Dialysis is a crucial function of filtering waste from the blood. Without dialysis, toxic wastes build up in the blood and cannot be filtered out by the ailing kidneys. This condition called uremia, meaning “urine in the blood” eventually leads to death by the accumulation of waste. However, while dialysis saves lives, artificially filtering the blood also decrease certain necessary nutrients. By replacing the lost vitamins and minerals and taking antioxidant supplementation, the complications from hemodialysis can be prevented.
Vitamin and Mineral Support
Food are not enough for people in dialysis, they need specific supplementation on certain vitamins and minerals. They may also benefit from manganese, zinc and vitamin C, (depending on deficiencies). Manganese and zinc can be helpful by boosting the immune system and vitamin C increasing blood flow (critical for delivering nutrients to the cells), decrease DNA damage and prevent free radicals from forming.
The process of dialysis removes L-carnitine and the other amino acids used to create it, which cause the deficiency. The FDA approved L-carnitine for dialysis patients, recommended for persistent muscle cramps, hypotension (low blood pressure), skeletal muscle weakness and lack of energy common during dialysis. Clinical trials showed an increase in hemoglobin (the oxygen carrying part of the cells), leading in to a decrease in the amount of erythropoietin (a drug that stimulates increased red blood cell production) needed.
The levels of Coenzyme Q10 can be depleted by dialysis. Two randomized trials have been conducted on Coenzyme Q10 supplementation for people with chronic renal failure. Both studies showed that fewer volunteers taking Coenzyme Q10 needed dialysis.
As a paramedic, I provide transportation to these patients. I have seen a lot of good people taking dialysis, and I am witness of the deterioration and lack of energy they fell. Those patients don’t last much time and they fell miserable and without wanting to live anymore. If you are on dialysis, have your mineral status analyzed before taking any supplements to determine the concentration of minerals in blood serum, white blood cells (WBC), and red blood cells (RBC).
A doctor knowledgeable in nutritional medicine should be able to help you decide which test you need. A good communication with your doctor is crucial, ask your doctor about this topic and supplementation alternatives that will help the patient. Suggesting these recommendations to the ones you know taking dialysis, could make the difference during this process.