Our kidneys – we are born with a pair – play several critical roles in maintaining proper health. Not the least of these crucial functions are ridding our bodies of waste matter and toxins; they even perform a task in regulating blood pressure.
The kidneys are bean-shaped – you know, similar to the reputed, backyard kidney-shaped swimming pools – and present near the posterior side of your abdomen.
Ingested chemical pollutants, an injury, or disease-induced damage affecting the kidneys can damage their health and renal function. That’s why certain foods, vitamins, and supplements must be kept handy to maintain and, when required, restore kidney strength – but all with a doctor’s guidance .
Are you getting enough vitamins for your health? If you have renal failure or chronic kidney disease, here’s what you should know.
What are Vitamins?
Vitamins are substances your body needs to help carry out essential functions. They help repair tissue, function to support your body, receive energy from the foods you consume, and support life. Therefore, they are crucial for your body. But if you are on dialysis or have kidney disease, you may not be getting adequate.
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How can I know if I’m not receiving sufficient vitamins?
Almost all vitamins come from the foods you consume. Your body cannot prepare these substances. Individuals with healthy kidneys who eat various foods from all the food groups (grains, meats, vegetables, fruits, and dairy products) may get enough vitamins.
But if you are on dialysis or have chronic kidney disease, your diet may restrict some food groups. Therefore, you may not be absorbing all the vitamins you need every day, so you should take some supplemental form.
Your kidney dietitian and healthcare professional can help you find out which vitamins you may require by looking at your blood tests and health history .
Why do I require different amounts of vitamins?
Having chronic kidney disease changes your requirement for some nutrients. Some of the reasons are:
- The toxic products that build up in your body each day can change the way your body uses vitamins.
- Some of the medications you take can change the way your body uses specific vitamins.
- Some vitamins are lost out during dialysis care if you are on dialysis.
- Following an exclusive diet for chronic kidney disease can mean you miss specific vitamins from foods.
- On occasions when you may not feel well enough to eat regular meals, you may not get enough daily vitamins.
Which supplements will I need to take?
Depending on your health status and other considerations, your medical practitioner may prescribe some of the following supplements:
1. B Complex
B complex vitamins are clubbed together, but each has a different job to do.One of the critical functions of vitamin B12, B6, and folic acid is to function together with iron to avoid anemia. If you are anemic, it means you do not have adequate RBC (red blood cells).
Red blood cells send oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. Additional B vitamins, called riboflavin, thiamine, pantothenic acid, and niacin, can also be supplemented. These vitamins help to convert the foods you eat into energy your body can utilize .
If you are on medication to treat anemia, you may also need to have injectable iron or take an iron pill. You should only take iron if your physician prescribes it for you.
[Read: Best Foods for Boosting Iron]
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C can help keep various kinds of tissue healthy. It also helps bruises and wounds heal quickly and can help avoid infections. Your medical practitioner may need to give you a prescription for this vitamin.
[Read: Best Vitamin C Supplements]
4. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is vital to build healthy bones. There are multiple kinds of vitamin D. You can have injectable vitamin D or take a vitamin D pill during your dialysis treatment if you are on dialysis.
Your medical care professional will tell you the amount and the type you should be taking. You must only take vitamin D if your medical practitioner prescribes it for you.
Calcium, including vitamin D, helps to keep your bones strong. It is essential to take only the amount of calcium prescribed by your kidney dietitian or healthcare professional. Excess calcium can clump together with phosphorus and deposit in places such as your blood vessels, heart, lungs, and other body tissues.
If your blood phosphorus level is extremely high, you may need to take a medication used to bind the phosphorus from your diet. Some phosphorus binder medicines contain calcium. They can give you excess calcium if you require it .
Which vitamins do I need to skip if I have kidney disease?
You may need to skip some vitamins if you have kidney disorders. Some of these include vitamins E, A, and K. These vitamins are more likely to build up in your body and can harm you if you have an excess of them. Over time, they can cause nausea, dizziness, and even death.
You should only use these vitamins if your medical practitioner prescribes them. There is also some concern regarding vitamin C. Although some may need to take a low vitamin C dosage, excess doses may cause a buildup of oxalate in patients with kidney disorders.
Oxalate may stay in the soft tissue and bones, causing pain and other problems over time .
Is it safe to use vitamins for kidneys?
People on dialysis and people with chronic kidney disease should avoid herbal remedies and OTC (over the counter) nutritional supplements. There can be unnecessary interactions with prescribed medicines or other harmful effects.
Always speak to your pharmacist or healthcare professional before taking any herbal remedies, nutritional supplements, or over-the-counter medication .
If you have a kidney transplant, ask your kidney dietitian and transplant surgeon if any herbal or vitamin supplements are safe.
[Also Read: Natural Remedies to get rid of Kidney Stones]