There is severe Protein Loss in urine in Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) & Kidney Failure. However, your medical team still advises you to Eat Less Protein.
Sounds counter-productive right?!
It is here that you’ve got to remember an important bit.
The protein that is lost in urine is not the protein that you eat.
Instead, CKD patients leak-out something called PLASMA PROTEINS in urine. These are special proteins formed within our body, that float in our bloodstream & carry out a number of crucial functions in the body that are essential for our survival.
Normally, healthy kidneys have an extremely sophisticated filtration system that effectively blocks any of the essential proteins from our blood from leaking out into the Urine. However, in kidney patients, these delicate filters get damaged & scarred over time. This is why, there is rampant loss of plasma proteins such as Albumin in urine. This is especially so, in the advanced stages of the disease.
HOW DOES A LOW-PROTEIN DIET HELP?
The Protein that we eat breaks down into small units called Amino Acids upon digestion. Once these serve tissue-repair & strengthening roles in our body, they generate a very toxic compound called Ammonia. Our Liver constantly turns all of this Ammonia into a relatively less toxic waste called UREA. It is true, that the Liver uses some amino acids from digesting proteins in food get to form various Plasma Proteins such as Albumin. However, this process is a lot slower than the rate of Urea production by Liver.
In normal health, Urea is constantly removed by our Kidneys to keep our bodies spic-n-span. But in CKD, unwell kidneys are unable to remove Urea as effectively as they otherwise should. This in-turn reflects as high blood urea levels in our blood reports, especially in advanced stages of Chronic Kidney Disease.
With a high protein diet, any minute improvement in plasma protein levels measures poorly against the quantity of Urea that forms daily. This undesirably burdens your “unwell” kidneys with more waste to remove. This means a greater workload & damage for a minuscule benefit.
So always remember to stick to a low-protein diet when following a Renal Diet Plan.
BUT DIALYSIS CALLS FOR INCREASING PROTEIN INTAKE. WHY?!
If you are on Dialysis, your medical team may advise you to start clinically approved protein powders in your diet.
A lot of care teams worldwide attribute this as being a “compensation for greater protein loss during dialysis”. But as we have explained above, increasing protein in food is NOT the best way to pump up plasma protein levels diminishing during Dialysis. Advising Protein Powders during Dialysis has more to do with improving overall tissue repair capabilities & the general nutritional status of a CKD patient; it is not a direct compensation for Plasma Protein loss in Urine.
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FIND A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE ON PROTEIN IN CKD HERE.
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