Kidney Diet Tips

Are phosphorus binders really that important in the dialysis diet?


For people on dialysis too much phosphorus can harm their hearts and make bones weak. Excess phosphorus is normally removed by working kidneys through urine. However, for those with kidney failure, they are no longer able to remove phosphorus and it builds up in their blood stream. Dialysis helps remove some of the phosphorus, but the key to keeping phosphorus normal is to limit how much is consumed. In addition to eating low-phosphorus foods, phosphorus binders are prescribed.  “Binders” act like sponges to keep phosphorus out of the blood.

Unlike other medicines, phosphorus binders work in the stomach and GI (gastrointestinal) track to absorb phosphorus before it can go into the blood. To be effective, binders need to be taken at the same time meals (and phosphorus containing snacks) are eaten.Examples of binders are Tums, Phoslo, Renagel and Fosrenol.

Sara Colman, RDN, CDCES

Sara Colman, RDN, CDCES

Sara is a renal dietitian with over 30 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 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.