Could a starch derived from raw potatoes slow the damaging effects of chronic kidney disease?
A Manitoba, Canada clinical trial will test that idea by asking people with the disease to mix a flavourless powdered supplement into a drink, such as a smoothie, each day.
Dr. Dylan MacKay, assistant professor of community health sciences at the University of Manitoba and clinical trialist at the George and Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation (a partnership between the U of M and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority), is leading the study.
His co-investigators are Dr. Rebecca Mollard, adjunct professor of food and human nutritional sciences, and Dr. Navdeep Tangri, associate professor of internal medicine, both affiliated with the Chronic Disease Innovation Centre at Seven Oaks General Hospital.
â€œPrebiotic supplements that improve the gut microbiome â€“ the bacteria in the gut â€“ have health- improving potential,â€ said MacKay, a nutritional biochemist.
â€œWe know that â€˜resistant starch,â€™ which is abundant in uncooked potatoes and unripe bananas, passes through the upper intestine without being digested and is a source of food for the gut microbiome when it reaches the lower intestine. Now we want to evaluate its potential in chronic kidney disease.â€
Participants in the clinical trial wonâ€™t know if theyâ€™ve received the resistant potato starch or a placebo: a digestible starch powder.
Chronic kidney disease affects about 10 per cent of Canadian adults.