Can Chronic Kidney Disease And Dialysis Patients Safely Detox To Improve Their Summer And Quality Of Life?




One patient asked: "Can Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients detox? I have tried a cleansing, detox diet in the past and it was very helpful in making me feel cleaner with improved vitality, and I even lost 8 pounds! With summer upon us, I wanted to detox again. However, since beginning Dialysis, I do not know if it is safe."

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It is summer time and many Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients are attempting to feel their best to better enjoy the season, reduce weight, as well as have more energy to spend quality time with family and friends. Especially in the case of Dialysis patients, toxins can build up in the body and cause them to feel bloated, toxic, and less than their best. Detoxing (designed to eliminate toxins from your body) has boasted a simple solution to help individuals improve how they feel inside and out. While popular in some circles, is it safe for Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients? Read the following pros and cons:

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Basically, during a cleanse, solid foods are often replaced with drinks such as water with lemon, maple syrup and cayenne pepper; green tea; or freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices. Detoxes can last from a day to a month. The theory behind cleanses is that, by eliminating solid foods or specific food groups, you are eliminating toxins.

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Although many Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients hear a lot about the supposed health benefits of a cleanse or detox, the truth is, there is no conclusive medical evidence that detoxing is effective, suggested Registered Dietitian, Katherine Patton (Cleveland Clinic). In fact, the body naturally eliminates toxins through stool or sweat. Pros of detoxing have been outlined as follows:

  • Boosting mineral intake
  • Identifying and eliminating food sensitivities
  • Increasing energy and sense of vitality
  • Revitalizing mind and spirit
  • Jump-starting weight-loss program or new diet
  • Improving immune system
  • Cutting out bad eating habits
  • Losing Weight
  • Relieving constipation
  • Resolving headaches, muscle aches, and fatigue

Still, the cons of detoxing may be more significant to Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients since most of the weight you lose from a cleanse is a result of losing water (along with carbohydrate stores and stool) which can build-up in patients with low kidney function or those conducting Dialysis. Hence, most Renal (Kidney) Dietitians often advise against a detox because a patient with Chronic Kidney Disease or conducting Dialysis has specific dietary needs and considerations for which cleanses do not account. In fact, most detoxes available encourage a high potassium, high fluid, and low protein content diet.

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Regardless, Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients should discuss the idea of a detox with their Healthcare Team. If it is not the best option, and weight loss is a priority, then a Renal Dietitian may advise on potential dietary modifications which could result in weight loss that is considered safe for patients.

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