Published on May 15th, 2020 | by Michaelw0
Smart Potassium to Repair Kidneys
If you want to repair your kidneys, potassium is even more important than you may realize.
Extreme unbalances in blood potassium levels can LITERALLY KILL YOU.
And, what many people don’t know about potassium is that, if you learn how to manage it the smart way,
you can use it to repair your kidneys!
Yes, this is possible.
Because, let’s face it, your kidney diet is never going to work if you don’t get the right amount of potassium in it.
But when you get your diet dialed-in perfectly, according to what your kidneys really need, YOU WILL SEE INCREDIBLE CHANGES.
And if you are new here on 00kidney, welcome to our journey together to a better kidney health!
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My name is Katherine and I’ve been working with people suffering from chronic kidney disease for 7 years, now.
I’ve helped many of them getting some of their kidney function back.
Some patients have even reversed their kidney disease.
This is why, in today’s video, I’m presenting you the most up to date, the most complete and direct-to-the-point guide to potassium in the kidney diet.
We’ll see what foods are too rich in potassium and what better alternatives you should consider.
We’ll see the symptoms of hyperkalemia and hypokalemia.
But we’ll also see how to spot the dangerous hidden potassium and what medications will upset your serum potassium levels.
There’s also a home remedy I want to show you that can lower your blood potassium in minutes.
So let’s immediately with the most important thing you need to know
Let’s start from the foods you can eat and the foods you cannot eat.
Now, I’ve made this slide so we can see what foods are too rich in potassium.
Here we can see fruits such as bananas, cantaloupe, mango, papaya… but also vegetables like artichokes, potatoes and tomatoes.
Also, some processed products such as salsa, tomato sauce and salt substitutes are included.
These are some of the most common foods kidney patients should avoid when they need to limit potassium, right?
In this other slide a more complete list of foods you should be avoiding.
And I’ve made a printable version of all the slides related to foods you’ll see today, link is in description, so you can download and print them if you want.
But let’s see what food you can eat instead
We can see here some low potassium alternatives you can always eat
Some healthy fruits, like apples, berries pineapple
some veggies like corn, eggplant, cucumber
And there is even almond milk, a healthy alternative to cow milk, white rice and popcorn.
All these foods are safe when it comes to potassium, but you also need to consider other factors when adding new things to your diet, like phosphorus and sodium, alright?
Now, if you want to know more about the foods you can and the foods you cannot eat with kidney disease, I’ve made a playlist that can interest you.
But beware hidden potassium.
What is hidden potassium?
Hidden potassium is a danger for people with kidney disease.
Many supplements, herbal remedies, but even packaged foods are not supposed to have potassium in them, but they are actually full of it.
As we can see here, everything related to sports may contain potassium.
Protein supplements, bars and sport drinks. The reason is that people lose potassium during physical activities, ok?
So, brands put potassium in supplements to replace it.
Even herbal and dietary supplements are to be carefully checked for potassium.
The other thing is salt substitutes. These are full of potassium too, ok?
Now, packaged food in general may have been enriched with potassium too. This depends on the brand, alright?
What to do then?
When you’re limiting your potassium, avoid this kind of foods unless you’re 100% sure there’s not too much potassium.
So, to be sure, always double check the label of what you’re buying.
If you’re in the US the FDA is finally requiring food brands to list potassium on the labels, so this is what the labels should look like.
It’s pretty easy with these new labels…
potassium is down here.
Can you see it?
Now, these lists can be helpful, but only if you know how much potassium you should have on a daily basis.
Because simply avoiding high potassium foods won’t work on the long run.
So, let’s see what are the most common potassium allowances for people with kidney disease.
Your potassium allowance depends on your stage of kidney disease and your kidney function.
People In stage 4 and 5 of CKD, usually you will have to limit potassium to about 2.500 or 2.700 mg a day, as we can see here.
Let’s take a look.
The number you see here are the stage of chronic kidney disease you’re in, on the left,
Your kidney function in the middle
and the quantity of potassium you can eat, in a day, on the right.
Ok, if you don’t know what your stage is, or want to know more about this topic, I’ve made a video just for you, it is up here.
Back to potassium allowance.
Let’s say you have a 2500mg per day restriction.
Now, if we think that, for example a medium banana contains more than 400 mg of potassium, we can understand how hard is staying below 2.500 mg of potassium a day, alright?
Because even the foods on the low potassium list have some potassium in them, obviously.
One medium apple has about 200mg of potassium, for example.
So, if you are in stage 4 or 5, print the lists I have shown you earlier and try to avoid all the high potassium foods.
And get checked regularly. This is important, you have to keep your potassium level in the right range if you want to repair your kidneys. More about this in a moment.
Now, the situation would be totally different in stage 3. I’m not talking about stages 1 and 2 because it’s really uncommon to have a potassium restriction here.
But even in stage 3 of CKD your kidney function is still enough to remove fluid, potassium and a moderate amount of waste.
And people don’t know this, but many patients can still eat potassium rich foods in stage 3, ok?
But keep in mind that this is not always the case.
Because, and you can see it from my slide, potassium allowance varies greatly in stage 3.
It can be 2.000mg per day and it can be 4.000mg per day.
So, some people with CKD stage 3 may eat all the bananas and exotic fruit they want and some others cannot even look at bananas.
So why does this range varies so much?
For many patients, the problem is the medications they take.
I don’t know if you have watched my video about the kidney killer pills.
But there are several, very common medications that can really mess up your… cholesterol levels, your blood sugar … yes even your potassium levels.
Now, I’ve linked the video about the kidney killer pills up here, if you want to save it for later.
For now, let’s see what medication can raise your potassium levels artificially, shall we?
Medications that have been linked to hyperkalemia include
Blood pressure drugs called angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
Blood pressure drugs called angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs), although they are less likely than ACE inhibitors to increase potassium levels
Blood pressure drugs called beta-blockers
Potassium-sparing diuretics, including triamterene, amiloride (Midamor), and spironolactone (Aldactone)
So if you take these medications and your potassium is always high, despite all your efforts to keep it low, maybe you should talk to your doctor and see if there’s a way to lower the dosages.
For some patients, doing changes in their diet, lowering sodium for example can be enough to get a lower dose of beta-blockers.
Obviously this is not something you can do by yourself, you would need your doctor to follow you in this process.
But this is exactly the kind of improvement you would need to do IN ORDER to get your kidney function back: improve your diet and find a way to lower your medications.
Now, let’s see why keeping your blood potassium in the right range is so important for your kidneys.
there are basically two problems with potassium.
The most common is having high levels of it, which leads to irregular heartbeats, possible heart attack and possible kidney damage. That’s hyperkalemia.
But there’s a way to lower your levels quickly, I’ll show you how in a moment.
The less common, hypokalemia, is the lack of this essential electrolyte, and even if it less common in kidney patients, it can happen. Now, having too little potassium can also cause your blood pressure to raise, again damaging your kidneys.
This is why you should get checked regularly for potassium levels, if you have kidney disease.
So, when you do your basic metabolic panel, check if your potassium level, or serum potassium, is too high or, maybe too low.
The normal range is 3.5 to 5.2 mEq/L, as we can see here.
Now, if potassium in the blood is too high, hyperkalemia – and this is unfortunately frequent in people with chronic kidney disease.
you may experience 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?
Because it is an essential nutrient, ok? Our bodies use it to maintain fluid and electrolyte balance.
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.
And actually, we can see that the symptoms for hypokalemia are similar to those of hyperkalemia.
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 saver, 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.
As I was saying before there’s a home remedy you can use to lower potassium levels fast.
Not many studies have been done on this, so listen with a grain of salt, ok?
In some kidney disease patients, sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda, was successfully used to lower serum potassium, or potassium level.
This remedy works when there’s a condition called metabolic acidosis, very common in kidney disease patients.
So, when hyperkalemia results from too much acidity in the blood, baking soda can be prescribed by your doctor.
Baking soda can relieve acidosis because it is a base and neutralizes acid in the blood.
Now, while baking soda is pretty safe, and acidosis is common, consult your doctor before taking anything you’re not already taking.
Now, if you want to know everything about the use of baking soda as a home remedy for kidney disease, this video is for you.
In this other video, the story of a man who reversed kidney disease.
This is all for today, thank you for watching.