Good food routine #5

Get your vitamins

We all need vitamins. We could not live without them. They are essential for functions such as energy, growth and repair. As most of them cannot be manufactured in a sufficient quantity by the body itself, they must be obtained from food or through supplementation. As with potassium and phosphate, the consumption of these vital nutrients needs attention.

How are my vitamin needs different?

Dialysis is a filtering process. And during this process a part of the vitamins are filtered out too. All these factors put together, your need for vitamins is increased and a regular balanced diet regarding vitamins is not enough. Therefore, vitamin supplements are usually a necessity. What your individual need for vitamins is, and which supplements you need to take, is determined by your doctor.

I can get all kinds of vitamins at the drugstore or the supermarket. Can’t I take those?

You shouldn’t. For two very important reasons: First of all, only a professional can find out just how much more vitamin uptake you need. Secondly, not all vitamins need to be supplemented, some even need to be handled with care, like Vitamin A.

Which vitamins are most important for me?

Generally, all water soluble vitamins should be supplemented, like vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, folic acid, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin and a small dose of vitamin C. While some people claim that large “megadoses” of vitamin C are beneficial to health, dialysis patients should avoid a large vitamin C intake at all costs. Your body breaks it down into a substance called “oxalate”, which may accumulate and deposit in bones and joints and may cause pain.

Are there any vitamins that I should avoid?

Another group of vitamins are fat soluble, and as a consequence they tend to build up in your body. Therefore these vitamins – A, D, E, and K – should only be supplemented if your doctor thinks it’s necessary. This is another reason why you should avoid over-the-counter vitamin supplements.

Remember

  • not all vitamins should be supplemented
  • contrary to common belief, lots of vitamin C can be harmful
  • stay away from over-the-counter vitamin supplements
  • let your doctor determine your individual needs and prescribe the right product for you

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Good Food Summary

In order to help you remember the good food routines, we have prepared a really simple memorising exercise