For people with kidney failure or on dialysis, cheese is almost forbidden for health reasons. They must indeed follow a strict diet, with many deprivations, limiting potassium and phosphate intake. But now their diet may be changing, at least in part, thanks to a hunch from a Milan polyclinic doctor and a dairy entrepreneur. Gianluigi Ardissino, specialist in pediatric nephrology, dialysis and transplantation, and entrepreneur Antonio Groppelli have in fact invented and patented FriP cheese, a new production method that makes these foods finally accessible even to patients suffering from kidney failure or on dialysis .
What is it about
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FriP technology makes it possible to produce cheeses whose phosphates are not absorbed by the intestine but are eliminated by the organ itself, and is even capable of avoiding the absorption of those contained in other foods: thus the patient can resume eating dairy products and have better control over their health without taking additional medication. The patent, filed by the Polyclinic itself, was granted free of charge to certain dairy companies to promote its distribution throughout the territory.
“Patients on dialysis or who suffer from kidney failure must follow a diet with many deprivations because their kidneys are no longer able to adequately eliminate excess waste. For example, they must be careful with certain vegetables in order not to not accumulate too much potassium, and they must avoid cheeses so as not to take too many phosphates, which if they accumulate in the blood lead to early atherosclerosis,” explained Ardissino.
The intuition behind the invention
To develop the new technology, the doctor was inspired by a technique used by specialists in the 1990s, when phosphate-reduced milk was not yet available for children with kidney problems. As a note from the Policlinico di Milano explains, the doctors added calcium carbonate to the milk, a natural dietary supplement capable of “capturing” phosphates, neutralizing them. The cheese produced with the FriP method works in the same way: it is enriched with calcium carbonate so as to block the phosphates in the food already during production and to eliminate those possibly contained in other foods, if taken a short distance from the cheese FriP.
“The FriP technology could have a significant impact on the quality of life of patients with kidney failure – commented Ezio Belleri, general manager of the Policlinico di Milano – a dialysis patient is on average 60-75 years old, and when he returns home in the evening, possibly exhausted. from heavy dialysis, he also has to follow a diet in which many things are forbidden. In the midst of so much deprivation, to be able to offer healthy food instead of a pill additional information gives the true meaning of our profession: that of doing research, finding new solutions to health problems and making them immediately available to people.” The next step, added Marco Giachetti, president of the hospital, “will be to use milk from hospital farms to start an autonomous production of FriP under the Ca ‘Granda brand, with an organic, short and guaranteed supply chain, further increasing our sou tien to nephropathic patients in the Milan and Lombardy region”.
Currently, some cheeses produced with the FriP technology are available on an experimental basis, thanks to the interest of patient associations. The doctor’s goal is to be able to make FriP products available on a larger scale, in order to improve the quality of life of patients with kidney disease.