Could a kidney patient double up on a multivitamin instead of taking renal vitamins?
Multivitamins or standard over-the-counter supplements are not suggested for dialysis patients as a replacement for renal vitamins for several reasons:
- Patients with kidney failure require more folic acid. Multivitamins and standard supplements do not supply enough folic acid to meet the requirements of those with end stage renal disease.
- All supplements that contain vitamin A are avoided in chronic kidney disease because the damaged kidneys are unable to remove it from the body. Excess vitamin A is very toxic.
- Vitamin D in a multivitamin or standard vitamin D supplement cannot be used by the body since the damaged kidney can no longer activate it. Special activated vitamin D formulas are prescribed if needed, along with careful monitoring of calcium, phosphorus and parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels.
- Vitamin C doses above the RDA are not recommended for kidney patients because it increases risk for oxalate deposits and kidney stones. Doubling up on a multivitamin or taking additional vitamin C can easily exceed the goal for dialysis patients.
- Cost may be higher if multiple supplements are purchased to replace renal vitamins. Many prescription plans cover the cost of renal vitamins. Some pharmacies offer generic over-the-counter brands at a lower price.
- Why add more pills than needed? Most kidney patients already take many pills.