Effect of diet on creatinine clearance and excretion in young and elderly healthy subjects and in patients with renal disease

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of the American Society of Nephrology






Creatinine clearance; Diet; Elderly; Protein intake; Urinary urea nitrogen


Thirty-seven young healthy subjects with normal renal function were studied to assess the quantitative effect of protein intake on creatinine clearance. A standard 24-h urine collection and blood sample at the end of the collection were obtained for creatinine and urea concentrations. Correlations between creatinine clearance and urinary urea nitrogen excretion (r = 0.8; P < 0.0001) and calculated protein intake (r= 0.8; P < 0.0001) were observed. A significant relationship between creatinine clearance and urea nitrogen excretion was also demonstrated in 28 elderly healthy subjects and 33 patients with renal disease. To demonstrate a cause and effect between urea nitrogen excretion and creatinine clearance in healthy subjects, 18 of the 37 healthy subjects repeated the 24-h urine collection and blood sample after ingesting 5 g of urea in addition to their usual diet. Mean urinary urea nitrogen excretion increased from a mean value of 9.8 ± 4.0 to 11.8 ± 4.0 g/day. There was a strong correlation between the changes in urea nitrogen excretion and the changes in creatinine clearance. In acute studies with oral protein loading, there was a significant correlation between creatinine clearance and urinary urea nitrogen excretion. It was concluded that protein intake has a direct and quantitative effect on creatinine clearance in healthy subjects. In normal humans, it is likely that GFR is not a fixed function. Thus, a low creatinine clearance is not a categorical sign of renal disease. A low creatinine clearance adjusted for urea nitrogen excretion may be a useful clinical tool to assess renal function.

This document is currently not available here.