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Kidney Disease
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Intermittent fasting

I am wondering if anyone has advice or information on intermittent fasting when you have stage 4 CKD with a GFR of 25. I am also diabetic. Has anyone tried it and what was the complications or successes?

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I'm afraid I don't understand the point of fasting or starving your body at any stage. The whole point of eating is to provide your body with the fuel it needs to keep you going on many levels. Fasting only deprives your body of the fuel it needs to perform. What makes sense to me is eating the right foods to be able to function and not do further damage to your organs. By the way, I'm also diabetic and have high blood pressure. Both, along with my CKD are controlled by either medications, diet, exercise or a combination of one or more of those things. Add to that the understanding of my health issues and the ability to converse intelligently with my Care Team is the way to slow down the progression of CKD and keep me from Dialysis, Transplantation or worse.

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Thank you for your quick response. At this point for me, I am doing massive reading and research. Dr. Jason Yung, a nephrologist in Toronto, and actually many resources are preaching this a way to lose weight and control diabetes. By fasting for a period, the body relies on the stored fat to burn as fuel... very quick and incomplete explanation. At first, I thought this was a miracle solution, but the more I look into it, the more I see controversy. I am looking to see if anyone who has CKD who has tried fasting and with what success?

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I know I've told this before so for those of you who have heard it, please bear with me. Back at the tail end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016 I had some health issues with my BP and Type 2 Diabetes. I decided to give up the yo-yo diets and developed one myself after speaking with a nutritionist. In the 18 months that followed I lost 130 pounds. At the end of June of 2017, I found out I had Stage 3 CKD. All of the foods I had switched to in order to help me lose weight were found to be unhealthy for a CKD patient. I had to make another switch to kidney-friendly meals. As of this morning, I've lost another 20 pounds. That's 130 pounds with "healthy" foods that didn't really help my (unknown to me), CKD in 17 months and 20 pounds in 10 months of kidney-friendly meals.

By the time I found out I had CKD, I had the T2D and BP under control with no medications for the Diabetes and only 1 pill for the BP. Diabetes can be helped by diet but the biggest help for Diabetes, BP, and CKD is exercise. Of course, eating right is important, but you have to develop, with physician approval, an exercise program that works for you. I bike, hike and/or walk every day. I use a stepper on days when it's too wet to go outside. Don't take any supplements or prescribed medications for any health issue until you are sure that they will not harm your other health issues. Finally, there are occasions when a medication may be needed to be taken for one health issue that could possibly harm another health concern you have. Sometimes, like in my case, that could be an issue with your heart. Then you have to make a decision, an informed one, about the short-term harm for one organ when it may have a minor and hopefully a negative effect on another.

None of this is easy, but then many times when someone has a chronic disease these are the choices one is faced with and knowledge is power. The more you know the better off you will be.

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Dr Fung who i follow closely does Not suggest fasting without a doctor monitoring your vitals if you have any health issues. He is a nephrologist after all. There are no quick miracles to regaining health in my 66 years that i have found. Dr Fung was interviewed about kidney disease reversal and his answer was to date he has seen no reversal or at least very reversal for kidney damage. Big changes for diabetes type 2, and obesity related illnesses. I have CKD1 and my kidneys are very sensitive to high oxalates and proteins. So i use common sense with my diet. I do the 8/16 fast with low carbohydrates meaning starches and sugars. Dr Berg is wonderful for following nutritional guidelines. I have lowered my BP and fasting insulin levels to normal after 2 months. That can only help my kidneys and stave off more damage. I will try a longer fast in the spring under supervision

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I watched all Dr Fung's videos I could find .I have been doing intermittent fasting for 3 months now ...my latest GFR was 15 points higher from last test . Going to continue with this intermittent fasting...

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How is it going? I would like to try and have Stage 3 due to damage from a product prescribed for a colonoscopy, not due to diabetes.

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Did you do the IF with Dr Fung? How did it turn out?

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No, I did not follow any particular fasting diet. I just stopped eating from 7pm to 11am. It is just my natural rhythm. Not eating after 7pm is actually for weight loss as consuming calories and then going to bed is not productive. But just by following a renal diet, I have lost 38 pounds and dropped my A1c to a "normal" level. That does not include weight gain over the holiday or other set backs. Slow and easy equals permanent.

When I checked with my renal dietician and other practitioners who are involved with kidney disease, they do not recommend fasting for late stage CKD. Too much stress on the kidney and can create other imbalances such as PH.

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I find it so frustrating that my nephrologist has never even discussed diet! They have me in once a year to do bloodwork. I should find a renal dietician I can work with by phone/skype. THank you!

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There are lots of people (and a newer movement) that encourages fasting every other day as a means to encourage the body to get rid of fat, use available fat, energy etc and boost the immune system. Some claims are it reduces needs for medications, boosts the system so diabetes, high BP, heart issues and more are either better controlled or resolved altogether. It is a controversial treatment but for some has saved their lives. Blessings

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Thanks again for the information. There is a lot more going on with me including crippling arthritis, which ultimately has caused this situation of kidney failure. So exercise is very limited. I am looking for the best diet considering all the factors.

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I also have arthritis, which can make exercise more difficult. I use a stationary bike and elliptical for my exercise. Now that the weather is nicer, I will try walking more, but my knees do tend to ache. As far as the intermittent fasting, I would not try it! I personally think steady and gentle is best for my kidneys and I want them to be treated consistently, with the food and water they need to perform as well as they are able to.

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Yes thank you for your reply.

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My first response was what I personally feel. These are links to other sources:

kidneybuzz.com/skipping-mea...

webmd.com/diet/features/is_...

There are also numerous articles about fasting during Ramadan.

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please use extra caution and due diligence with anything from Kidney buzz. There are many far better and more reliable informational resources than they provide. Blessings

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Actually, I use caution and due diligence with all of the sites out there. Thank you

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KB is well known to have unreliable as well as offer mis/dis information in all of the articles (blogs). You may want to try a different site. Blessings

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Very interesting! I’m actually researching this topic for an intermittent fasting webinar I will be holding tomorrow. Kidney’s breastfeeding and pregnancy seem to be a few areas missing a solid knowledge base in this area. I’d also like to know if anyone has tried it and what their experience was like.

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Just want to comment that I did a 10-day fast while nursing with absolutely no side effects or baby harm! Totally wonderful.

Besides, if we were in the wild, it would be a very natural thing to go through periods of fasting - pregnant, nursing, or not! The body is truly amazing.

On another note, I actually had a VERY difficult time with supply during my first pregnancy, when I had severe kidney disease and eating lots of meat. I remember nursing my son for 1.5 hours, and still he was hungry. I was so sad. Cutting out meat and dairy is so crucial; I had an easier time with nursing by fasting than by having meat and dairy.

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Come back to us with what you discover. In my research, I found out that fasting for women can cause hormone imbalance also.

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Hi! I know this is a bit late, but hope it might help...

I was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy, and was losing 600 mg of protein. For context, normal people lose 2 mg. I was given the top rated specialist in my city, who saw me on her lunch break - it must have been that bad! In any case, I asked her if she ever saw anyone reverse it and she said "no", but I was determined to be the first person she saw to do it.

Fast forward to now, after trial and error (and by going gluten free and vegan alone, my protein loss decreased by 50% to 300 mg!), my last blood test showed I am down to 29.3 mg. 29.3! Since then, I have done a 10 day fast (UGH!!), but it WORKED and now I believe I am fully healed. I have all the bloodwork done and available on my blog if you want to see it - empressnutrition.com. It can be reversed! I am living proof!

By the way, I offer absolutely NO services of any kind, so all this information is available for you for free. My way of giving back to the world :D

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Hi, I have IGAN too, could you share the details of your 10 day fasting ? Just curious to know if you could drink any juices or only drink water during the fast ?

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Hi swatkat! For me, I did a 10-day "Lemonade" cleanse of fresh lemon juice, organic dark/amber maple syrup, and cayenne pepper (though I left the latter out much of the time). On other fasts I have done just juice and it worked too - my last blood test was down to 15 mg of protein loss, so almost normal! Keep in mind of your potassium levels with the juices (I'm assuming you are doing fresh-squeezed?); I had some blunders and my levels skyrocketed!

Good luck!

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Thank you so much Veronica! So did you Only consume the Leomande drink? No food at all ? And how much and how often did you drink the lemonade in one day ?

Yes I’ll be using freshly squeezed juice and I will keep potassium in check, thanks for pointing this out :) :)

Lastly, I was unable to open the website empressnutrition.com , not sure why! Please let me know.

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Hi again swatkat! I wrote the answer to this on another forum, I'll post it here for you too!

"I ended up taking the website down because of the expense it was to maintain it; however, I'm happy to share more with you. My last reading of protein loss was down to 15 mg, much better than the 600 mg I started with (to re-iterate, normal is < 3mg). So almost there.

Being vegan was SO important in healing. When I cheated by having a steak, the blood test didn't lie: I went back up to 600 mg with blood loss. It took several weeks to come back from this. However, I was able to heal down to 180 mg by eating seafood still.

Another great mentor I had was Dr. Paul Haider, who is a naturopathic doctor. He too had - and healed - from kidney disease. Check him out, he's a great resource too! For me, the key to my healing in a nutshell was:

1) Eating 80% raw foods

2) Embarking on a 10-day fast (*Note: I don't feel it's absolutely necessary as long as you follow step 1!)

3) You can't cheat with meat or dairy, your blood test won't lie to you.

Good luck!"

As for the fasting, yes...it's true, I literally only drank the lemonade for 10 days. The first time I did it, I went 7 days and had enough, so I did it another time and it really helped my numbers a lot. I just drank it whenever I got hungry to stave it off :P So I probably drank more than I should have!

Can't wait to hear your progress! It inspires me knowing people are taking control of their health, so I'm so happy for you.

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Yeah I’m mostly trying to eat a Vegan diet! The trick is to keep potassium in check with high Vegan diet. So focusing on Low potassium vegan diet!

I’m really intimidated by the idea of a 10 day long fast :) I think fasting once every week or intermittent fasting is also a healthy choice :)

I hail from India where it is common to have a Vegan diet. It’s always recommended whenever one is suffering through an acute/chronic illness.

Thank you so much Veronica for sharing the details on your diet & fast. God bless you :)

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I'm new to this site so I hope my reply is not too late. Have you tried intermittent fasting in the meantime? My kidney function declined rapidly during intermittent fasting two days a week, although I cannot be sure the 5:2 diet was the reason. It did lead to long term weight loss but I wasn't overweight to start with, just interested in improving my health.

Now instead of the 5:2 diet I've dropped my evening meal to see whether I can reduce my serum urea and also because it's easier to reduce potassium levels by eating fewer foods.

Not eating for 16 hours overnight - time restricted fasting - corresponds to the way humans traditionally consumed their food so it's much gentler on the kidneys than the other fasting methods promoted by Dr Fung. Here in Germany participants in time-restricted fasting reduced inflammation, blood urea and insulin levels after six weeks. Weight loss was slow and only seen in the overweight participant because she cut out some of the foods she normally ate. The others ate the same as usual but fitted it into a smaller time window.

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Thank you for your reply. I ended up on most days fasting for 16 hours. It came very naturally. I do it most days. I stop eating by 7pm and do not have anything until 11am. I am not sure it has done anything for me except help with my glucose levels which are higher in the early morning. I have lost almost 30 pounds, but much of that is due to what I eat, which is mostly plant based.

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