Guide to Low Phosphorus Diets for Chronic Kidney Disease
A key component of the human body, phosphorus is somewhat of a double-edged sword for sufferers of Chronic Kidney Disease and a low-phosphorus diet is often recommended by dieticians and doctors.
Phosphorus is essential for healthy teeth and bones yet sources indicate that even a slight increase above normal levels can put you at risk of hospitalization or even death. Even in patients without symptoms of chronic kidney disease, high levels of phosphorus can serious problems.
What is Phosphorus
Second only to calcium, phosphorus is one of the most important minerals for healthy teeth and bones. Present in every cell of the human body it helps the body use carbohydratess, fats and use protein for growth and repare of our tissues.
It also plays a key role in energy production.
Generally speaking, since phosphorus is present in such a wide variety of food sources it’s rarer to find people with a deficiency. This makes it more important patients with CKD (if recommended by their doctor) monitor and manage their intake with a low-phosphorus diet.
Why Should CKD Patients Monitor their Phosphorus Intake?
Healthy functioning kidneys can remove excess phosphorus in your blood. Since the kidney function is affected in patients with CKD the levels of this mineral can accumulate in your blood with dangerous implications.
In patients with CKD, higher levels of phosphorus in the blood are linked with increased calcification of the arteries and heart valves. These higher levels can lead to concrete-like deposits of calcium phosphorus which block blood supply and may lead to emergency by-pass operations.
Managing a Low-Phosphorus Diet
Most food contain phosphorus and managing a low-phosphorus diet depends heavily of careful food selection. Replacing foods that are high in the mineral with lower alternatives.
Unfortunately reading labels isn’t going to help as phosphorus won’t be listed but your food choose can be made somewhat easier by simply cutting out junk foods and cooking from scratch. Fast foods are notoriously high in phosphorus as are any foods containing with lots of additives (look out for additives ending with “phos” in them. There are literally dozens of additives containing phosphorus.
Typical high phosphorus foods to avoid include: milk, yoghurt, hard cheeses, protetins (a low-protein diet is often recommended for CKD patients), some vegetables (dried beans and peas) as well as whole grain products.
Strange to many, whole-grains are usually seen as ‘better for you’ that white or more refined breads — the opposite is true for patients of CKD looking to maintain a low-phosphorus diet.
Help from Your Doctor and Managing Your CKD
It goes without saying that you should always consult with your doctor and/or dietician before making any changes and take a proactive approach to eating a healthy diet.
While a natural, healthy approach to your chronic kidney disease diet is preferred it can be hard to keep phosphorus levels low and your doctor may prescribe a phosphate binder. The medications help manage serum levels by binding to phosphate in your digestive tract and prevent your body from absorbing them.
If your phosphorus levels are too high, think about your diet, try keeping a food diary and swap to lower phosphorus foods for a while and always consult with your doctor or dietician.
To find out more about diets and recipes for patients with CKD you should consider this practical guide.
Written by an experienced Renal Nurse who worked it’s a comprehensive and helpful guide to managing your diet and disease. Read more HERE