The kidneys are essential for eliminating waste from the body, preserving the ideal electrolyte balance, and controlling the production of red blood cells. These essential functions are necessary to maintain the health and well-being of the body. It is therefore not surprising that there are a tonne of dietary supplements available on the market promising to enhance kidney function. But do they really work?
Most supplements to improve kidney function available on the market have little scientific evidence supporting their ability to improve kidney function.
Vitamins D, B12, and C are essential in maintaining healthy kidney function, but excess amounts can cause conditions that can damage the kidneys.
Incorporating healthy lifestyle changes into your daily routine can help maintain and improve the health of your kidneys.
Consult your doctor before beginning any new vitamin or supplement, especially if you have kidney disease, to make sure it will not conflict with any existing prescriptions and is safe.
Continue reading to find out more about kidney supplements, what supplements are bad for kidneys, and how to take the best possible care of your kidneys.
Kidney support supplements: what are they?
Kidney health supplements claim to improve kidney function and support the health of the kidney. These products can contain herbal, vitamin, and mineral ingredients. Botanical ingredients commonly contained in natural kidney supplements include cranberry extract, dandelion root, and marshmallow root, among many others.
Vitamins B12, D, and C are some of the best supplements for kidneys because they are essential for the kidney to carry out its daily tasks. Even though these vitamins are essential, taking large amounts of them can harm the kidneys or even cause negative effects. This emphasizes how crucial it is to know which supplements are harmful to the kidneys.
For people with kidney disease, prescription vitamins such as vitamin D are available. These are intended to supplement vitamin D in patients with kidney disease who are unable to produce it on their own. These prescription medications should only be taken as directed by a doctor because they need to be closely monitored.
Do supplements to improve kidney function actually work?
While many supplements to improve kidney function may provide beneficial effects to the body, there is very little scientific evidence that botanical supplements can improve or help with kidney function. Furthermore, certain ingredients might be hazardous to patients with specific kidney diseases or potentially harmful to the kidneys. Supplements can also interact with other medications and should be used with caution.
If you are thinking about taking a supplement, talk to your doctor to make sure it is safe to take. Vitamin and mineral supplements, like those containing vitamins D and B12, can support the healthy functioning of the kidneys but should only be taken to supplement a diet lacking in certain vitamins. Taking too much of these vitamins can be harmful, especially in those with impaired kidney function.
Is it safe to take supplements to improve kidney function?
It is important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of taking a kidney support supplement before deciding to take it. Other medical conditions and prescription drugs should be considered in this evaluation as well, since these may interfere with the effects of different herbal, vitamin, and mineral supplements.
Natural supplements are not well-supported by research, so their benefit-to-risk ratios are probably going to be negative when it comes to enhancing kidney function. However, some vitamins and minerals can be helpful, particularly when there are deficiencies; however, you should be careful to make sure you are getting the right amounts.
It is therefore best to take these as directed by your doctor.
What supplements can cause harm to kidneys?
- Vitamin D is important in helping the kidney manage the levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood. When taken in excess, it can cause the levels of calcium and/or phosphorus to become too high and result in adverse reactions such as nausea and vomiting and the development of kidney stones.
- Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that can aid in protecting the body from free radical damage. On the other hand, if consumed in excess, it may raise urine acidity and result in kidney stones.
- Since the kidneys are the primary organs responsible for regulating blood potassium levels, taking supplements containing potassium can be hazardous for patients with impaired kidney function. Elevated blood levels of potassium can cause heart arrhythmias and other health emergencies.
It is therefore important to check the labels of all supplements to make sure any potentially dangerous ingredients are absent.
What can you do for your kidney health
You can take a number of proactive steps to improve the condition of your kidneys and stop chronic kidney disease from developing. These include:
- Eating a balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. Healthy diets low in highly processed foods and sugar may reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which are known risk factors for kidney disease.
- Reduce salt in your diet. Low-sodium diets may help manage and reduce blood pressure.
- Stop smoking. Smokers are four times more likely to develop kidney failure compared to non-smokers.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water can help flush the kidneys of waste compounds.
- Stay active. Obtaining adequate exercise may reduce blood pressure, prevent or manage diabetes, and support the maintenance of a healthy weight.
- Safe use of over-the-counter pain medications. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) can damage the kidneys when high doses are used long-term; hence, caution is necessary.
- Maintain an adequate sleep schedule. Sleep is important for kidney health and can have a direct impact on kidney function.
What supplements are good for kidneys?
Vitamin B12, D, and C supplements may support kidney function; however, individuals with vitamin deficiencies should benefit most from using them. Patients on restricted diets, such as vegetarians and vegans, may also find benefit from taking a supplement that contains these vitamins.
Are there any supplements that can improve kidney function?
The best way to improve kidney function is to incorporate healthy lifestyle practices—like regular exercise, enough sleep, and hydration—into your daily routine. Supplements should only be used to treat deficiencies like those in vitamin D and B12 to improve kidney function.
How can I maintain my kidney health?
Maintaining healthy kidney function greatly depends on preventing chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. Exercise, eating a balanced diet, reducing salt and sugar intake, smoking cessation, and adequate hydration and sleep are all important in maintaining your kidney health.
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Preventing Chronic Kidney Disease.
- Food and Chemical Toxicology. Kidney toxicity related to herbs and dietary supplements: Online table of case reports. Part 3 of 5 series.
- Nutrients. Dietary Antioxidant Supplements and Uric Acid in Chronic Kidney Disease: A Review.