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Water, Hydration, and Chronic Kidney Disease

By: Kellsey Reed RDN, LDN, PatientsLikeMe Contributor

When it comes to managing chronic kidney disease, good hydration is key! Water helps to keep us alive, regulates our body temperature, and helps us to get rid of waste products and toxins (4). But how much water do you need each day, and what types of water should you be drinking with chronic kidney disease? Read more to find out!

Hydration with chronic kidney disease

Drinking water is important for overall health, but it’s especially important for kidney health. One of the main jobs of the kidneys is to filter out toxins and waste products from the blood. Hydrating with adequate water actually helps the kidneys to better filter out these waste products and toxins. But how do you know if you’re properly hydrated with CKD?

Your body can tell you a whole lot about how hydrated you are. The sodium level in your blood work can show how well-hydrated you are, as can the color of your urine. If your sodium level is too low, this may indicate that you are drinking too much water. If your sodium level is too high, this may indicate that you are not drinking enough water. If your urine is a darker yellow color, you may be dehydrated. If your urine is 100% clear, you may be over-hydrated. A good goal for your urine color is to aim for a pale yellow color. As always, this is not medical advice. Please follow up with your doctor and healthcare team to discuss your blood work and any health concerns. 

Studies have found that too low of water intake and too high of water intake aren’t helpful for those with CKD. However, water intake should be individualized to fit your needs. The National Kidney Foundation recommends a daily water intake of 3 L for men and 2.2 for women with CKD (3). One thing to keep in mind is that you don’t always need more water when you have CKD. Sometimes, too much water intake is not beneficial for those with CKD. If you have stage 4-5 CKD or if you are on dialysis, you may need to limit your water intake. Your kidneys may have difficulty getting rid of extra water in your body. This means that water can start to build up in your body and become harmful for you. Always be sure to check with your doctor and healthcare team to know how much water you should be drinking each day.

Regular water vs. other waters

The best way to stay hydrated when you have chronic kidney disease is with water. With that being said, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy flavored or sparkling waters too! 

Be mindful of the ingredients list and nutrition facts label when you are buying flavored or sparkling waters. Many different brands can have added sodium, potassium, and/or phosphate additives in their waters. If you are on a low sodium or low potassium diet for your CKD, it’s important to keep this in mind. Always be sure to read the label and ingredients before buying a new type of water! 

Here are some other kidney-friendly water options you can enjoy with CKD:


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