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Vitamins to Improve Kidney Function

by  R. Y. LANGHAM, PH.D.
author image R. Y. Langham, Ph.D.
R. Y. Langham served as a senior writer for "The Herald" magazine from 1996-99. Langham holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Fisk University, a Master of Science in marriage and family therapy from Trevecca Nazarene University and a Ph.D in family psychology from Capella University. Dr. R.Y. Langham published her first psychological thriller in September 2011. It can be purchased on, Barnes& and
Vitamins to Improve Kidney Function
Vitamins on a wooden spoon Photo Credit: bookzaa/iStock/Getty Images

Vitamins are needed to keep your kidneys functioning at an optimal level. Your kidneys regulate your fluid levels, stabilize your blood pressure, control your red blood cell production, balance your calcium and mineral levels and expel wastes through your urine. When your kidneys are unable to properly filter waste from your body it can cause toxins to build up in your blood and result in kidney damage or kidney failure. High blood pressure, kidney stones, kidney inflammation and urinary tract infections can affect kidney function. A variety of vitamins can restore the health of your kidneys and improve kidney function.

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Vitamin B-12

Vitamin B-12, also known as cobalamin, is water-soluble vitamin that aids in red blood cell production, carries oxygen and nutrients to your kidneys, repairs kidney damage caused by free radicals, aids in the healing process, supports a healthy bone marrow and prevents anemia, a common symptom of kidney damage and end-stage renal disease, according to Glenn Bock and Michael Moore, authors of the book “Parent's Guide to Kidney Disorders.” Bock and Moore recommend that adults obtain 2.4 mcg of vitamin B-12 daily to improve their kidney function. Foods rich in vitamin B-12 include beef liver, sardines in canned oil, eggs, duck, cod, corned beef, turkey, lamb, sausage, hard cheeses and condensed milk.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant that strengthens your immune system and protects your kidneys from damage, according to Steve Blake, author of the book “Vitamins and Minerals Demystified.” Blake explains that vitamin C also repairs kidney damage, improves kidney function, reduces the amount of protein in your urine -- a common symptom of kidney disease -- accelerates the healing process and helps your body absorb iron, a mineral that aids in red blood cell formation and is needed to transport blood, oxygen and nutrients to your kidneys. Blake recommends that adults obtain at least 1,000 mg of vitamin C daily to improve the condition of their kidneys. Foods rich in vitamin C include guava, strawberries, tomatoes, blackberries, cranberries, blueberries, cherries, green sweet peppers, oranges and spinach.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that improves kidney function, removes wastes and toxins from your kidneys, repairs kidney damage, lowers your risk of end-stage renal disease and aids in calcium absorption from foods, according to Jorg Kastner, author of “Chinese Nutrition Therapy: Dietetics in Traditional Chinese Medicine.” Kastner explains that low levels of calcium can cause kidney stones and impair kidney function. Kastner recommends that adults obtain 15 mcg of vitamin D daily to increase kidney function. Foods rich in vitamin D include fortified margarine, eggs, fortified cereals, fortified yogurt, fortified orange juice, milk, salmon, canned tuna in water and beef liver.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that boosts immune system function and protects your kidneys from harmful free radicals that can interfere with proper kidney function, according to Lavon Dunne, author of “Nutrition Almanac.” Dunne explains that vitamin E also decreases kidney inflammation, eliminates oxidative stress from your body, transports oxygen, nutrients and blood to your kidneys, repairs tissues damaged by kidney infections, diseases or toxins and lowers your risk of renal artery stenosis, a condition that occurs when the arteries supplying blood and oxygen to your kidneys becomes blocked with plaque. Dunne recommends that adults obtain 15 mg of vitamin E daily to enhance kidney function. Foods rich in vitamin E include mangoes, broccoli, corn oil, peanut butter, almonds, tomatoes, spinach and wheat germ oil.

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  • “Renal System Explained: An Illustrated Core Text”; Sunita R. Deshmukh and Newton W. Wong; 2009
  • “Parent's Guide to Kidney Disorders”; Glenn H. Bock and Michael P. Moore; 1993
  • “Vitamins and Minerals Demystified”; Steve Blake; 2007
  • “Chinese Nutrition Therapy: Dietetics in Traditional Chinese Medicine”; Jorg Kastner; 2004
  • “Nutrition Almanac”; Lavon J. Dunne; 2001
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