruits and vegetables or NaHCO in individuals with stage 4 CKD yielded eGFR that was not different, was associated with higher-than-baseline PTCO, and was associated with lower-than-baseline urine indices of kidney injury. The data indicates that eating fruits and vegetables improves metabolic acidosis and reduces kidney injury in stage 4 CKD without producing hyperkalemia.

Saving Failing Kidneys

This is a very interesting Malaysian newspaper article. From this article one can learn that for most of the citizens of Malaysia there are very few treatment alternatives to save their their failing kidneys and according to this article, dietary changes is good place for one to start. Those who can make the switch to all vegetarian proteins seem to have a much easier time with maintaining their health.

Diet-induced metabolic acidosis

"The modern Western-type diet is deficient in fruits and vegetables and contains excessive animal products, generating the accumulation of non-metabolizable anions and a lifespan state of overlooked metabolic acidosis, whose magnitude increases progressively with aging due to the physiological decline in kidney function. In response to this state of diet-derived metabolic acidosis, the kidney implements compensating mechanisms aimed to restore the acid-base balance, such as the removal of the non-metabolizable anions, the conservation of citrate, and the enhancement of kidney ammoniagenesis and urinary excretion of ammonium ions. These adaptive processes lower the urine pH and induce an extensive change in urine composition, including hypocitraturia, hypercalciuria, and nitrogen and phosphate wasting. Low urine pH predisposes to uric acid stone formation. Hypocitraturia and hypercalciuria are risk factors for calcium stone disease. Even a very mild degree of metabolic acidosis induces skeletal muscle resistance to the insulin action and dietary acid load may be an important variable in predicting the metabolic abnormalities and the cardiovascular risk of the general population, the overweight and obese persons, and other patient populations including diabetes and chronic kidney failure. High dietary acid load is more likely to result in diabetes and systemic hypertension and may increase the cardiovascular risk. Results of recent observational studies confirm an association between insulin resistance and metabolic acidosis markers, including low serum bicarbonate, high serum anion gap, hypocitraturia, and low urine pH."

With PKD we are prone to: hypocitraturia, hypertension, elevated uric acid, stone formation, low urine pH, osteopenia, and chronic kidney failure.

Mediterrean Diet

The transition to avoiding all animal products can be difficult. Some have tried the Mediterrean diet. Another possible benefit can be a ↓ in ASHD or heart disease. The Mediterrean diet consists of eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. Limiting animal protein to less than 3 ounces once or twice a week, and using a splash of olive oil.


Omega 3's, omega 6's, and essential fatty acids are those which need to be consumed daily for health. One of the best amongst these are organic hempseed oil capsules from Manitoba and another is chia seed and a third is purslane, a vegetable often discarded as a weed. Fish oil and flax are to be avoided especially if one has liver cysts. Here is a study about fats in the USA.

For details as to why to avoid certain things try:

Over The Counter
Or download Alkaline Diet Foods App.

For Your Reference

These lists are gathered from individual experiences living in a body with cystic organs. This is based on empirical knowledge.
Useful Alkaline Diet Trials Avoid
Useful Chemicals Low High K+ Avoid Chemicals
Useful Grains Menus Avoid Grains
Useful Herbs Better Proteins Avoid Herbs
Useful Other Recipes Avoid Other
Meat Carbon Footprint Xenoestrogens Avoid What's On My Food? App
Meat Choose Well Calculate neutral protein Produce:Dirty Dozen App
Meat Methodology Safe cosmetics Produce:Harvest App
Sunscreen guide Phytoestrogens Avoid Sunscreen App
City water Phthalates Restaurant nutrition App
Moringa Saving Failing Kidneys Fish: Seafood Watch App
Fish: guide Fish: Mercury content Fish: Mercury App

PKD Diet Kidney iBookstore Alkaline Diet Foods App PLD Diet Liver iBookstore

We are  sharing our experiences with PKD/PLD Diet, an adjunct diet envisioning it complementing a physician's prescribed medical therapy. Consider testing this with your doctor's prior knowledge, who can  adjust it according to your own uniqueness by adding it to your current  treatment.

Medical Disclaimer