Kidney Diet Tips

Why are phosphorus binders important?

iStock_000011386435XSmall-pillsPhosphorus is a mineral necessary to maintain good health; however, people with chronic kidney disease who are on dialysis are not able to eliminate excess phosphorus efficiently. High phosphorus levels can lead to heart disease, brittle bones, itchy skin and other complications so a low phosphorus diet as well as phosphorus binders are prescribed to help block some of the phosphorus consumed in foods.

To ensure that you maintain a healthy phosphorus level, take your phosphorus binders as prescribed by your doctor or renal dietitian. Generally, people on a dialysis diet are counseled to take their phosphorus binders at the time they eat. Remember to take phosphorus binders when you eat and limit high phosphorus foods to keep feeling fine on dialysis.

Research on adherence to phosphate binders reveals several reasons patients do not take phosphate binders as prescribed. The main reasons are forgetting to take binders and unaware of the correct prescription. Other reasons include dining out,  pills are too large to carry when away from home, too many pills, difficulty swallowing and binder taste aversions. Fortunately there are more options for binders today compared to several years ago. Phosphate binders are now available in powder and liquid form as well as pills. If you are having difficulty with binder tolerance, talk to your doctor about these options.

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This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Consult your physician and dietitian regarding your specific diagnosis, treatment, diet and health questions.

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.