Lemon Water and Chronic Kidney Disease…Is It A Good Kidney Cleanse?

People with kidney disease have to continually be cautious about the foods they eat and drink; the reason is that certain foods may cause harm to the kidneys. When it comes to beverages, there is no question that water is the safest beverage.

However, some people, generally in later stages, with kidney disease amay have to limit the amount of water they drink or it can lead to water retention. Plus, drinking water regularly can become monotonous. Another option for people with kidney disease is to drink lemon water or lemonade. Over the years many studies have shown that regular consumption of lemon water is not only good for the kidneys but for overall health.


What Exactly Is Lemon Water?

Lemon water is simply the juice extracted from fresh lemons. Because this extract is often concentrated, it is often diluted with water depending on the individual’s preference. The lemon juice may be consumed hot or cold, depending on the weather. During summer, the lemon juice sprinkled with ice is a great thirst quencher. During the cooler months of the year, the lemon juice can be combined with a variety of spices (turmeric, cloves, cinnamon, mint leaf). A touch of honey, sugar, or salt may help take away the bitterness. Lemon water is a refreshing and vitalizing drink that can quickly boost the spirits and energize the body.


How Often Should One Drink Lemon Water To Maintain Good Kidney Health?

One can drink 1-2 glasses of lemon juice each day to start. The lemon water can be consumed during breakfast and during dinner or before bedtime. Lemon water is also a good beverage for people who work out or work in hot weather.


What Does Lemon Water Contain?

Lemon water has very few calories. It contains no fat, trace amounts of protein, and no sugar. Besides vitamin C, the juice is rich in folate, potassium and vitamin B. Based on data from the US Department for Agriculture, a glass of lemon water contains the following:

  • 10 -11 calories
  • 18.6 mg vitamin C
  • 9.6 mg folate
  • 50 mg potassium
  • Trace amounts of vitamins B1, B2 and B5

Because lemon water does not contain junk calories, it is a low-calorie drink with great health benefits.


Why is Lemon Water of Benefit to People With Kidney Disease?

Lemon water is a very rich source of vitamin C, which is a potent antioxidant. In the body, this vitamin is necessary for many biochemical reactions; it also has the ability to scavenge free radicals and prevent injury to the tissues. With regards to the kidneys, lemon water has three beneficial effects:

 1) vitamin C protects the kidney from inflammation and free radicals

 2) the extra fluid cleanses the kidney by removing the toxins 

 3) the acidity of the juice can help prevent the development of certain types of kidney stones

Lemons, like other citrus fruits including lime, oranges, and grapefruit are also packed with flavonoid compounds that are known to help fight disease and enhance good health. The flavonoids also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

By decreasing damage to the tissues, lemon water can help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, several types of cancer, and obesity.


What are Rhe Other Benefits of Lemon Water?

Due to its high vitamin C levels, flavonoid content, and acidity, drinking lemon water may have several health benefits that include the following:

  • Immune system: Drinking lemon water regularly can help boost the immune system. It is the presence of vitamin C which actually boosts the immune cells. There are many studies showing that regular consumption of lemon water can help prevent the common cold and upper respiratory tract infections.
  • Prevent Kidney stones: There are studies showing that regular consumption of lemon water may help prevent and treat kidney stones. It is important to understand that this is not an alternative treatment to the traditional medical treatment of kidney stones but a complementary therapy. The extra fluid can help push the stone out of the urinary system and the acidity can help prevent the formation of other calcium stores. The lemon water contains citrate which prevents the calcium from binding to other substances and forming stones.
  • Prevents dehydration, especially during any type of physical activity
  • A good thirst quencher
  • An excellent beverage during exercise
  • Because it has very few calories, it is an ideal beverage for people who want to lose weight
  • The vitamin C in lemon water helps energize the body
  • The extra water helps prevent constipation and regulates bowel movements

Maximizing the benefits of lemon water

For people with kidney disease who want to get the maximal benefits from lemon water, it is important to change lifestyle and this means doing the following:

  • Do not smoke; nicotine has no health benefits and in fact, it is one of the most toxic substances. Best advice, do not smoke
  • Control your blood sugars: if you have kidney disease, make sure that you are compliant with your diabetic treatments and maintain your sugar levels on the low side.
  • Eat a healthy diet: It is important for people with kidney disease to eat a healthy diet. This means eating fruits, vegetables, a variety of nuts, whole wheat, seafood, and grains. It is important to limit the intake of red meat. Use unsaturated oil for cooking.
  • Exercise: All individuals with kidney disease should try and remain physically active. The type of exercise is irrelevant; one can even walk as it is as good an exercise as any. The key is to perform physical activity regularly. Exercise has many benefits for people with kidney disease;
    • It helps with weight loss
    • It lowers blood sugar
    • It drops blood cholesterol
    • It is associated with a lowering of blood pressure and
    • It nurtures the mind. Best of all, walking is free and devoid of any complications. When you walk, carry a bottle of lemon water with you to keep you well hydrated.
  • Avoid alcohol: people with kidney disease should avoid alcohol as this beverage has no health benefits.


How To Make Lemon Water or Lemon Juice?

It is important to make lemon water fresh as it tastes much better. For each glass, you may need one/two lemons. Try and pick slightly ripe lemons with a yellowish tinge on the skin. Very green lemons can be bitter. Cut the lemon into two halves and squeeze the juice into a glass. You should add water according to your taste. You can add a variety of spices (cinnamon, cloves, ginger), herbs (mint leaves), or honey to enhance the taste. Store the freshly made juice in the fridge for half an hour and drink when cold. 

If you prefer to buy freshly squeezed lemon juice, always read the label because most commercial brands are heavily processed and may contain large amounts of preservatives, sugar, and other coloring agents. Plus in the long run, it is more expensive to buy commercial lemon water. 


Is Lemon Water Safe to Drink Regularly?

Humans have been drinking lemon water for centuries and overall it is a safe beverage. However, the acidity in the lemon juice may cause tooth sensitivity or damage the enamel in some people, making the teeth prone to cavities. To avoid this problem, drink lemon water through a straw to protect the teeth. Secondly, always rinse the mouth with water after each drink.

Whether you drink the lemon water hot or cold makes no difference in terms of health benefits. It is simply a matter of personal preference.



For people who have kidney disease, it is vital to follow up closely with a healthcare provider. The reason is that once kidneys fail, this can seriously affect the quality of life. Being on dialysis is a major undertaking and is also associated with major problems. To avoid further kidney damage, the individual should ensure that regular blood work is done and that the blood pressure is closely monitored. Lemon water is a drink and does not replace a visit to the doctor.


Be Realistic

All individuals with kidney disease should be realistic about the foods they eat. There is no single miraculous food or beverage that can reverse kidney damage, prevent weight gain, or reduce the risk of cancer. Lemon water is just one beverage that is good for health and it is important to combine this with changes in lifestyle.

For more on kidney cleanses and other healthy kidney diet tips, check out some of our related articles:

Does Lemon Juice Dissolve Kidney Stones?

The Ideal Kidney Cleanse For Chronic Kidney Disease Patients