What are Renal Shakes?

Chad Birt

Written by Chad Birt on Wed May 19 2021.

What are Renal Shakes?

About 37 million Americans are living with kidney disease. If you’re one of them, and need to make dietary changes, one question is likely at the top of your mind: What are renal shakes?

These beverages blend fruits, vegetables, and other nutrients together to provide your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to thrive. Unlike traditional shakes, renal shakes and other nutritional supplement drinks for renal patients utilize ingredients that encourage optimal kidney health and function.

This article answers the following questions:

  • What are renal shakes?

  • Why should people with kidney disease eat a special diet?

  • What should I consider when selecting premade renal shakes or shake recipes?

  • Does Carewell carry renal shakes?

  • Where can I learn more about renal failure?

What are renal shakes?

Renal shakes are blended beverages that adhere to a kidney-friendly diet. A kidney-friendly diet limits the amount of certain minerals and fluids you consume to promote healthy kidney function.

Your kidneys are two lima bean-shaped organs located in the lower back. They’re responsible for cleansing your blood of toxins and converting them to urine. If your kidneys don’t function as they should, waste can build up in your body, increasing the risk of more serious health problems like heart disease.

Why should people with kidney disease eat a special diet?

If you’re living with kidney disease, it’s critical to balance the electrolytes, minerals, and fluids in your body. Not only does this lower the risk of potentially life-threatening issues, it helps promote kidney function and slows the progression of kidney failure.

The type of minerals you’ll need to avoid depends on the severity of your symptoms and the underlying cause. Typically, a kidney-friendly diet cuts back on four specific ingredients: sodium, phosphorus, potassium, and fluids.

Sodium. Sodium is found in most foods and beverages. It plays an important role in various bodily functions, including the regulation of blood pressure and blood volume and balancing the amount of fluid the body retains or eliminates.

Kidney disease prevents the elimination of excess salt from your bloodstream. That can result in high blood pressure, edema (swelling of the limbs), and shortness of breath. To cut back on salt, cook the majority of your meals at home and limit sodium content to 400 mg per meal.

Phosphorous. Phosphorous is a mineral that helps keep your bones healthy. It’s found in a variety of foods, including meat, cheese, seeds, and milk. If you have kidney disease and too much phosphorus builds up in your blood, your bones may become weak or brittle, increasing the risk of a fracture.

Potassium. Potassium is a mineral that regulates your heartbeat and muscle function. It also plays an important role in maintaining the fluid and electrolyte balance of your bloodstream. If you have kidney disease, too much potassium can result in severe muscle cramps or heart disease.

Fluids. It’s important to stay hydrated, but kidney disease prevents your body from eliminating excess fluids. If you don’t monitor your intake, fluid build up can result in difficulty breathing, high blood pressure, or heart failure.

What should I consider when selecting premade renal shakes or shake recipes?

Before making a homemade renal shake or purchasing a premade option, it’s important to consult with your primary care physician.

Kidney disease affects everyone differently. The stage and severity of your symptoms directly affect your individual dietary needs. Following a comprehensive exam, a review of your health history, and a series of laboratory tests, your provider can make recommendations.

Many people incorporate bananas into their shakes and smoothies, but bananas are high in potassium. Alternative ingredients low in potassium and safe for people with kidney disease include:

  • Apples

  • Cranberries

  • Grapes

  • Pineapples 

  • Strawberries

  • Summer squash

  • Cauliflower

  • Peppers

  • Lettuce

When selecting premade shakes online or at the grocery store, read through the ingredients several times. Avoid anything that contains large amounts of sodium, phosphorus, or potassium.

Does Carewell carry any renal shakes or other nutritional supplement drinks for renal patients?

Yes. At Carewell, we carry several flavors of renal shakes from Novasource Renal® (a division of Nestle). Each shake contains 475 calories per 8 oz. box and comes ready to serve. The shakes come in three flavors: strawberry, vanilla, and mocha.

Key benefits & features:

  • Each shake has optimized electrolyte content

  • Perfect for individuals with chronic kidney disease or acute kidney injury

  • Safe for consumption orally or with a feeding tube

  • Provides 18% of calories from protein, ideal for people on dialysis

Where can I learn more about renal failure?

If you’re interested in learning more about renal failure, we recommend this article from Healthline or this article from WebMD. Each discusses the different types of rental disease, its underlying causes, symptoms, and available treatments. 

If you have any questions about the renal shakes we carry, reach out to our friendly Care Team at any time by calling (800) 696-CARE or sending an email to support@carewell.com.

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Chad Birt
Chad Birt

Chad Birt is a freelance medical writer who resides in Astoria, Oregon. When he isn't behind a keyboard, you can find him hiking, camping, or birdwatching with his wife Ella and their two dogs, Diane and Thoreau.