Published on November 8th, 2019 | by Michaelw0
5 MINERALS you need to know about
If you are serious about improving your kidney function, you absolutely need to know everything about these 5 minerals, the nutrients at the base of your renal diet.
Because, more than anything else, these 5 minerals are what can make all the difference between a diet that’s helping your kidney health and one that’s causing kidney damage.
As a kidney patient, there’s one thing you should keep always in mind.
You can improve your kidney function and you can restore at least some part of the kidney damage.
You will have to be strong and you will have to fight, but I’ve seen people doing it and getting the results they wanted.
But you need to follow a renal diet with balanced nutrients to get there.
Having balanced levels of the minerals I’ll show you today is probably the most important thing you need to do. These nutrients are the most important part of your renal diet.
Having unbalanced levels of just one of these minerals can lead to symptoms as severe as an heart attack, literally.
But there’s not just that: fatigue, bone problems and a rapid decline in kidney function are almost always caused by mineral unbalance in kidney patients.
So, let’s start with our list.
Now, our first mineral is often neglected even by health conscious people, but it’s deficiency is the most common cause of fatigue in people with kidney disease.
Iron is needed to make red blood cells. Low iron levels may cause anemia.
Iron is very important for people with kidney disease. If you feel tired, if you feel weaker than usual and look pale… there’s a great chance that a lack of iron is the cause.
FACT Anemia is common in kidney patients, and it causes fatigue.
If you have this condition your blood cannot carry enough oxygen through your body.
The muscles and the brain cannot work well without enough oxygen, so people suffering from anemia can feel extremely tired and fatigued.
Other symptoms of anemia include chest pain, dizziness, cold hands and feet.
Anemia fortunately can be managed.
Making sure you have enough iron helps solving this problem.
How to tell if you don’t have enough iron?
Iron is not directly measured in blood analysis, but you can understand if you have a problem looking at your hemoglobin level. Look at hemoglobin level.
Iron and oxygen make up hemoglobin.
Measuring the amount of hemoglobin in your blood is a good way to know if your iron levels are right. the normal hemoglobin level is 12.0 for women and 13.5 for men.
Kidney disease patients may have lower levels than this.
Now, if your levels are too low, some foods you could add to your renal diet to improve iron levels and fight anemia include
Meat, liver and poultry. Red meat is usually not recommended for kidney patients, but poultry is safe.
Seafood like sardines, salmon and halibut
Beans. green beans, fava beans, green peas, garbanzo beans are low in potassium and are safe for a kidney diet.
Kale is a great source of iron too. Spinach is also rich in iron, but too rich in potassium for people in stage 4 and 5.
Vitamin C helps your stomach absorb iron. Eating leafy greens with foods that contain vitamin C such as oranges, red bell peppers, and strawberries, may increase iron absorption.
Another great way to improve iron levels is cooking in a cast iron skillet.
This may seem strange at first, but foods cooked in cast iron absorb iron from the skillet, especially if they are acidic.
You should also avoid eating iron rich foods with foods or beverages known to block iron absorption, like coffee, tea, eggs and oxalate or calcium rich foods.
In some cases this isn’t enough, so your doctor may prescribe you iron supplements and erythropoietin, a hormone involved in the production of red blood cells. That would solve the problem.
And, while this could look like a small step toward solving a problem as big as kidney disease, it is already a step in the right direction.
And it’s a lot easier to go there when you know what to eat and what to avoid.
So if you know anyone who could benefit from improving their kidney function, share with them this video now. So we can reach them and they may understand that they’re not doomed to having a certain stage of kidney failure for the rest of their life. Because I think that with the right and balanced kidney diet it’s possible to at least partially reverse their chronic kidney disease.
Now, let’s go on with the list of the 5 most important minerals to improve kidney function.
Our second one is maybe the most well-known for people following a renal diet.
Potassium restriction is the biggest difference between a regular healthy diet and a kidney diet
Why is potassium so important to improve your renal function?
If you’re eating what is considered to be an healthy diet for everybody else, high potassium level can cause your heart to stop.
“Never let a slice of tomato pass your lips” has become a mantra for people with kidney disease.
This is because a lot of fruits and vegetables, considered healthy for most people, are too high in potassium for kidney patients to be consumed regularly.
We’re talking about foods like nuts, most beans, bananas, avocados, potatoes… yes, the reason you cannot eat those foods anymore is potassium.
Now, to better understand what foods you can eat and what you cannot eat, I’ve made a printable list, link is in description.
By the way, did you know that you can eat potassium rich foods if you are in stage 3 but you cannot eat them anymore if you’re in stage 4?
In stage 3 chronic kidney disease, kidney function is still enough to remove fluid, potassium and a moderate amount of waste.
So, usually, potassium is not restricted in stage 3 CKD.
Now, if you are in stage 4 the kidneys can no longer remove excess potassium, so the level builds up in the body.
High potassium in the blood is called hyperkalemia, and it’s unfortunately frequent in people with advanced stages of chronic kidney disease.
Hyperkalemia is a serious and potentially life-threatening disorder.
It may cause fatigue, weakness, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, or vomiting.
This is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical care. If you have these symptoms, call 911 or go to the emergency room.
What a lot of people ask is, if potassium is so dangerous, why don’t we just avoid it?
Well, potassium is an essential nutrient used to maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in the body.
Potassium is also the third most abundant mineral in the body and a required mineral for the function of several organs, including the heart, kidneys, brain and muscular tissues.
The heart beats at a normal rhythm because of potassium.
In order for potassium to perform these functions, blood levels must be kept between 3.5 and 5.5 mEq/L. Even having too low levels can cause troubles. So keep an eye on these levels when you read your blood analysis.
Being able to properly read the levels of potassium in your analysis can be a real life safer, since you wouldn’t have to rely on your doctor to find out that a level is going out of range.
Question, How to lower potassium level quickly, if it’s too high?
The very first thing to do if you need to lower potassium levels is to limit the intake of high potassium foods.
To do this, you need to follow a proper renal diet and you need to be very careful with hidden potassium.
What is hidden potassium?
Hidden potassium is a danger for people with kidney disease. Some foods and beverages are not supposed to have potassium in them, but they are actually full of it.
Also sports drinks do include it very often.
Even herbal, dietary supplements and diet or protein drinks and bars are to be carefully checked for potassium
Also salt substitutes are often very rich in potassium.
When you’re limiting your potassium, avoid these kind of foods unless you’re 100% sure there’s no potassium.
Now, this year it has become easier for people living in the US to find out what foods contain potassium, since the FDA is finally requiring food brands to list potassium on the labels.
So always check the labels for potassium levels.
Our third mineral is phosphorus.
phosphorus is restricted even for patients in stage 3 of CKD.
Now, while potassium is usually only restricted for patients in the 4th and 5th stages of kidney disease, phosphorus can be an issue even for patients in the stage 3.
And this includes a lot more people.
Phosphorus is the main reason because dairy products are not recommended for people with kidney disease.
Actually, dairy products could cause you bone problems.
Yes, milk is supposed to strengthen your bones, but if you have kidney disease you could obtain the exact opposite effect.
Why? Due to inability of the kidneys to get rid of excess phosphorus.
Your body needs some phosphorus to strengthen your bones and teeth, produce energy, and build cell membranes.
Yet in larger-than-normal amounts, this mineral can cause bone and muscle problems and increase your risk for heart attacks and strokes.
What happens when the kidneys cannot remove it properly?
If there’s too much phosphorus in your diet , your body will remove it binding it with calcium from your bones.
Extra phosphorus causes body changes that pull calcium out of your bones, making them weak. High phosphorus and calcium levels also lead to dangerous calcium deposits in blood vessels, lungs, eyes, and heart.
Over time this can lead to increased risk of heart attack, stroke or death. Phosphorus and calcium control are very important for your overall health.
And this is why people with kidney disease should always watch their consumption not just of dairy but also of foods like
red meat, packaged meats, frozen meals, snack products, additives and preservatives, whole grain breads peanut butter and colas.
Most of these foods are also too rich in sodium, another mineral people with kidney disease should keep under control.
Having a high level of phosphate — or phosphorus — in your blood is known as hyperphosphatemia. Phosphate is an electrolyte, which is an electrically charged substance that contains the mineral phosphorus.
A high phosphate level is often a sign of kidney damage. It’s more common in people with chronic kidney disease (CKD), especially in those with end-stage kidney disease.
Your doctor can do a blood test to check whether you have high phosphate levels.
But I really suggest you to be able to read the analysis correctly so you can understand by yourself what the results are telling you.
So what are the correct phosphorus levels?
According to the National Kidney Foundation, CKD patients stages 3 and 4 patients should keep their phosphorus between 2.7 and 4.6 mg/dL.
Patients on dialysis should keep their phosphorus levels in the 3.0 to 5.5 mg/dL range.
Now, while people with healthy kidneys should get about 800 to 1,200 milligrams (mg) of phosphorus daily from foods like dairy, red meat, chicken, fish…
People with kidney disease should limit their phosphorus to no more than 800 mg a day.
How can you lower phosphorus levels?
There are usually two ways to do so
The first is to reduce your phosphorus intake and the amount of phosphate in your diet.
Or, if this isn’t enough, your doctor can prescribe you medications to lower the amount of phosphate your intestines absorb. These medications are called phosphate binder.
So, to recap, kidney patients need lower amounts of phosphorus in the diet to avoid problems with bone and calcium
Unfortunately, maintaining this balance is harder than it seems. Why?
Let’s go a bit in deeper about this delicate balance and about our mineral number 4, (slide) calcium.
Calcium is really really important for kidney patients, since is correlated to the health of their bones, hearth and kidneys.
The big problem here is that foods rich in calcium are too often rich in phosphorus too, making it hard to balance these two minerals in the diet.
We’re talking about foods like dairy, spinach, beans…
So, for people with kidney disease, especially in the last stage, an imbalance of calcium and phosphorus is extremely common.
This is called mineral and bone disorder. As the name suggests, when the kidneys cannot filter the blood properly, minerals in the body become unbalanced, causing bone problems.
The minerals I’m talking about are calcium and phosphorus.
These two minerals together are playing a crucial role in the health of the kidneys, the heart and the bones.
In fact, it’s not uncommon for people with kidney disease to have heart and bones problems, caused by kidney disease itself.
How can you prevent kidney disease from causing bone and heart disease?
When too much kidney function is lost, your kidneys can no longer filter out extra phosphorus and remove it from the body in the urine. And calcium becomes too low.
So, ideally, you should get some calcium from foods without too much phosphorus.
Foods that naturally contain calcium and are safe for people with kidney disease include
rhubarb, sardines canned with bones and salmon canned with bones fortified foods
It’s not a long list, so the best sources of calcium for people suffering from chronic kidney disease are fortified foods and supplements, since dairy is to be avoided.
Supplements should be prescribed by your doctor.
Healthy kidneys also change vitamin D from sunlight and the foods you eat into active vitamin D that your body can use. When kidneys fail there is a short supply of active vitamin D.
Your body needs the active form of vitamin D. So you cannot just take over the counter vitamin D supplements, those would be useless.
You would need the active form of vitamin D.
Only your doctor can prescribe you the right amount and the right type of vitamin D.
What you can do to improve your kidney function is to keep the levels of calcium under control.
according to The National Kidney Foundation Guidelines, the goal range for calcium is between 8.4 to 10.2 mg/dL.
So speak to your doctor if the levels on your analysis are not correct.
Ok, our last one is maybe the most important mineral for people suffering from kidney disease.
It is what will influence your diet more than anything else.
Until now we had 2 minerals that you should keep under control, potassium and phosphorus.
And 2 that are usually too low in kidney patients, calcium and iron.
Now, unfortunately foods high in potassium and phosphorus are often also rich in calcium or iron, and this makes a lot harder for people with kidney disease to find a balanced renal diet.
But don’t worry: I’ve made a very comprehensive guide to the renal diet, And now about our last mineral. It is… (slide) sodium!
Most people think of salt when sodium is mentioned.
If you consume too much sodium, you are at greater risk for complications, including high blood pressure and heart disease.
I’ve already talked extensively about how to limit sodium and improve your renal diet to get back your kidney function.
I’ve made a whole video series about it, you can find it here.
This is all for today, thank you for watching.