1. Kidney Disease and Potassium: How to Create a Kidney-Friendly Diet

    Kidney Disease and Potassium: How to Create a Kidney-Friendly Diet

    The main job of the kidneys is to clean your blood of excess fluids and waste products. When functioning normally, these fist-sized powerhouses can filter 120-150 quarts of blood each day, producing one to two quarts of urine. This helps prevent waste buildup in the body. It also helps keep electrolytes, such as sodium, phosphates, and potassium at stable levels. 

    People with kidney disease have diminished renal function. They’re typically unable to regulate potassium efficiently. This can cause hazardous levels of potassium to remain in the blood. Some medications used to treat kidney disease also raise potassium, which can add to the problem. 

    High potassium levels usually develop slowly over weeks or months. This can lead to feelings of fatigue or nausea.

    If your potassium spikes suddenly, you may experience difficulty breathing, chest pain, or heart palpitations. If you begin experiencing these symptoms, call your local emergency services. This condition, called hyperkalemia, requires immediate medical care.

    How can I minimize my potassium build-up?

    One of the best ways to reduce potassium buildup is to make dietary changes. To do that, you’ll need to learn which foods are high in potassium and which are low. Be sure to do your research and read the nutritional labels on your food. 

    Keep in mind that it isn’t just what you eat that counts, but also how much you eat. Portion control is important to the success of any kidney-friendly diet. Even a food that’s considered low in potassium can spike your levels if you eat too much of it.

    Foods are considered low in potassium if they contain 200 milligrams (mg) or less per serving. 

    Some low-potassium foods include:

    • berries, such as strawberries and blueberries
    • apples
    • grapefruit 
    • pineapple
    • cranberries and cranberry juice
    • cauliflower 
    • broccoli
    • eggplant 
    • green beans
    • white rice
    • white pasta
    • white bread
    • salmon

    Foods are considered high in potassium if they contain more than 200 mg per serving. These should be eaten in very small quantities, or avoided completely. 

    Limit high-potassium foods such as:

    • bananas
    • avocados
    • raisins
    • prunes and prune juice
    • oranges and orange Juice
    • tomatoes, tomato juice, and tomato sauce 
    • lentils
    • spinach
    • Brussels sprouts
    • split peas 
    • potatoes (regular and sweet)
    • pumpkin
    • dried apricots
    • brown or wild rice
    • whole wheat products, including pasta and bread
    • milk
    • bran products
    • low-sodium cheese
    • nuts
    • beef
    • chicken
    • tuna

    How to leach potassium from fruits and vegetables

    If you can, swap canned fruits and vegetables for their fresh or frozen counterparts. The potassium in canned goods leaches into the water or juice in the can. If you use this juice in your meal or drink it, it can cause a spike in your potassium levels. 

    The juice usually has a high salt content, which will cause the body to hold onto water. This can lead to complications with your kidneys. This is also true of meat juice, so be sure to avoid this, too.

    If you only have canned goods on hand, be sure to drain the juice and discard it. You should also rinse the canned food with water. This can reduce the amount of potassium you consume.

    If you’re cooking a dish that calls for a high-potassium vegetable and you don’t wish to substitute, you can actually pull some of the potassium from the veggie.

    The National Kidney Foundation advises the following approach to leaching potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, winter squash, and rutabagas:

    1. Peel the vegetable and place it in cold water so that it won’t darken.
    2. Slice the vegetable into 1/8-inch-thick parts. 
    3. Rinse it in warm water for a few seconds.
    4. Soak the pieces for a minimum of two hours in warm water. Use 10 times the amount of water to the amount of vegetable. If you soak the vegetable for longer, be sure to change the water every four hours.
    5. Rinse the vegetable under warm water again for a few seconds.
    6. Cook the vegetable with five times the amount of water to the amount of vegetable.

    How much potassium is safe?
    People with functioning kidneys need around 4,700 mg of potassium in their daily diet. However, people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) should consume much less — around 1,500 to 2,700 mg each day. 

    If you have CKD, you should have your potassium checked once a month by your doctor. They’ll do this with a simple blood test. The blood test will determine your monthly level of potassium millimoles per liter of blood (mmol/L). 

    The three levels are:

    • Safe zone: 3.5 to 5.0 mmol/L
    • Caution zone: 5.1 to 6.0 mmol/L
    • Danger zone: 6.0 mmol/L or higher

    Your doctor can work with you to determine how much potassium you should ingest daily, while also maintaining the highest level of nutrition possible. They’ll also monitor your levels to ensure that you’re staying within a safe range. 

    People with high potassium levels do not always have symptoms, so being monitored is important. If you do have symptoms, they may include: 

    • fatigue
    • weakness
    • numbness or tingling
    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • chest pain
    • irregular pulse
    • erratic or low heartbeat
    How can kidney disease affect my other nutritional needs?

    If you have kidney disease, meeting your nutritional needs may be easier than you think. The trick is getting the hang of what you can eat and what you should reduce or remove from your diet. 

    Eating smaller portions of protein, such as chicken and beef, is important. A protein-rich diet can cause your kidneys to work too hard. Reducing your protein intake by practicing portion control may help.

    Sodium may increase thirst and lead you to drink too many fluids, or cause bodily swelling, both of which are bad for your kidneys. Sodium is a hidden ingredient in many packaged foods, so make sure to read the labels. Instead of reaching for the salt to season your dish, opt for herbs and other seasonings that don’t include sodium or potassium. 

    You’ll also likely need to take a phosphate binder with your meals. This can prevent your phosphorus levels from getting too high. If these levels get too high, it can cause an inverse drop in calcium, leading to weak bones.

    You may also consider limiting your cholesterol and total fat intake. When your kidneys don’t filter effectively, eating foods heavy in these components is harder on your body. Becoming overweight due to a poor diet can also put added stress on your kidneys.

    Can I still eat out if I have kidney disease?

    You may find eating out to be challenging at first, but you can find kidney-friendly foods in almost every type of cuisine. For example, grilled or broiled meat and seafood are good options at most American restaurants. You can also opt for a salad instead of a potato-based side like fries, chips, or mashed potatoes. 

    If you’re at an Italian restaurant, skip the sausage and pepperoni. Instead, stick to a simple salad and pasta with non-tomato-based sauce. If you’re eating Indian food, go for the curry dishes or Tandoori chicken. Be sure to avoid lentils. 

    Always request no added salt, and have dressings and sauces served on the side. Portion control is a helpful tool. You can usually order child-sized portions if the food is too high in sodium or potassium. 

    Some cuisines, such as Chinese or Japanese, are generally higher in sodium. Ordering in these types of restaurants may require more finesse. Choose dishes with steamed, instead of fried, rice. Don’t add soy sauce, fish sauce, or anything containing MSG into your meal.

    Deli meats are also high in salt and should be avoided.

    The bottom line

    If you have kidney disease, reducing your potassium intake will be an important aspect of your day-to-day life. Your dietary needs may continue to shift and will require monitoring if your kidney disease progresses. 

    In addition to working with your doctor, you may find it helpful to meet with a renal dietitian. They can teach you how to read nutrition labels, watch your portions, and even plan out your meals each week. 

    Learning how to cook with different spices and seasonings can help you reduce your salt intake. Most salt substitutes are made with potassium, so they are off limits.

    You should also check in with your doctor about how much fluid to take in each day. Drinking too much liquid, even water, may tax your kidneys.

    KidneyVite is the first and only renal multivitamin formulated by leading nephrologists containing key ingredients for your health needs, and nothing else that might be harmful or unnecessary. 

    This article was previosly published and appeared on

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  2. You Might Want To Think Twice Before Drinking That Ice Cold Diet Soda

    You Might Want To Think Twice Before Drinking That Ice Cold Diet Soda

    People who frequently consume artificially sweetened diet sodas appear to have greater risks of end-stage renal disease (ESRD), according to a new study.

    Within a general population, ESRD risk was greater by 8%, 33%, and 83%, for those who consumed 1–4, 5–7, and more than 7 (8-ounce) glasses of diet soft drinks each week, respectively, compared with those who consumed less. The investigators found weaker associations between diet soda intake and earlier stages of kidney disease.

    “Given the high prevalence of diet soda consumption in the United States, this finding could have a significant public health effect,” Casey M. Rebholz, PhD, MS, MPH, of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, and colleagues concluded in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

    For their analysis of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study, Dr Rebholz and colleagues prospectively analyzed diet soda consumption, assessed by food frequency questionnaires for 15,368 black and white participants (aged 45 to 64) during 1987 to 1989 and 1993 to 1995. During 23 years of follow up through 2012, ESRD developed in 357 participants.

    To minimize confounding, the investigators adjusted results for demographic and lifestyle features such as age, sex, race, education, smoking, physical activity, and daily calories. They also accounted for established ESRD risk factors, including body mass index (BMI), diabetes, systolic blood pressure, serum uric acid, and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). Although ESRD risks were similar by BMI category, the only significant association between diet soda intake and ESRD was found for individuals who were overweight or obese at baseline. Among participants, 12% had diabetes and 35% had hypertension. Baseline eGFR was 102.5 mL/min/1.73 m2, on average. 

    Since diet can influence kidney disease progression, the investigators further adjusted for dietary acid load – the balance of acid-inducing foods such as meats, eggs, and cheese and base-inducing foods including fruits and vegetables—overall diet quality, sodium intake, fructose consumption, and sugar-sweetened beverages. In analyses, sugary drinks were not significantly associated with ESRD.

    Dietary phosphorus was higher among frequent consumers of diet soft drinks. Both sugar-sweetened and diet sodas contain phosphorus additives, which can increase serum phosphorus and fibroblast growth factor-23. A previous analysis of the same study population found double the risk of ESRD among those with the highest versus lowest levels of fibroblast growth factor-23, according to findings published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (2015;26:192-200). Phosphorus additives in diet soda can also increase dietary acid load and thereby contribute to ESRD. 

    When the investigators adjusted results for dietary phosphorus, they found no relationship. However, food frequency questionnaires may underestimate the intake of micronutrients such as phosphorus. Several other mechanisms linking diet soft drinks and ESRD are likewise plausible, such as impaired glucose metabolism, although the investigators adjusted for diabetes.  

    It is important to know that kidney patients require particular attention when it comes to diet. MyGen Labs takes out the stress of choosing multivitamins, by offering a highly tailored range of ingredients to meet your very own medical needs. Our world-class scientific advisory board makes sure that no harmful or unnecessary ingredient will ever be present in any of our products.

    KidneyVite is the first complete multivitamin specifically designed to meet kidney patients' medical needs, providing you with nurturing care to take the stress out of choosing dietary supplements.

    This article was previosly published and appeared on utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20171002Z1_UCM&et_cid=DM160660&et_rid=71083913

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  3. How Vitamin E Helps Fight Cancer

    How Vitamin E Helps Fight Cancer

    Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin with potent antioxidant activity that helps combat damaging free radicals. It also plays a role in the making of red blood cells, helps your body use vitamin K (which is important for heart health) and is involved in your immune function and cell signaling. As with many other nutrients, many do not get enough of this basic micronutrient from their diet. In the U.S. alone, 75 to 90 percent of the population fails to reach the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin E. The RDA for people over the age of 14 is 15 milligrams (mg) of vitamin E per day, but most Americans get only half that amount. Insufficient vitamin E can increase your risk for a wide variety of diseases, including immune dysfunction, cognitive deterioration, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers, especially prostate, colon and lung cancers. Obesity heightens your risk of vitamin E deficiency further, in part because the increased oxidative stress in fat cells increases your body's need for vitamin E to begin with. Obesity also impairs your body's utilization of vitamin E. Food is your best source of vitamin E, since food contain a combination of the eight types of vitamin E. If you're using a supplement, there are key considerations that need to be heeded, which I'll review below.

    Low Vitamin E Level Again Linked to Higher Risk of Colorectal Cancer

    A number of studies have looked at vitamin E's influence on diseases like cancer. It's important to realize that while some studies have linked vitamin E supplementation to an increased risk for cancer, most of those studies were looking at synthetic vitamin E, which I do not recommend using. Natural vitamin E, on the other hand, has a protective effect. Studies assessing the anti-cancer potential of natural vitamin E found that: 300 IUs of natural vitamin E per day may reduce lung cancer risk by 61 percent. Gamma-tocotrienol, a cofactor found in natural vitamin E preparations, may decrease prostate tumor formation by 75 percent. Gamma-tocotrienol also fights existing prostate cancer tumors and may inhibit growth in human breast cancer cells Most recently, a meta-analysis of 11 studies concluded that patients with lower concentrations of serum vitamin E (the vitamin E level in your blood) had a higher risk for colorectal cancer. A much earlier study, published in 1993, also found that high intake of vitamin E helped decrease the risk of colorectal cancer — especially in those under the age of 65. As explained in the study: "Vitamin E is the major lipid-soluble antioxidant found in cell membranes, where it protects against lipid peroxidation. In addition, like carotenoids and water-soluble vitamin C, it can also stimulate the immune system and may protect against the development of cancer by enhancing immune surveillance. Vitamins E and C reduce nitrite, compounds that induce tumors …"

    Other Health Benefits of Natural Vitamin E

    Aside from its cancer-preventive potential, natural vitamin E may also:

    • Lower your risk of heart disease and stroke
    • Help relieve symptoms associated with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, a common obesity-related fatty liver disease
    • Lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss in the elderly
    • Boost improvements in blood vessel function that occur when a smoker quits smoking
    • Delay loss of cognitive function in Alzheimer's patients. Results showed that clinical progression of Alzheimer's slowed by 19 percent per year in the group receiving 2,000 IUs per day of vitamin E, compared with placebo. This delay translated into just over six months of delayed progression over the two-year follow-up period. Caregiver time also increased the least in the group receiving vitamin E.

    This study actually used synthetic alpha-tocopherol that was not balanced with tocotrienols or any of the other tocopherols — beta, gamma and delta. Chances are the benefits would have been even greater if the natural form was used.

    How Much Vitamin E Do You Need for Optimal Health?

    According to one scientific review, a mere 21 percent of the people studied had a protective level of serum vitamin E, which is thought to be 30 micromol per liter (μmol/L). This appears to be the threshold above which "definable effects on human health in multiple areas" are obtained. Human studies have also found that achieving a level of 30 μmol/L requires a daily intake of at least 50 IUs of vitamin E. A primary reason for such widespread deficiency is that most people eat a primarily processed food diet, which tends to be lacking in vitamin E and other important nutrients. Moreover, following a low-fat diet can have the undesirable side effect of lowering your vitamin E level, as your ability to absorb the vitamin E present in the foods you eat or supplements you take is then impaired. Since vitamin E is fat-soluble, taking it with some healthy fat, such as coconut oil or avocado, can help increase its bioavailability. In fact, studies have shown your body will absorb only about 10 percent of the vitamin E from a supplement when you take it without fat.

    Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin E Deficiency and Why Vitamin E Is so Important During Pregnancy

    Signs and symptoms of serious vitamin E deficiency include:

    • Muscle weakness and unsteady gait
    • Loss of muscle mass 
    • Cardiac arrhythmia 
    • Vision problems, including constriction of your visual field; abnormal eye movements; blindness 
    • Dementia Liver and kidney problems 

    Deficiency during pregnancy can be particularly problematic. Worldwide, about 13 percent of people have vitamin E levels below the "functional deficiency" threshold of 12 μmol/L, and most of these are newborns and young children. Babies deficient in vitamin E are at increased risk for immune and vision problems. Being deficient in vitamin E during pregnancy also raises your risk for miscarriage.

    Your Best Source of Vitamin E

    Supplements are best taken in addition to, not in place of, a healthy diet, and only if you actually need them. One way to evaluate your need for a vitamin E or other supplements is to use a nutrient tracker.

    Vitamin E can easily be obtained from a healthy diet, so before considering a supplement, consider including more vitamin E-rich foods in your diet. Vitamin E is synthesized by plants, and the highest amounts are found in plant oils.

    However, while some health authorities recommend canola oil as a good source, this is actually a terrible source. Beans — which are a good source of vitamin E — may also be problematic for many due to their high lectin content. Three general categories of foods that contain higher amounts of vitamin E that will circumvent these potentially problematic sources are:

    • Leafy greens 
    • High-fat foods such as nuts, seeds and fatty fish/seafood, including shrimps and sardines 
    • Oil-rich/high-fat plants such as olives and avocados

    KidneyVite, our state of the art multivitamin-mineral supplement is an excellent source of Vitamin E, with 50 IU or 167% DV. Patients with kidney disease and at risk of kidney-related health issues can be recommended to take dietary supplements that contain Vitamin E as it can help protect cells from oxidation and free radicals, and can help protect against heart disease and some types of cancer.

    This article was previosly published and appeared on

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  4. Greetings from MyGen Labs!

    Greetings from MyGen Labs!

    MyGen Labs is proud to announce a newly redesigned website to better assist you in your research for better health.

    Please do not hesitate to contact us or leave us a comment in case you have any questions or concerns. We would love to hear from you.

    The MyGen Labs Team

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