Protein and the Prevention/Treatment of Kidney Disease

Our kidneys play an important role in our health, and it is essential that we do everything possible to keep our kidneys healthy so that they can continue doing their job, the main one being to filter waste and fluids from the bloodstream. Millions of Americans are suffering from kidney disease, which can often be fatal if not treated properly or in a timely manner.

The kidneys are small organs, measuring just four inches in length and weighing less than one pound. There are many diseases that affect the kidneys, including chronic kidney disease (CKD), which affects more than 25 million Americans. Over time, this is a condition that can lead to kidney failure, and in some cases, death.

Another condition that involves the kidneys includes kidney stones, which can be caused by such conditions as gout. Other conditions that can cause kidney stones are hypercalcuria, a buildup of calcium in the body, and cystinuria and hyperoxaluria, both inherited metabolic conditions. One thing that everyone can do to help prevent and treat a number of kidney conditions is by eating a healthy, well-balanced diet that has the right amount of protein.

How to Know How Much is Enough Protein

According to the American Heart Association, the average adult needs to have protein make up about 35% of their daily caloric intake. For those who are unsure of how much that should be, they can find out by consulting their physicians. Remember, although protein is necessary, it is also not healthy to get too much protein either. As a rule, most adults need to have approximately .8 grams of protein per each kilogram of their body weight. The easiest way to figure out exactly how much protein is needed by an individual is to take that person’s weight in pounds, multiply it by 2.2, and then multiply by one of the following numbers:

– .4 for those with a sedentary lifestyle

– .5 to .8 for those who are moderately active

– .8 to 1 for those who are very active

Getting the Protein You Need

It is not all that difficult to find ways to get sufficient protein in our diets. There are many delicious dietary sources of protein, which also provide loads of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that our bodies need. It is important that everyone, including patients with kidney disease, have the right amount of protein in their diets. After all, protein is necessary for survival, but too much protein can have ill effects on the body. It is extremely important that everyone, especially those who are suffering from kidney disease, consult a physician before beginning any diet plan to make sure that their diet will provide the proper nutrients, including the protein that they need.

It is easy to get plenty of protein through a healthy, well-balanced diet. Some delicious sources of protein include lean red meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, whole grains, beans and milk and milk products, just to name a few. Unfortunately, for whatever reasons, many people, including patients with kidney disease, are not getting enough protein in their diets. But this can be easily corrected by using protein supplements, which also provide other necessary vitamins and nutrients.

Sources of Protein for Supplements

Whey: This is an all-natural protein. It is actually a milk derivative, a byproduct from the cheese-making process. In fact, some of the protein supplements on the market are made directly from milk. Whey is a complete protein because it contains all 22 of the essential and non-essential amino acids.

Casein: This is another popular type of protein supplement, although it takes longer to digest than whey. Casein is a protein supplement that is okay for lactose intolerant people to use, as long as they make sure that it has not been combined with a milk product. People who are allergic to milk should avoid casein and try another type of protein, such as rice or soy.

Soy: Soy is also a terrific choice for people with allergies, vegetarians and those who are lactose intolerant. Soy is another complete protein and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. Soy is low on the glycemic index, so it will not cause dramatic rises in blood glucose levels.

Rice: Here is another great source of protein supplements for vegetarians and people who are lactose intolerant. Rice protein is a hypoallergenic protein, and it is terrific for people with allergies. Rice protein is gluten-free and is low in fat and carbohydrates, so it is great for dieters too. It is usually an inexpensive type of protein supplement, and because it is essentially flavorless, it can be used for shakes, smoothies and in recipes without changing the taste.

Types of Protein Supplements

One of the more popular protein supplements on the market today, perhaps because it is low in calories, is Profect, by Protica. This is a small, 2.9 fluid ounce shot of protein which only contains 100 calories. In addition to providing 25 grams of protein per serving, Profect also provides 100% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C as well as 10% of the recommended amount of B complex vitamins. And as an added bonus, Profect is low in fat and carbohydrates, making it an excellent choice for those on restricted diets. Profect comes in a variety of delicious flavors, including Blue Raspberry, Passion Fruit, Grapefruit-Mango and Orange-Pineapple.

Some other popular protein supplements include liquid supplements and protein powders.

Protein Powders – Protein powders are the most versatile form of protein supplement and can be used in a number of delicious shakes and smoothies, as well as be added to many favorite recipes. Protein powders can be used as meal replacements, and in addition to coming in unflavored varieties which are great for cooking, great drinks can be made with the chocolate, vanilla, berry and fruit punch flavored powders.

Liquid Protein – Liquid protein can be purchased to mix into drinks and meals, or they are also available in pre-mixed, ready-to-drink forms that are convenient and easy to carry. Many people, including patients with kidney failure, use liquid protein supplements as meal replacements. Because most liquid protein supplements are made from milk-based proteins, such as whey and casein, it is recommended that those who are lactose intolerant or are allergic to milk and milk products look for supplements made with soy, rice or egg instead.

These and other protein supplements will help to make sure that everyone, including patients with kidney conditions, are getting the amount of protein that they need in order to stay healthy.

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