Anemia Treatment For Kidney Disease: To Help Fatigue in Kidney Patients.
This video is on Anemia and kidney disease. Anemia alongside kidney disease is different than other Anemias because Anemia with kidney disease is caused by the kidney not making enough of erythropoietin (EPO). EPO is a hormone thats needed to make red blood cells and transfer around your iron levels.
What happens in Chronic Kidney Disease and the further stages that you have is you don’t make enough of this hormone (EPO), making you Anemic. So how do you know if you’re anemic? Look on your blood test for a level called hemoglobin. Generally, 13 is normal level for males, so if you’re less than 13 it could be considered Anemia. Some labs are a little different and it might be 12.8. This information is according to the American Society of Nephrology, so they’re just going by a 13 hemoglobin for males and 12 for females. When you drop below these levels, thats when you become Anemic.
Anemia is the biggest cause of fatigue and kidney disease. When I had really late stages of kidney disease, and I had really bad Anemia that wasn’t getting treated, I was exhausted! I wanted to sleep all the time. Unfortunately, a lot of doctors still aren’t addressing Anemia with kidney disease. So, if your values go to 11 or less on your hemoglobin, that’s not good. What happens is when you stay below 11, you make yourself much more prone to a lot more cardiovascular problems such as heart disease. On top of that you actually will lose kidney function faster if you’re anemic. We just found that out a couple of years ago. This really wasn’t common knowledge with some of the first studies around 10-12 years ago.
If you drop below 11 that’s bad, dropping below 10 is really bad. Now, how do you raise that hemoglobin level up? One option is to get an EPO medication or EPO stimulating agents. Ask your doctor, because a lot of times you’re really going to need one of those meds to help correct your Anemia levels because you’re not making the hormone. Another way that you can help correct it is taking iron. In regards to iron, you do have to be a little cautious. Before taking iron, you should have a full iron profile test done and within that iron profile is going to be a test called ferritin.
Ferritin is a storage molecule of iron that’s one of the main values that we check iron status by when you have kidney disease. There is no optimal range that anybody’s come up with, but we like the area of 100. That means you have good amounts of iron stores. Depending on the lab reference range, it can go anywhere from 10–all the way up to 150, 200, or 250. It all depends on the lab value that they’re using. If you’re out of range on the ferritin, you don’t want to take any extra iron. Even if you’re at the high end of the ferritin you don’t want to take extra iron because this causes oxidative stress and free radical damage. Iron will help, but generally it’s going to give you a limited amount of benefit unless you really need it. A lot of times you really need that EPO medication.
You can also check B-12 folic acid which are other causes of Anemia, but they’re not common. Something else that you want to check to help your anemia levels is your albumin–one of the main proteins that we use for malnutrition. If you’re losing a lot of protein, your albumin could be low in the range of 3,4, 3.5% or less. If it’s that low then it’s going to be having an impact on your iron level. You want to correct that so your body will have enough of the proteins it needs to make that hemoglobin along with the iron and the EPO. This can be corrected by eating more protein if this is plausible for your diet.
Other options are using an essential amino acid complex. Our company makes one called Pure Kidney, or you can use a keto analog of essential amino acids. We have other videos that talk about keto analog essential amino acids. We also have another video about the ideal iron for kidney disease. An iron that absorbs better, with less stomach irritation, and less side effects is Iron Bisglycinate. Something else you can try is L-Carnitine– an amino acid. However, I would try that last if your other values aren’t improving with everything else.
In some small cases L-Carnitine and amino acid can help with your Anemia levels. I recommend 1500 milligrams per day, and that’s something you can purchase at a health food store or vitamin store. As far as foods, unfortunately eating is not going to help you as much as you can’t absorb enough iron out of foods.