Vitamins for Kidneys: Kidney Health, What to Avoid, and Product Recommendations

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Are you getting enough vitamins and minerals for your health? If you have kidney disease or kidney failure, here’s what you need to know. 

The Kidneys

The kidneys are two fist-sized and bean-shaped organs, located just below the rib cage, one on each side of your spine. They are responsible for filtering and removing extra fluid and waste products from your body. Your kidneys also make hormones that help make red blood cells, keep your bones strong and healthy, and control your blood pressure. 

Your kidneys also remove acid that is produced by the cells of your body and maintain a healthy balance of salts, water, and minerals – such as calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and sodium – in your blood. Without this balance, muscles, nerves, and other tissues in your body may not work properly. 

How Do I Know If I’m Not Getting Enough Vitamins and Minerals?

Almost all vitamins and minerals come from the foods that you eat. People with healthy kidneys who eat a wide variety of foods from all the food groups – fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meats, and grains – can get enough vitamins and minerals. However, if you have kidney disease or are on dialysis, your diet may limit some food groups. Therefore, you may not be getting all of the vitamins and minerals you need each day, so you have to take them in the form of supplements. 

Your doctor and kidney dietitian can help you find which vitamins and minerals you may need by looking at your health history, blood tests, and overall health status. 

The Importance of Getting the Right Amount of Vitamins and Minerals

Having kidney disease changes your need for some nutrients. Some of the reasons include:

  • Some of the medications you take can change the way your body uses certain vitamins and minerals.
  • The waste products that build up in your body can change the way your body utilizes vitamins and minerals. 
  • Following a special diet for kidney disease can mean you miss certain vitamins and minerals from foods. 
  • Some vitamins are lost during dialysis treatment (if you are on dialysis). 

If you have kidney disease, you may not be getting all of the vitamins and minerals you need from food each day. This is why in some cases, you may have to take them in the form of supplements.

Vitamins for Kidneys

The human body needs at least 13 vitamins to function properly. Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet is the best way to get the recommended amount of these vitamins. However, people with kidney disease often cannot get enough of some vitamins. 

People with kidney disease often cannot get enough vitamins due to poor appetite, necessary dietary restrictions, medication side effects, or vitamin losses during the dialysis treatment. Also, some vitamins may be limited – or even avoided – because levels build up in the body as the kidneys stop working. 

Vitamins for Kidney Disease. Below, we list down vitamins that your body needs and the dietary recommendations for patients with chronic kidney disease. 

Vitamin Role CKD Recommendations
Vitamin A Promotes the growth of body cells and tissues; helps protect against infection, essential for night vision Levels are usually elevated; supplementation not recommended, may cause toxic levels; if needed to treat deficiency, limit to the Daily Reference Intake (DRI) 700-900 ug/day
Vitamin D Helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus; deposits these minerals in bones and teeth; regulates parathyroid hormone (PTH) In CKD the kidney loses the ability to make vitamin D active. Supplementation with special active vitamin D is determined by calcium, phosphorus and PTH levels and available only by physician prescription; dose must be individualized and monitored closely
Vitamin E Antioxidant; helps protect body cells from oxidation and free radicals to protect against illnesses like heart disease and some types of cancer Supplement generally not needed; RDI is 8 to 10 milligrams per day.

Very high doses (800 mg) may increase blood clotting time, especially for people on blood thinners.
Vitamin K Helps make blood clotting proteins, important for healthy bone formation Supplements generally not needed unless long term poor intake combined with antibiotic therapy.

Supplements can cause increased blood clotting and interfere with blood thinners
Vitamin B1 (thiamin) Helps the body’s cells produce energy from carbohydrates, helps nervous system work properly 1.5 mg/day supplement recommended in addition to daily dietary intake
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) Helps cells produce energy, supports normal vision and healthy skin 1.8 mg/day supplement for CKD on a low protein diet;

1.1-1.3 mg/day supplement for those on dialysis, especially with poor appetite
Niacin Helps the body use sugars and fatty acids; helps body cells produce energy; helps enzymes function in body; can be made from the amino acid tryptophan 14 to 20 mg/day supplement recommended for CKD patients (dialysis and non-dialysis). Excess doses may cause flushing
Vitamin B6 Helps the body make protein, which is then used to make cells; also helps make red blood cells; changes tryptophan (an amino acid) into niacin 5 mg/day supplement for CKD non-dialysis 10 mg/day supplement for dialysis.

50 mg/day when prescribed with folic acid and vitamin B12 to reduce homocysteine levels.

Large doses (200 mg/day) over long period can cause nerve damage.
Folate Helps make DNA for new body cells; works with vitamin B12 to make red blood cells 1.0 mg/day supplement recommended for CKD (dialysis and non-dialysis).

Include vitamin B12 or check blood levels; folate supplements can mask a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Vitamin B12 Helps make new body cells; maintains nerve cells; works with folate to make red blood cells 2-3 ug/day supplement recommended for CKD (dialysis and non-dialysis); deficiency can cause permanent nerve damage;

Always include B12 supplement with folate.
Vitamin C Helps the body absorb iron; helps manufacture collagen, form and repair red blood cells, bones and other tissues; keeps capillary walls and blood vessels firm; protects against bruising; maintains healthy gums and heals cuts and wounds; keeps immune system healthy 60-100 mg/day supplement recommended for CKD patients (dialysis and non-dialysis).

Excess intake may cause oxalate deposits in bone and soft tissues
Biotin Helps body cells produce energy; helps metabolize protein, fat and carbohydrates in food 30-100 ug/day supplement recommended for CKD patients (dialysis and non-dialysis); dietary intake may be inadequate on a low protein diet
Pantothenic Acid Helps body cells produce energy; helps metabolize protein, fat and carbohydrates 5 mg/day supplement recommended for CKD patients (dialysis and non-dialysis)

(source: http://www.kidneydoctornj.com/Kidney-Disease-Education/Nutrition/The-ABCs-of-vitamins-for-kidney-patients

Vitamins to Avoid If You Have Kidney Disease

Fat-soluble vitamins – Vitamins A, D, E, and K – are more likely to build up in your body, so these are usually avoided unless prescribed by your doctor. Vitamin A is a particular concern, as toxic levels may occur with daily supplements. 

Vitamin C supplements are typically recommended in a 60 – 100 mg dose. However, there is a concern that if you have kidney disease, taking high doses of Vitamin C may cause a buildup of oxalate, which can be deposited in the soft tissues and bones.

Always consult your doctor before taking any vitamins for kidney and liver.

Vitamins for Kidney Stones

Chronic kidney stones may be treated with potassium citrate, which can be found in lemonade, limeade, and other juices. However, citrate in the urine may prevent calcium from binding with other substances to form stones. So, be sure to use juices that are pure and without any added sugar.

The B Vitamins (B6, B12, riboflavin, and thiamin) may also be helpful for kidney stones. B6, in particular, may help those with high oxalate in their urine. Talk to your doctor about using Vitamin C, Vitamin D, or calcium supplements as these can promote kidney stone formation in some people. 

Everyone can reduce their risk for developing kidney stones by increasing fluids, losing weight (if overweight or obese), and following a healthy and balanced diet with less animal protein. 

Vitamins for Kidney Philippines

Looking for vitamins for kidney and liver in the Philippines? Here are some of our recommendations.

  • NaturalCare Kidney Care

NaturalCare Kidney Care is a homeopathic, herbal supplement formulated to help cleanse the kidney as well as support the immune system. It’s made with herbal and botanical extracts formulated to help clean the kidneys and encouraging discharge. Aside from cranberries, NaturalCare Kidney Care contains parsley, juniper berries, spirulina, dandelion root, and cornsilk that may help decrease build-ups in the urinary tract and improve the body’s discharge rate. 

  • Herbs of the Earth Kidney Pro+

Herbs of the Earth Kidney Pro+ is an all-natural kidney support supplement. It rejuvenates the kidneys with vitacran cranberry extract and other powerful ingredients. It helps fights bacteria, helps flush toxins, and improves overall kidney function. It also soothes the urinary tract and discourages infections by fighting the bacteria that causes them with powerful ingredients like buchu, uva-ursi, and goldenrod. 

  • Puritan’s Pride Cranberry Fruit Concentrate with Vitamins C + E

Puritan’s Pride Cranberry Fruit Concentrate with Vitamins C + E has the wholesome goodness of cranberries to nutritionally support urinary tract health, as well as promote bladder health. Each serving contains a 50:1 concentrate – the equivalent of 8,400 mg of fresh cranberries. It also contains 6 IUs of vitamin E and 40 mg of vitamin C per serving to support skin and immune health. 

Herbal Remedies: Is It Safe?

People with kidney disease, and people on dialysis, should avoid herbal remedies and over-the-counter nutritional supplements. There may be unwanted drug interactions with prescribed medications or other side effects. Always talk to your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal remedies. 

If you have a kidney transplant, talk to your transplant doctor and kidney dietitian whether any herbal or vitamin supplements are safe to take. 

Disclaimer: The information on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All information contained on this web site is for general information purposes only.

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