Here’s a valuable piece of information you probably don’t know: Kidneys help synthesize Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is not only essential in regulating phosphorus and calcium, which builds strong bones, but it also bolsters the immune and neuromuscular system, and plays a major role in the life cycle of cells.
According to one study:
“Vitamin D deficiency is known to cause osteoporosis and muscle weakness, increasing the risk for fractures due to falls, especially in elderly. Moreover, hypovitaminosis D is associated with an increased risk of multiple malignancies, metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, and immune disorders such as autoimmune diseases and high infection rates”
Other researchers found “that those who were deficient in vitamin D were more than twice as likely to develop albuminuria (a type of protein in the urine) over a period of five years. Albuminuria is an early indication of kidney damage as healthy kidneys capture protein for use in the body.”
“The study’s lead researcher, Matthew Damasiewicz, MD, concludes that there is mounting evidence on the benefits of correcting vitamin D deficiency to prevent albuminuria. “It is also likely that patients with chronic conditions such as [chronic kidney disease] CKD may need higher vitamin D levels than the general healthy population.”
What does all of this have to do with living kidney donors? Well, according to a 2009 study, 57.5 living kidney donors showed a Vitamin D deficiency after an average of 5 years post-donation.
LKDs only have (approximately) half of the Vitamin D synthesizing ability we did before. And many, many living kidney donors end up with GFRs which fall into the chronic kidney disease Stage 2 or 3 range. Despite the public hooplah, we are not immune to the physiological changes that occur in anyone else who has reduced kidney function. Consequently, it behooves us to pay attention and prevent/treat accordingly.
Take care of yourself.