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GFR improvements possible?

I’m 58, my GFR in June was 73. I had an acute episode in Nov my number dropped it to 41, this was due to a flu, lack of sleep, using 7 different over the counter drugs for 6 weeks while working. Then 2 Prescribed drugs, and dehydration. My general doctor was panicked. I took a test two weeks later and my gfr recovered to 66. I have no protein or blood in urine. My doctors have checked everything and say I’m in perfect health. I didn’t even know what a GFR was, until this. I’m in great health, no prescriptions, my BP stays in the area of 108-120 over 68-75. My heart is great, cholesterol in the normal range and I work out 3-5 days a week. I was as on a high protein (150-200 gram per day) diet for many years, drank mainly coffee, beer on weekends. Since this I have stopped all drinking, no coffee, no cigars and dropped 30 pounds. My water intake is now 3/4 -1 gallon of water per day. Protein intake now approx 50gm vegetable based per day maximum. My wife and I have now gone vegan. I’m working toward increasing my GFR or at least stabilizing it in the long term. Have any of you been able to increase your GFR through diet? I have also reduce sodium to 2000mg and phosphorus to 1000mg per day. I’m I on the right track here? Looking for your advice, experiences and input, we have gone all in on this... Thank you for your insights, God bless

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Congrats Monte1770. I’m 43 and stage 2, similar to you. 5 months ago, I also quit drinking and reduced protein to 80g per day, and bike 45 to 60 mins a day, 5 days a wk. I’ve lost 40 lbs. I also stay within 2000mg of sodium per day. Unfortunately, I have not found a way to improve eGFR. I met w/ my PCP today, and he complimented me on my health changes, but said he wished I lived my life a little more and didn’t obsess so much. He said the stress of obsessing isn’t great for my kidneys either. I showed him how I log everything I eat in an App. I want to move towards more of what you’re doing. I eat 8 oz of chicken per day and get other protein from eggs, peanut butter, almond butter, or hummus. All of which are high in phosphorus. My question is, how are you able to track phosphorus? The App I use doesn’t track, phosphorus. It just tracks potassium, sodium, grams of protein, grams of carbs, amongst other things

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I will dig up the site and get a link to you. I suggest cutting down on dairy if not eliminating completely. Stay away from nuts if possible or reduce them greatly. I love almonds, however they contain estrogens and phosphorus. Both of which are bad for me. I’m struggling to get them out of my diet. They are a long time friend and I’m having a hard time separating from them. Hummus is a great choice. Greek yogurt is a good choice and use blue berries or other berries. Limit dairy to once a day. I eat that one morning the next oatmeal with egg whites and berries. I eat vegatable based protein powder. My primary sources of protein are fish, and egg whites (never whole eggs). However the fish is high in phosphorus so I monitor portions strictly. I eat a lot of kale with bell peppers, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and lemon instead of salt, I lightly fry this. My goal right now is to shock my system with the best sources of food possible combined with hydration. From my research and advise from Doctors it takes a long time to recover and get the GFR up again. Don’t quit, stay in the fight brother! Stay positive and stay fit

This group has fantastic information about everything related to CKD. Diet, support and general info. Research this site for help with eating and what’s good and not good for your / our situation

davita.com/diet-nutrition/r...

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Just to show how we are not all one size fits all. You are told to avoid nuts. My doctors advise me to be sure to consume nuts every day. Not huge quantities of course, but a normal serving. Why? For the benefits of how nuts fight high triglycerides and cholesterol while not harming the kidney.

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I love nuts and have them in large quantity for 30 years. I tend to over do it...

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Thanks for the advice and support, Monte.

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Try closer to 2 gal per day. IMO 1 Gal is not a lot of water.

If you are 58 and stage II, you are fine IMO. It's the strange drop that your doctor needs to follow up on - though it is apparently gone.

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I was traveling for work overseas. My sleep patterns were all off and sleep was limited. I had the flu..,I was taking iboprophin, Advil, thermaflu, Asprin, DayQuil, Niquil, and 2 other prescription meds. Then working 12 hours a day outside in cold. I did this for 6 weeks straight. It was complete accident I was tested after this. I went in to have my cholesterol checked, because they failed to do that on my blood and urine panel in June. I panicked, which caused a host of other issues. It has taken nearly three months to mentally and physically recover from all this. My Kidney Doctor was not concerned after, nor was my Urologist or my primary care Doctor. All said to calm down, relax your fine. They have checked everything to include CT scans, blood, urine, MRI and heart. I met with a certified Nurtionlist and formulated an eating attack plan, which has been implemented in full.

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At 58, traveling for work overseas needs to be a bit milder. You may not think it, but you are getting older - and that just means not to push your body that hard.

It seems like you know what caused all of the kidney fluctuations, so you are on the right track. Your Dr’s are right - relax, you’re fine!

Personally I don’t think stage 2 means a whole lot at 58. It seems fine if you want to change your lifestyle, but dont go overboard about it. Lets just say you had a health scare, but really it isn’t necessary to go all out from now on and live “perfectly.”

I’ll tell you a short story - just a bit about me. I am 65 (7 years older than you) and never thought of myself as a day over 30 - until I hit my 65th b-day in May. I have had my share of health scares over the years and got through them. I had an injury this past spring which landed me in various Dr’s offices and the ER. They commonly did blood tests, but obviously never looked at them. It turns out I have Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) - and probably have had it for 3 years. Chances are that if I need treatment, That I will do well and live a long time.

What I’m saying is that (as my wife has said for years), “its what you don’t expect that gets you.” Well CLL probably won’t get me, but it woke me up to learn to live in moderation - not like a monk - but in moderation. I still don’t act or feel my age, but I know now that stuff happens - and will.

I am not a big believer of the whole CKD staging simply because it makes little sense logically - and in practice classifies too many people with no problem as with a problem. But I am not a medical professional, so I can’t go rattling cages about the whole kidney field - or I would. The best thing that prople (especially older) especially older is take all of this and look at it in perspective. CKD staging is a way of screening patients - not a firm diagnosis. Take it for what it is - and I assume there will be a better way of looking at CKD in 5-10 years. Good luck.

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It’s been an interesting journey. My GFR for 4 years has floated around 75. I have BPH as well which causes problems with kidneys. Funny thing is I don’t have any other health problems other than BPH and all my blood labs are in the normal range. No blood, mucus or protein in urine and or phosphorus issues. Even my cholesterol is normal and my BMI is 26. When they told me “you’re stage 2 CKD” it freaked me out. I’m now very informed and know more than I ever wanted to know about this...but my level of concern and empathy for others with this condition has risen greatly. I’m deeply saddened to so many great people with CKD. My heart goes out to all of them.

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Frankly, I don’ consider Stage 2 CKD a real disease state. They could have made a scale that started with stage 3. It would have made more sense. Forget 1 and 2. It sounds like someone wanted to make CKD into a “progressive disease state” but it really is pushing the progression from stage 1 and 2. Certainly they could have outlined a progressive disease state that was indicated by a more reliable factor than serum creatinine! Even in stage 3, the ONLY indicator can be serum creatinine. It makes no sense!

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Getting old is interesting, yes up until this I considered myself 25-30. My wife and kids have been telling me for 5 years to slow down. I work long hours and push myself physically. I have now reconstructed and improved my life style. If this hadn’t have happened I would have kept it up. My family all live into their late 80s or early 90s. Both my parents are still alive in their mid 80s. I wish everyone here the best of health

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I am getting there too (age 69) and my reaction to "CKD", "kidney cancer" was at first quite disturbing, as you can imagine. But I have learned in a relatively short time that knowledge is power. The entire CKD staging process I have learned is full of "flaws" or unnecessary cause of concern in lots of people. On here too I see you have received a lot of advice of avoid salt, sugar, potassium, etc., etc. Well it has always been common sense to avoid too much salt, sugar, for reasons other than kidney related. But beyond that my opinion is that you each is unique and one size does not fit all. For example. My direction from doctors was to increase my potassium and calcium intake!! Others here will yell at you to limit it. Why was I advised this way? Because my blood tests showed I was very low on calcium and potassium. The point is, don't take my advice, or others, as gospel. Review your testing results and do what works for your needs. Of course there are common things such as drink water, no alcohol, limit soda, not excessive salt, sugar. But my doctors tell me don't go crazy on these guidelines. Having a soda, or a pretzel with salt, or a piece of cake, etc., now and then is not going to shorten your life span! Having that steak when out to dinner, or and extra cup of coffee. Just use common sense. Now your family advises to slow down!! DON'T. Activity and moderate exercise is more important as we age, and for CKD, than every before. Again, don't go crazy. But go for that walk every day, at a good pace. My primary care gave me the best advice. To use my common sense and to always ask myself do I want to enjoy my "elder" years and the time allowed (regardless of CKD or not) or do I want to live an excessively restricted life with a pad an paper tracking my every movement, calorie, intake, thinking always of CKD, and in the end perhaps, and only perhaps, live an extra few months, days or even a year. You are going to be fine.

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Thank you for the wisdom! I was going non-stop, sleeping 4 / 6 hours a night, drinking, caffeinated all day (2 pots of coffee), monster drinks, and high protein diet. Then smoking cigars to top it off... I typically walk or run 4-5 miles 3-5 times a week. Based on sound advice like yours I have changed my lifestyle, more like a hippie vegetarian. 🤣 But I feel a ton better and I now sleep more. This was a great wake up call and predictor of things to come if I didn’t hit the brakes.

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hey Monte 1770 I was a hippy back in the 1960s but wouldnt class myself as one now :)

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Hit the brakes, don’t slam them!

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I agree with so much about stages. I had a person with “Stage1” freaking out on me. His GFR was so high I wanted to slap him. Even stage 2 is a misleading number. There’s basically no worries there. Best thing I think someone can do is reduce red meat and eliminate as much phosphorus as possible. Phosphorus isn’t labeled on most things. But you can put in a food on sites like chronometer or Davita and it will give an estimate on most things. Most packaged products (if you can’t eat fresh) have lists of ingredients. Look for anything with “phos” I have been known to call or email companies who provide their contact info on the product and ask them for nutritional information. It’s up to us to be proactive at any number. But you can’t live your life in fear. Make the most of each day because tomorrow you might get hit by a bus.

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It’s all part of a larger plan to simplify a disease that isn’t simple! The medical community is constantly trying to simplify things - and to assign more diseases to more people. It definitely makes it easier for them to bill insurance companies more.

The intesesting part of CKD is that is almost impossible to get a nephrologist to look at you unless your GFR is at 3b levels or below - often stage 4 and below. What that tells me is that their staging system is not taken seriously.

It makes it easy for PCP’s because they can order blood tests, assign a patient to a stage of CKD, file it away and forget about it. Lightning will strike if they dare to have a simple urine test done. If someone isn’t leaking protein, it really puts their serum creatinine-based GFR under serious doubt. But that’s another test, more to think about, and even more again to think about if the results aren’t as straightforward as they had hoped.

But we fall for it too. They keep changing “preferred “ cholesterol numbers - and last year they lowered blood pressure numbers again. Even Google can't keep up with it. Probably 75% of people over 50 or 60 now have some disease.

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You’re so right! When I went to the kidney doctor specialist he was unconcerned. He said “you’re relatively young, good shape and normal. Your going to be fine. Your kidneys will recover.” After my GFR went back up to 66 right after the AKI he said “listen, the GFR means little. We take many numbers and input them into a program for the results. You are 100% healthy and your kidneys are fine. Eat what you want and what you have been. Drink more water and don’t take anymore of those medications”. I was terrorized when this happened to my core. But even after all this I was emotionally racked. It’s been an interesting journey...

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2 gallons!! That's 9 litres of water - that's insane!! You must spend much of the day drinking water. I couldn't even contemplate that amount, I just about manage 2.75 litres of fluids per day which is the recommended amount in the UK. I watch the colour of my urine and if it stays at a light straw colour I fell it must be OK?

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Let me see if I miscalculated. That's 8-10 1/2 L bottles of water. Oops! you're right! That would be a bit over a gallon a day, not 2 gallons. That is in the cooler months, of course. If you exercise a lot - or have a reasonably dry and warm day (like many here in California), I tend to drink a few more bottles a day.

OK ... my calculators were wrong - but it gets warm and (dry) here - so add more for that, and any major exercise adds a few bottles (that's how I measure) too. I also use a CPAP machine to sleep - which will dry you out over a night even if you put on full humidification.

I picked that habit up from my high intensity cardiovascular activity days. I kind of developed a very strong bladder from all that. It's very rare that I wake up in the middle of the night.

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Interesting input and thank you for the time

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Try to stay off the OTC cold medicines as well as avoid the OTC pain killers such as Advil.

It sounds like you are on the right track and answered your own question. I would advise you to avoid sugar, salt, and potassium as much as possible. Weight loss is ideal as well as protein limits. You should see a difference. I went from a Stage 4 ( GFR 17 ) back to Stage 3 ( GFR 31 ) by using what you have listed as your regimen. Everyone is different and not everyone will have the same results but it is worth the effort.

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I’m not taking any medication...period! I’ll suck it up, the only over the counter I may take if absolutely required is Tylenol. I truly hope your numbers improve and life is good. Thank you for the feed back. God bless

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Good for you Monte 1770. In your initial query, you mentioned over the counter medications in some quantity. Excellent that you are not taking them now. I don't know what Tylenol is (sounds like Paracetamol in the uk), but any NSAID like Ibuprofen, Diclofenac, Aspirin can mess up your blood results. Always let your doctor know if and what you are taking, if you have purchased OTC meds. It is surprising even supplemental and complimentary therapies can adversely affect the bloods and also how other prescribed medications work. I am so impressed with you to change your lifestyle in such a big way! I have a jug in the kitchen that takes 1.5 Litres. I refill it at least twice a day. Each time I go into the kitchen, I fill a glass of about 100ml and swig it down. Yes I can pee for Britain, but I am happy that my urine is clear. I was a nurse for years and years. Nurses are dreadful for not taking toilet breaks and at one time I could go 14 hours without voiding. NOT a good way to look after the kidneys. I haven't eaten meat, fish or poultry since I was 6yrs old. I am now 70 and not on any medication at all. I do take Glucosamine and Omega 3 as I know I am short in fatty oils that most people get from fish. I don't eat those foods, simply because I just don't like them. No ethical or religious reasons. However, I am the only one of my same age friends, who is not on medication. Most are on diuretics, anti-hypertensives, statins and Type 2 Diabetes medication. I walk around 12 Km per day (briskly), I swim, play tennis and golf and can keep up with my very young grandchildren too. Not boasting, just seems odd that out of about 8 of us, all whom had the same sort of background, I am the only one still fit enough to do these activities. I can only guess it is positive attitude and what I do or, rather what I don't eat. I wish you well with your health and fitness. Good luck! Oh and ditch the vegetable protein powder, eat the real thing instead, cheaper and better for you :) Take care.

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It doesn't always work. I haven't had ANY fast food since the late 80's. Rarely, if ever eat at restaurants these days. I work out a lot, and have for over 30 years. I am careful about the meds I take and wouldn't get near an NSAID for a million reasons (kidney too).

Yet still I have high BP that needs a fair amount of medication. And I am 65. I will not and have not had red meat in easily 30 years (I hate it!). Chicken is fine, if good quality. But I've had my fair share of medical problems over the years. Sometimes they are unavoidable. Diet and lifestyle can't save you from everything.

Yet still diet and lifestyle (in moderation) need to be watched. It can't hurt to live well.

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Thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts. I want to hang around for a while and intend on doing everything possible to accomplish that goal. Good for you and your positive mental attitude. It’s inspiring to hear such good things and your motivation towards life. 😊. I take vitamins but no medication prescribed or otherwise.

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We all have to suck it up. I have a fractured ankle and believe me I would kill to be able to take any anti-inflammatory medications. But we do what we must. Even too much Tylenol is harmful and forget about aspirin. I can’t even use the 2g of cream once a day for swelling because it’s part NSAID.

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I feel very lucky now being informed on this topic and experiencing this incident. I never thought anything like this could happen to me. My GFR has gone up and down 10 points over 4 years. From 75 down to 67 and then back to 73 this year. Strange how all this works. I’m now taking better care of myself than ever before in my life and have cut out many things. My exercise routine is now in overdrive. This crisis has in the end probably extended my life several years as a result. I feel so sad for so many in this community and the terror this brings. Im truly humbled by the steadfast and stern diligence many have demonstrated when faced with this situation. It has taught me a greater level of humility and sympathy. My hopes are high but tempered. My faith has strengthened in this and my relationships with many bonded. I wish only the best to all of you.

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Hi Mysticlad,

Great to see that you improved your numbers so much. Can you please share any diet tips or any excercises that you do. My son’s egfr has steadily declined to stage 4 and he is looking at ways to improve his numbers through life style changes. Thanks.

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It was a couple of very frustrating years and it took a combination of things to be honest. Everyone is different and has different challenges in their daily lives. I first lost thirty pounds and then I really went for aggressive blood pressure and blood sugar control and was lucky to have a top nephrologist and a top endocrinologist after the original ones failed me in my case. I started checking my sugars twice as often and carefully using my insulin instead of just injecting and hoping as I had done for too long. The new diabetes drugs such as the GLP-1s are incredible as they keep the sugars low and suppress one's appetite as well. I first cut out red meat totally except for a few times a year. I stopped all packaged and canned foods including bread. I began to buy fresh food three-five times a week instead of bunkering down with a sugar, sodium, and potassium loaded pantry. I limited my protein intake and fresh fruits such as watermelon and pineapple became a staple as well as for snacks. Salads and vegetables were now mandatory even at restaurants. I stopped all fast food and impulse eating. It is just not worth it! One key thing I have really noticed is hydration. I drink at least four liters of water a day or more, 1 per meal. It appears the first nephrologist I first had overprescribed diuretics which caused severe dehydration and the top doc cut the dosages in half or more which seemed to have helped. I allow myself a Ginger Ale now and again but nothing else in a can. No alcohol as well. I increased my exercise to two-three hours a day by hiking, swimming, and walking longer and further than I have in my life. I took a leave from from my high stress job and eventually retired early from too much travel and high pressure work. It was a tough decision for me but the right one. As soon as my anemia got better I felt like exercising more. This was after four iron infusions to help my levels. I also have started to take charcoal tablets before or after any meal I felt was large or "heavy." It is hard to do sometimes when you need to schedule your medication and vitamin times but it seems to help my BUN and EFGR. I hope this helps your son.

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Really appreciate your response. This is very helpful. You have worked so hard and have earned every bit of the improvement. My prayers and best wishes to you. Stay blessed.

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Congrats, wow you’ve done some amazing work. Well done, well done indeed! Very motivational to hear all this and your story. God bless

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Hi Monte,

I don't want to be alarmist and everyone is different.

I recently had a big drop in eGFR and it then went up 15 points, and then down a again. No protein in the urine. Nephrologist was stumped and thought I had a blood flow issue to kidneys. I insisted on a biopsy.

Refered to a Nephrologist who took a biopsy last week. I haven't met him to discuss the results however the pathology came back with slight kidney damage and potential IgA deposits in kidney. Meeting him next week.

You don't have blood in urine so probably fine on the IgA front. Point is get a biopsy if they can't work out why.

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Was this a result of flu and pain medicine over a short period? I’m very sorry to hear of your plight. Damn this sucks! I wish you the best and a fast recovery back to normal. Thanks for the info, my 1st test came back 66 within two weeks of the bad one, all labs were in line. The specialist thinks it will rise again to original level based on testing and labs. All insist I’m good to go...but who really knows? It seems this issue is like some kind of black magic and no one commits to flat answers. It’s like everyone’s body make up is so different and so many unknowns. That’s the frightening part of this, no one really knows anything. There’s high probables but not for sure. That’s why I took affirmative drastic steps at once upon discovery. I’m taking nothing for granted anymore, I check everything that goes in my face. No medications, no supplements and no crap until it has been throughly researched and approved by the Nurtionlist and Doctor. I’m not repeating this... God bless you and stay in the fight, stay positive

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Hi monte,

IgA can mobilise after bad flu/throat infections. That's what happened to me. There are ranges of IgA; some dormant, some mobilise and create mild damage and stabilise, some are rapid and some just slowly progressive and in some cases it can go into remission. The only way to get a sense is to have a biopsy. From here you get a diagnosis and a prognosis. My prognosis seems good based on the biopsy (low chance of progression to ESRD) however as I'm learning with kidneys it's such an grey science and things can change quickly.

Your call of course but I'd be keeping a keen eye on those GFR fluctuations as that's where my adventure stated. You probably just had a one off drop but you did come on this site so you're obviously concerned.

BTW I feel great, BP great, I just went andvsurfed for 3 hours, ACR and protein below the kidney issue line, but I have IgA deposits.

Good luck with it

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As stated, no one seems clear about anything regarding the mystery of kidneys. It’s like VoDoo stuff. General practitioners seem to have no clue for the most part. I’m watching everything close, if it goes side ways I’ll take your advise for sure. I hope you have a full recovery and are back to normal fast. The studies I have read indicate some AKI happens fast and heals rapidly. While others take months and up to a year to recover. Several study’s show exactly what happened to me in detail. They explain the medications restrict blood flow to the kidney and drop the gfr while taking it for that period. Typically the kidneys recover from this acute insult / state if it’s a short duration exposure and not a person taking high dose over an extended period of time. But then again other factors come into play.

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Did they tell you your likely to make a full recovery? I read up on the illness you mentioned, and none of my symptoms match. But I will for sure bring this up to my Doctor. Thank you for your info

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What's a full recovery? I ran a marathon a few weeks ago at 50. Wouldn't even know if it didn't pop up. So we'll see.

It's scary when things go askew. Anyway good luck with it all, hope the diet helps.

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Outstanding, a marathon! I was under the impression your eGFR had declined greatly. Great to hear your physical ability is still way above most. Well done

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Hello all! Interesting development; I lift weights and have for many years. I have been taking protein powder supplements for a long time. When I moved 4 years ago I began using a new supplement. I never read the label and I assumed it was just protein. Last week I went to the store where I purchase it and read the label

in depth. This product contains creatine. And my use of this product correspondes directly with the same period of my lower GFR reports over this period. Since this incident I have terminated the use of all supplements and high protein. I was on a high protein diet for many years as well.

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Good news today! My EGFr has recovered to 82 as of today. The diet increase in vegetables and water was an extreme help. I feel horrible for so many here and your struggles. I wish you all God’s Grace and good health. You will always be in my thoughts and prayers. God bless

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glad to hear your egfr improved tremendously!

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I consider myself extremely lucky. This episode has changed the way I view diet, food, supplements and everything you put in your mouth completely.

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