Vitamin B3 Found To Treat Kidney Cysts And May Increase CKD & Dialysis Patient Longevity

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As many Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients know all too well, cysts on the kidneys are a common and very scary occurrence. A cyst is basically a fluid-filled sac. While Polycystic Kidney Disease patients (kidney cysts that grow and multiply slowly over time) must deal with kidney cysts for much of their lives, "Chronic renal failure (particularly in patients on maintenance Hemodialysis or Peritoneal Dialysis) is frequently associated with the development of multiple kidney cysts, which are usually less than 0.5 cm in diameter but can be as large as 2 to 3 cm," according to Dr. Arlene B Chapman (University of Chicago) and her research colleagues. Cysts can cause infection, fever, back pain, and cancerous kidney tumors. However, the University of Kentucky has found that vitamin B3 helped naturally inhibit the formation and growth of harmful cysts.

Let's be clear, Acquired Cystic Kidney Disease is not the same as Polycystic Kidney Disease. Unlike Acquired Cystic Kidney Disease, Polycystic Kidney Disease is a genetic or inherited disorder. Still, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases noted that, "Almost 60% of people who are on Dialysis for 2 to 4 years develop Acquired Cystic Kidney Disease, and about 90% of people on Dialysis for 8 years or more develop Acquired Cystic Kidney Disease."

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Tumors can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Although most cysts are benign, some cysts may be tumors and these can be potentially malignant. Moreover, Polycystic Kidney Disease patients must contend with ever-growing sacs on their kidneys that cause them to lose function, have to begin dialysis, and live life in constant discomfort (sometimes have kidneys the size of footballs and find it very difficult to sit and stand).

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This is why it is great news that  Dr. Xiaogang Li (Kentucky University) and colleagues were able to show that vitamin B3 slowed the creation of cysts and restored kidney function in mice. Especially exciting, vitamin B3 is a commonly used supplement with little-reported toxicity, and Li hopes that efforts to test its effectiveness in patients might bypass the early phase of clinical trials that test toxicity in humans.  

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B3 may also help improve a Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patient's longevity (survival) since it can treat serious common complications such as high cholesterol as well as reduce the risk of heart attack and slow narrowing of the arteries. Good sources of vitamin B3 include salmon, turkey breast, mushrooms, liver, tuna, green peas, and grass-fed beef. Hence, patients who would like to combat cysts or just enhance their overall health outcomes may consider discussing with their Healthcare Teams the incorporation of vitamin B3 into the their diets. 

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