Renal Failure Patient Battles High-Phosphate Levels on Low-Carb Diabetic Diet

My blood sugar levels have been improving dramatically since starting Dr. Berstein’s Diabetes Solution approach. Unforunately, it’s not the Renal Failure Solution. My phosphorous levels have risen from 2.03 mmol/L to 2.34 mmol/L. Normal is between 0.74 – 1.52 mmol/L. I was hitting 1.32 MMOL/L previous to Dr. Bernstein’s diet.

Now too much phosphorus is bad and can slowly kill a dialysis patient. Someone with functioning kidneys simply urinates excess phosphorous out. Renal failure patients, however, need to carefully regulate their intake of phosphates to prevent levels rising too high. (Phosphates are renamed phosphorous upon entering the bloodstream — just to make things more confusing, I guess).

I have been using to track my daily consumption of protein, carbohydrates, calories and (especially) potassium and phosphates. It’s a great tool.

My blood work showed high potassium for awhile. Over 5.0 mmol/L (normal is 3.5- 4.8 mmol/L). Now I have them down to 4.5 mmol/L. But I had to work to get my dietary potassium below 2000 mg a day… but I did.

Yet now my phosphorus has gone crazy…so yesterday I spent over an hour juggling foods to get my phosphates below 700mg. I focused on protein-rich food. Protein-rich foods are high in phosphorus. Milk one of my favourites but is so high that I have to give it up until my kidney function improves.

But you will be happy to hear I can still have a little bit of nuts and cream with frozen blueberries. (Blueberries is the only fruit I can have because it is not a very sweet fruit. It hasn’t been hybrid to be sweet like strawberries or oranges.)

Why did Dr. Bernstein’s diet raise my phosphorous levels? Four guesses:

  1. Evidence suggests that phytic acid (found in grains, which I stopped eating) actually bind up minerals. The grains were probably chelating phosphates in my gut, preventing them from entering the bloodstream. I’m now taking more baking soda with my meals to bind up phosphates, instead.
  2. I had started consuming more dairy products (homemade carb-free curds) which are loaded with phosphates. I’ve replaced these with egg whites (which are very low in phosphates).
  3. Nuts, nuts, nuts… I’ve been eating more (e.g. 12 almonds + 1 tablespoon of cashew butter). Now I’m eating less (e.g. 12 almonds OR 1 tablespoon of cashew butter).
  4. I’m probably eating more vegetables, some of which are very high in phosphates. I can’t do much about this, so hopefully the baking soda, nut restrictions and egg white omelettes will do the trick.

Balancing the potassium and phosphates is not easy but I will master this (with much help from and my wonderful husband) as we are mastering my blood sugar.

About the Author: John C. A. Manley researches and writes about alternative treatments for type-1 diabetes and its many complications. His wife, Nicole, of 15 years has had type-1 diabetes for four decades. Together they have lowered her HgbA1c below 5.5%, regained thyroid function, increased kidney function and reversed gastroparesis. Read more about their journey out of the T1D matrix or subscribe to their Diabetic Dharma blog..