Often Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients know to limit their sugar intake and sodium. However, it is much harder to limit foods and nutrients that appear very healthy for you on the surface but are in fact harmful when eaten in excess. Hence, just because a nutrient may appear to be good for you, more is not always better.
Some with CKD are encouraged to increase their Omega-3 Fatty Acids because of their health fats which help fight common side effects of CKD by decreasing inflammation, regulating blood pressure, reducing risk of heart attack, decreasing depression and heightening brain activity. However, it has newly been found that too much Omega-3 may in fact alter the immune system of patients and disrupt its ability to fight off bacterial infections. Scientists are particularly concerned about a "layering" effect that occurs when people eat seafood, take fish oil supplements, and also consume foods fortified with omega-3s (eggs, orange juice and cereal). To avoid overload, CKD patients should meet with their Dietitians to determine if they need to supplement or fortify your intake of Omega-3 fatty acids as well as recommend a specific daily intake you should consume.
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Although vitamin C is not recommended to be consumed in the form of oranges and other high potassium fruits, the CKD community has recognized that in addition to supporting immunity, it is needed to heal wounds, maintain healthy bones, teeth, blood vessels, skin, and prevent heart disease. For this reason many CKD patients take vitamin C supplements. There is concern, however, about those with CKD taking very high doses of vitamin C because this can lead to painful buildup of calcium oxalate crystal deposits in joints and soft tissues. Vitamin C supplements have been recommended by Davita.com in a 60 to 100 mg dose. Still, it is wise to talk to your Dietitian.
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Much of the iron in your body is found in your red blood cells, where it helps to carry oxygen to every cell. This key mineral is also involved in producing energy for cells, and is an integral part of many proteins and enzymes needed for optimal health. In some cases, people with CKD develop anemia because their red blood count is too low. Iron is then administered to make healthy red blood cells. Therefore, ensuring that enough iron is in the body is important to those with CKD, but they should be mindful of their iron intake because once iron is absorbed very little may be excreted which means excess iron can build up in tissues and organs, including the liver and heart.
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Calcium recommendations for people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) are different from those for the general population because poor kidney function is unable to regulate imbalances in bone metabolism which increases the risk of bone disease. In addition, these imbalances can cause calcium to deposit in the blood vessels and contribute to heart disease. Thus you should limit high calcium foods. Your Dietitian will offer recommendations to regulate your calcium intake based upon your evaluated levels from your blood tests. You should note that many CKD binders that are used to reduce phosphorus are calcium based. Also, Livestrong.com suggests that some dairy foods that fit in a kidney diet are mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, rice or almond milk, some brands of Greek and regular yogurt and cottage cheese.
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Very high doses of zinc may actually weaken immune function, lower "good" heart-protective cholesterol, and raise what is considered "bad" cholesterol, the type tied to an increased risk of heart disease. The chances of consuming too much zinc in your diet are higher for CKD patients who are often unable to excrete the nutrient. Harmful effects are also more likely if several sources are consumed such as zinc-rich foods (red meat, shellfish) along with supplements and products fortified with zinc (nasal sprays or throat lozenges). If you think you may be exceeding your recommended dose then you should discuss the matter with your Dietitian.
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KidneyBuzz.com encourages CKD patients to be mindful of the quantity of nutrients they intake even if they may seem good for you. Also, meet with your Dietitian regularly to monitor your results and determine any necessary alterations.
*Note: Do not forget to order your No BP/No Stick Medical Alert Bracelet!
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Zirker, Lindsey. "List of Foods to Eat With Kidney Failure." Http://www.livestrong.com/. LIVESTRONG.
"The ABCs of Vitamins for Kidney Patients." Http://www.davita.com/. - DaVita.
Grannell, Rachael. "It's Possible To Get Too Much Of These 5 Essential Nutrients." Http://www.huffingtonpost.com/. TheHuffingtonPost.
"Iron and Chronic Kidney Disease: What You Need to Know." Http://www.kidney.org/. The National Kidney Foundation Inc.