Abstract Background Diet can markedly affect acid-base status and it significantly influences chronic kidney disease (CKD) and its progression. The relationship of dietary acid load (DAL) and CKD has not been assessed on a population level. We examined the association of estimated net acid excretion (NAEes) with CKD; and socio-demographic and clinical correlates of NAEes. Methods Among 12,293 U.S. adult participants aged >20 years in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999–2004, we assessed dietary acid by estimating NAEes from nutrient intake and body surface area; kidney damage by albuminuria; and kidney dysfunction by eGFR < 60 ml/min/1.73m2 using the MDRD equation. We tested the association of NAEes with participant characteristics using median regression; while for albuminuria, eGFR, and stages of CKD we used logistic regression. Results Median regression results (β per quintile) indicated that adults aged 40–60 years (β [95% CI] = 3.1 [0.3–5.8]), poverty (β [95% CI] = 7.1 [4.01–10.22]), black race (β [95% CI] = 13.8 [10.8–16.8]), and male sex (β [95% CI] = 3.0 [0.7- 5.2]) were significantly associated with an increasing level of NAEes. Higher levels of NAEes compared with lower levels were associated with greater odds of albuminuria (OR [95% CI] = 1.57 [1.20–2.05]). We observed a trend toward greater NAEes being associated with higher risk of low eGFR, which persisted after adjustment for confounders. Conclusion Higher NAEes is associated with albuminuria and low eGFR, and socio-demographic risk factors for CKD are associated with higher levels of NAEes. DAL may be an important target for future interventions in populations at high risk for CKD
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