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.