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Supplements for Dialysis Patients

author image Amber Wilson
Amber Wilson is a registered dietitian and has worked in a variety of fields, including clinical nutrition and community health. She has been writing since 2003 and her projects have included articles for company newsletters, grant applications, policy and procedure manuals, and the production of educational materials.
Supplements for Dialysis Patients
Nutrition supplements may be helpful for some dialysis patients. Photo Credit Vitamins and Supplements image by Scott Griessel from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Nutrition supplements come in a variety of forms. They are called supplements because their role is to add certain nutrients to your regular diet. Dialysis patients often benefit from supplements due to the nature of their treatment and particular nutrition needs. Physicians and registered dietitians often prescribe or recommend supplements that will benefit an individual patient.

Nutrition and Dialysis

Supplements for Dialysis Patients
A decreased appetite or nutrient losses during dialysis may indicate the need for supplements. Photo Credit Serbogachuk/iStock/Getty Images

Dialysis is the treatment used for individuals with end stage renal disease. Diet is a vital component to living well on dialysis. A dialysis patient will need to limit certain nutrients, such as water, sodium, phosphorus and potassium. Dialysis patients often experience decreased appetite, and some nutrients are lost during dialysis treatment, requiring patients to increase their intake of nutrients, such as protein, vitamins B and C, and sometimes overall calories.

Liquid Supplements

Supplements for Dialysis Patients
Liquid supplements can help provide extra protein and calories for a dialysis patient. Photo Credit MilaK/iStock/Getty Images

Liquid supplements are common and fairly easy to obtain. A typical 8 oz. container of one of these regular drinks contains about 10 g of protein and 240 calories. The some versions of the beverages have about 350 calories and 13 to 14 g protein. High-protein versions have 12 to 15 g protein per 240 calories. Dialysis-friendly formulas are higher in overall protein and calories but lower in phosphorus and potassium.

Powder Supplements

Supplements for Dialysis Patients
Protein powder can be mixed into a drink or sprinkled over food for added protein. Photo Credit marekuliasz/iStock/Getty Images

Due to the dietary restrictions, it can be a challenge for dialysis patients to get enough protein while maintaining their phosphorus restriction. Protein powder supplements are a good protein supplement option for these individuals. Low phosphorus protein powders include 100 percent whey protein powder.

Vitamin and Mineral Supplements

Supplements for Dialysis Patients
Most dialysis patients should be on a doctor-recommended vitamin supplement. Photo Credit matt_benoit/iStock/Getty Images

Some vitamins and minerals can be lost during a dialysis treatment. These are usually water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins C and B. Zinc, iron, calcium and vitamin D are also prescribed to some dialysis patients. Ask your physician before taking any over-the-counter supplements, because some may contain ingredients that can be harmful to your health. There are some companies that make dialysis-specific multivitamins.


Supplements for Dialysis Patients
Always discuss supplementation with a physician. Photo Credit chameleonseye/iStock/Getty Images

Dialysis patients should discuss the use of any supplement with their kidney doctor or their dietitian. Each clinical case is different, and these statements are based on general population needs and are not prescriptions for an individual patient.

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