PKD Connection Blog

Staying Healthy

Balancing hydration and nutrition for PKD patients

Our cookbook, Cooking Well, doesn’t just provide you with delicious, kidney-friendly recipes—it also has best practices on fluid intake from kidney experts. Dr. Osama Amro of Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, Washington, contributed the following guidance on staying hydrated and how to keep cyst-stimulating hormone levels down:

Drinking more fluid can reduce vasopressin and slow the progression of ADPKD.

Drinking plenty of water has many potential benefits, including reducing the risk of kidney stones and preventing dehydration, which can worsen kidney function. To properly regulate fluid balance in our bodies, we depend on a hormone called vasopressin to conserve water when we are dehydrated and excrete water when we have too much. High vasopressin levels (which occur when we don’t get enough fluid) have been linked to cyst growth in ADPKD. Drinking more fluid can reduce vasopressin and slow the progression of ADPKD, but drinking enough fluid each day can be difficult for patients to maintain in real life.

Healthy adults have an average daily fluid intake of one to three liters (34 to 101 ounces).

Part of the difficulty in trying to keep vasopressin levels low throughout the day by drinking water is that people eat too much salt and protein, which raises vasopressin levels. For the most part, daily intake of water, sodium and protein is more a function of dietary preferences and cultural influences. Healthy adults have an average daily fluid intake of one to three liters (34 to 101 ounces), with considerable individual variation. Thirty-three percent of this comes from a combination of water in food and your body producing water when it burns fat for energy, while the other 66 percent comes from the fluid you drink.

Dr. Osama Amro would like acknowledge Dr. Ronald Perrone for his role as a supervisor of the dietary and water study at Tufts Medical Center.

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