When kidneys no longer function at full capacity, it is necessary to adapt the diet to allow for the changes in the body. Helpful information about what nutrients are good for you and what you should pay attention to when eating and drinking can be found below. The recommended nutrition depends on the stage of kidney failure and type of treatment. The information below does not replace extensive dietary advice. Please follow the recommendations of your physician and dietician.
Protein is needed for the repair and maintenance of body tissue, growth and for fighting infections. It is also a vital component of body fluids, including blood. When on dialysis, you have to make sure that the amount of protein in your diet is sufficient. Your dietitian will calculate the recommended amount of protein intake and teach you about the right nutrition.
Potassium is a mineral that supports nerve and muscle function and is also found in food. It helps your muscles and heart work properly. If your potassium level is too high (hyperkalemia) or too low (hypokalemia), these organs can be affected. If your kidneys fail, you will probably need to limit your intake of high-potassium foods. Your blood level of potassium will be checked regularly and your dietitian will give you advice on a proper diet with the right amount of potassium.
Phosphate is a mineral found in all foods that is needed for the maintenance of healthy bones. However, the body only needs a certain amount of phosphate. Our kidneys usually keep the balance right by excreting phosphate whenever there is too much in the body. If your kidneys fail, you have to control the levels of phosphate in your body by restricting your intake orally (low phosphate diet) and by using a medicine called a phosphate binder that is taken with meals and snacks.