Ensure & Dialysis

Dialysis is the treatment used for individuals with End Stage Renal Disease, or ESRD. Diet is a vital component to living well on dialysis. Dialysis patients may experience a decrease in appetite, which can lead in a decrease in caloric intake resulting in weight loss, notes RenalInfo.com. This could potentially lead to malnutrition and a low protein level. Protein supplementation with products such as Ensure can help.

A high-protein diet may be difficult for a dialysis patient to consume if he has a decreased appetite. (Image: insjoy/iStock/Getty Images)

Protein and Calorie Supplementation

Dialysis patients need to consume a high protein diet. (Image: Pavlo_K/iStock/Getty Images)

The increased protein need in dialysis patients can be a challenge. Some individuals are not used to eating a high meat diet. Patients with a smaller body mass may simply not be able to consume enough protein or calories in general. Liquid supplementation can easily increase protein and calories. It can also help patients who have chewing or swallowing issues that can limit solid-food consumption.

Nutrition Content of Ensure

Ensure comes in a variety of flavors. (Image: lola1960/iStock/Getty Images)

Ensure, produced by Abbott Laboratories, is a nutritional drink that provides 24 essential vitamins and minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, and is generally low in fat. There are several varieties of Ensure, and all are gluten-free and lactose-friendly. They do contain milk and soy ingredients. Eight ounces of regular Ensure, any flavor, provides 250 calories, 50 grams of carbohydrate, 6 grams of fat and 9 grams of protein. It also contains 370 milligrams of potassium.

Other Ensure Varieties

Some Ensure varieties offer more protein and calories but have too much potassium for dialysis patients. (Image: nagehanozsezer/iStock/Getty Images)

Ensure Plus provides additional protein and calories. It contains 350 calories and 15 grams of protein, but it also contains 500 mg of potassium, which would be dangerous for a typical dialysis patient. Ensure High Protein provides 230 calories and 13 grams of protein. Like Ensure Plus, it contains 500 mg potassium. This would be considered a high-potassium food, and dialysis patients are usually discouraged from including these in their diet.

Nepro with Carb-Steady

Nepro with Carb Steady is an Ensure product made specifically for dialysis patients. (Image: Artverau/iStock/Getty Images)

Abbott Laboratories offer a dialysis-friendly product called Nepro with Carb Steady. This boasts the highest level of protein within the Ensure family at 19 grams per 8-ounce bottle. It also provides 425 calories and only 250 mg of potassium. It is low in phosphorus. Carb Steady is described by Abbott as a diabetic-friendly mixture of carbohydrates. Remember to discuss diet with a physician before making any changes or introducing new supplements.

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