By Derek Benoit
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If you know a dialysis patient, they need this protein information. It’s as simple as that. Yes, they likely will have consultations with nutritionists with the basics of dialysis and protein. Unfortunately, what they won’t really have as a take away, is WHY protein is so important for dialysis patients. I’m in the second dialysis period of my life and hoping for my second transplant. Believe me, protein matters.
How Dialysis Eats Protein
Between hemodialysis itself, and processes within the body from chronic kidney diseases, a general process takes place in HD patients. This process is called Protein Energy Wasting. Proteins are essentially mushed through the blood filtration process, while other CKD bad juju further degrades the protein you ingest and attempt to process. Ultimately, this means that you lose a large chunk of the proteins you attempt to use to fuel your body. (Ikizler, 2013). Total loss per dialysis treatment can range from 6-12grams of amino acids. That’s a lot! (Tointon, 2021).
As a result of all this protein destruction, across-the-board risk of hospitalizations for CKD patients goes up. The challenge is to decrease such risk by increasing effective protein intake to the body to offset loss born from hemodialysis (Ikizler, 2013).
How Much Protein You Need in Your Diet
The albumin that helps fuel your body, specifically found in your organs and blood, is partly destroyed by the afore-mentioned Protein Energy Wasting. The albumin you need, CKD/dialysis patient or not, comes from a variety of sources. It also helps keep the fluid you need to remove in your blood, from which it can be removed. Such decreases or eliminates the occurrence of edema, the swelling seen about the ankles and lower legs (Tointon, 2021).
Target protein levels for dialysis patients are 4.0 or higher. Any lower and surgery, infection, apetite-stiffling illness, inflammation, or dialysis will seriously compromise the body’s ability to carry out vital life functions. There are several steps one can take regarding protein intake to ward off such problems!
- Limit fluid intake-such limits albumin dilution
- Have a larger serving of protein at every meal
- Keep high-protein snacks on hand
- Be sure to eat a snack at bedtime
- Take phosphorus binders with meals-protein and phosphorus (and potassium!) tend to go hand-in-hand
“Normal” range for albumin is considered from 3.5-5.5. If you’re looking for rough estimates. At the very least, dialysis patients are recommended to consume from 1.0-1.2 grams of protein per kilogram per day. That’s “at the very least.” Remember your conversions? 1,000 grams per kilogram, x’s 2.2lbs per kilogram, x’s 16oz per lb. should give you a rough estimate of how many ounces you need (Tointon, 2021).
What I’m Taking as a Dialysis Suplement
I’m not afraid to tell anyone I love meat. My interest in hunting began with the culinary side of the activity as illustrated on the Outdoor Channel. Still, I tend to fill up quickly thanks to diabetic gastroparesis. This means that large meals simply don’t move along like they should, causing serious blood sugar issues. Thus, I need a supplement to help me make up for lost nutritional needs, which of course, includes protein.
At present, I’m taking Nestle Health Science’s Novasource Renal. It comes in three flavors: cafe mocha, strawberry, and my personal favorite, vanilla. The biggest competitor of which I’m aware is Nepro. Not only is the flavor better with Novasource Renal, but it has more carbs and protein. NS Renal also has less potassium and sodium. The only knock against it would be the slightly higher phosphorous amount. Should phosphorous be an absolute deal breaker, then I suggest Nepro. I take 2 servings of NS Renal per day, depending on how many meals I can get down. I take a max of three of these guys.
Novasource Renal runs around $100.00 per carton, which isn’t chump change. However, your dialysis clinic may have an active coupon code available for this product. I don’t think Nestle would appreciate me giving out pricing secrets, but the savings with the clinic-provided coupon is substantial. Like, really, substantial. Such is an opportunity you should not overlook! One does not have to create an account, but I suggest it as it’ll allow you to keep the coupon code handly.
Here is the full head-to-head review I did for Nepro and NS Renal earlier this year: https://the-outdoor-phoenix-community.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=329&action=edit
For More Information on Novasource Renal, Please Visit: https://www.novasourcerenal.com/
Feibig, C. (June 13th, 2017). A dietician’s guide to protein for dialysis Patients. Kidneyfund.org. Kidney Today. Blog. https://www.kidneyfund.org/kidney-today/a-dietitians-guide-to-protein-for-dialysis-patients.html
Ikizler, T. (March 2013). Optimal nutrition in hemodialysis Treatments. Nutrition and Chronic Kindey Disease. Volume 20, Issue 2, p111-202. https://doi.org/10.1053/j.ackd.2012.12.002. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3582995/
Tointon, M. (2021). How much protein does a dialysis patient Need? Dialysisdietician.com. https://dialysisdietitian.com/how-much-protein-does-a-dialysis-patient-need/