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Vitamins and Kidney Disease - What's Okay and What's Not?


The vitamin aisle of any supermarket or drugstore–filled with hundreds of choices–can make your head spin. Vitamins are important for good health but, according to the National Kidney Foundation, kidney disease changes your need for some vitamins and with dietary restrictions, you may not get all the vitamins your body needs. People with kidney disease should always talk to their nephrologist before beginning a vitamin regimen.

Some vitamins, such as B vitamins and vitamin D, do not build up in the body. Food provides some B vitamins and vitamin D, “but the need for some B vitamins may increase with kidney disease,” said Cindy Sharp, MD, of Bozeman Health Nephrology Clinic. “You may also need to take vitamin D. Your doctor can prescribe the appropriate amount of vitamin D based on your blood tests.”

On the other hand, patients should not take extra vitamin C. “Too much vitamin C can cause buildup of a by-product called oxalate, which can adversely affect the heart, kidneys, and blood vessels,” Dr. Sharp said. Multi-vitamins also are not recommended. These products may have vitamins that are not good for you, while large doses of some vitamins may also interfere with medicines you are taking.

Vitamins A, E and K can build up in your body to harmful levels, so it is best to take these vitamins only when ordered by your nephrologist. “Since blood levels of vitamin A are usually high in those with kidney disease, taking more vitamin A may actually do more harm than good,” Dr. Sharp said.

The bottom line is, each person has different vitamin needs. To make sure your body is getting its nutritional needs, talk with your doctor who knows your history.

Categories: Deaconess