Supplements for Dialysis Patients

Nutrition supplements come in a variety of forms. They are called supplements because their role is to add certain nutrients to your regular diet. Dialysis patients often benefit from supplements due to the nature of their treatment and particular nutrition needs. Physicians and registered dietitians often prescribe or recommend supplements that will benefit an individual patient.

Nutrition and Dialysis

Dialysis is the treatment used for individuals with end stage renal disease 12. Diet is a vital component to living well on dialysis 2. A dialysis patient will need to limit certain nutrients, such as water, sodium, phosphorus and potassium. Dialysis patients often experience decreased appetite, and some nutrients are lost during dialysis treatment, requiring patients to increase their intake of nutrients, such as protein, vitamins B and C, and sometimes overall calories.

Liquid Supplements

Liquid supplements are common and fairly easy to obtain. A typical 8 oz. container of one of these regular drinks contains about 10 g of protein and 240 calories. The some versions of the beverages have about 350 calories and 13 to 14 g protein. High-protein versions have 12 to 15 g protein per 240 calories. Dialysis-friendly formulas are higher in overall protein and calories but lower in phosphorus and potassium.

Powder Supplements

Due to the dietary restrictions, it can be a challenge for dialysis patients to get enough protein while maintaining their phosphorus restriction. Protein powder supplements are a good protein supplement option for these individuals. Low phosphorus protein powders include 100 percent whey protein powder.

Vitamin and Mineral Supplements

Some vitamins and minerals can be lost during a dialysis treatment 1. These are usually water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins C and B. Zinc, iron, calcium and vitamin D are also prescribed to some dialysis patients. Ask your physician before taking any over-the-counter supplements, because some may contain ingredients that can be harmful to your health. There are some companies that make dialysis-specific multivitamins.


Dialysis patients should discuss the use of any supplement with their kidney doctor or their dietitian 1. Each clinical case is different, and these statements are based on general population needs and are not prescriptions for an individual patient.