Kidney Diet Tips

6 Guidelines for Controlling Phosphorus

6 Guidelines for Controlling Phosphorus
1. Follow a low phosphorus diet. Aim for 1000 mg or less each day.
2. Read food labels and avoid those with phosphate additives and high phosphorus ingredients.
3. Learn which foods are high in phosphorus and discover lower phosphorus substitutions.
4. Prepare meals at home using as many fresh, unprocessed ingredients as possible. Start a collection of kidney-friendly recipes.
5. Take phosphorus binders as prescribed each time you eat.
6. Be sure you are getting enough dialysis—it’s the only way to remove excess phosphorus from your blood.

Managing phosphorus is one of the biggest challenges for people with kidney disease. Levels may be normal in earlier stages, but as kidney failure advances more phosphorus accumulates in the body. A combination of excess phosphorus and loss of vitamin D activation creates a spiraling event in which parathyroid hormone (PTH) rises, calcium absorption from the gut decreases and bones start releasing calcium in an effort to restore balance. When calcium and phosphorus meet in the body in high concentrations a condition called calcification occurs. The results of uncontrolled phosphorus are calcifications in the heart, lungs, skin and other soft tissues and bone disease called renal osteodystrophy .

By following the above guidelines people with chronic kidney failure and those on dialysis can take control and make a difference in their health by keeping phosphorus below 5.5 mg/dL. The result is stronger bones and greater mobility, a healthier heart, less itching, clear eyes without redness and absence of calcium-phosphorus lesions on the skin. The big payoff is feeling better and staying as healthy as possible.

Sara Colman, RD, CDE

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.