Kidney Diet Tips

Fish Oil Supplements and Kidney Disease

istock_000008239540fishoilEating more fish high in omega-3 fatty acids and taking fish oil supplements may reduce inflammation and cardiovascular disease (CVD)—that’s not a new finding.  If you have diabetes or chronic kidney disease (CKD) it’s important to know and practice because both diseases are risk factors for CVD.  In fact, many CKD patients already have a diagnosis of CVD before kidney problems are detected.

What if you don’t eat fish?  You could try fish oil supplements (check with your doctor first).  Studies with prescription grade fish oil supplements have shown reductions in triglycerides and increases in HDL cholesterol (the good one).  Research recently published in the Journal of Renal Nutrition (July 2009, Bowden) studied over-the-counter fish oil supplements to see if taking these has a effect on blood fats.  Participants took fish oil concentrate capsules daily for six months.  The study concluded  that over-the-counter fish oil supplements help lower CVD risk in end stage renal disease patients related to an increase in HDL cholesterol (the good one) and a decrease in LDL particles (the bad one).

Eating fish may be even more beneficial than taking supplements.  Not all fish are created equal.  Herring, mackerel, rainbow trout, salmon and tuna are higher in omega-3 fatty acids compared to many other fish.  Add these to your diet several times a week to make a difference.  It’s easy if you plan fish into your weekly meals— eat a tuna sandwich for lunch or make a snack with low sodium crackers, pan-fry trout fillets, make salmon burgers or try grilled salmon or mackerel. offers several fish recipes.  Try one this week to help boost your omega-3 level and protect against cardiovascular disease.

Here are some of my favorites:

Baked or Grilled Trout

Honey Spice Rubbed Salmon

Mahi Fish on the Green

Southwest Tuna Salad

Tuna Pasta Salad

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DaVita Diet Helper

Sara Colman, RD, CDE

Sara is a renal dietitian with over 20 years experience working with people with diabetes and kidney disease. She is co-author of the popular kidney cookbook "Cooking for David: A Culinary Dialysis Cookbook". Sara is currently the Manager of Kidney Care Nutrition for DaVita. She analyzes recipes and creates content, resources and tools for the kidney community. In her spare time Sara loves to spend time with her young grandson, including fun times together in her kitchen.