Nutrition is one of the most important components when you have kidney disease. Knowing what to eat can be key in staying strong, healthy, and at lower risk of infections.
Protein is a macronutrient that your body needs to function properly. Protein provides us with the amino acids required for us to maintain bone mass, fight infections, grow muscle, and repair our tissues.
Everyone needs protein; however, those suffering from kidney disease are advised to limit their protein intake. When you have kidney disease your body may not be able to remove all the waste from the protein in your diet. When kidneys are not functioning properly, the byproducts of protein can build up in the body and damage other organs. The more protein waste your body needs to remove, the harder your kidneys need to work to get rid of it. Limiting protein may help slow the loss of kidney function.
When individuals start dialysis, the requirements change. Individuals now need a higher amount of protein to make up for the protein lost during treatment. Undergoing dialysis eliminates the risk of protein buildup.
Dialysis works by removing the buildup of waste and fluid in the blood. By doing so, dialysis also removes some of the albumin in your blood. Albumin is the protein responsible for delivering the vitamins and minerals from food to the rest of the body. Albumin also helps keep the fluid you drink in your cells and blood vessels. Since dialysis removes albumin from the system, the body is prone to suffer from infections as it doesn’t have the protein it needs to grow, repair, and fight off bacteria.
If you don’t get enough protein in your diet your body will start to break down your muscles to get the protein it needs. This may cause fatigue and weight loss and can increase your chances of infections.
If you have kidney disease, you need to ensure that you’re getting the right amount of protein to help your body build and repair muscle, heal wounds, and fight infections. The amount of protein your body will need will depend on the degree of kidney disease. Your dietitian will help you figure out how much is adequate to your diet.