I’ve written in the past about concepts surrounding gut health and kidney care and probiotics for kidneys. In all those posts about gut health and kidney care, I’ve talked about Kibow Biotech and their product Renadyl™. Because I’ve mentioned the product specifically multiple times and because I believe people with kidney disease have questions about this specific supplement, I want to cover more details specific to this product.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Kibow Biotech, the producer of Renadyl, a probiotic for kidney health. As always, all opinions are my ownand current as of day of post. Opinions may change as new research, evidence, or products are released in which case I will write a new post and provide a link within this post.
I have used and liked Renadyl™ long before Kibow offered to sponsor the information and posts on gut health. It is a privilege to write about some of the really amazing advances that are coming with gut health and kidney health. As always, while this is a sponsored post, I reserve the rights to my own opinion.
History of Renadyl™ as a kidney care supplement
Renadyl™ is being studied with the intent to help people with serious kidney illness – primarily earlier stage kidney illness before dialysis. Renadyl™ probiotic consists of S. thermophilus-KB19, L acidophilus-KB27, and B longum-KB31 in a dosage of about 90 billion organisms.
Renadyl™ was developed by Natarajan Ranganathan, PhD, the founder & Chief Science Officer of Kibow Biotech, and one of the primary researchers. He has been studying this formula for 20+ years. It is the only probiotic specifically geared toward kidney care and worth taking a look at if you are looking for ways to support your kidney health.
How does removing toxins from the gut actually help the kidneys?
The science on how the gut and the kidneys are connected is absolutely fascinating. I go into more detail about the gut and kidney care in my previous posts about gut health and kidney care. Here is the very short, bulleted explanation.
Three ways probiotics may help with people with their kidneys:
- Probiotics may be able to break down nitrogenous wastes and reduce uremic toxin levels in the gut thus helping reduce inflammation. Uremic toxins are obviously damaging for the kidneys so it is good if they can be removed early on.
- Probiotics can help eliminate bad bacteria to allow for intestinal barrier repair (this is a big deal since the health of our immune system is linked with our gut lining). The health of the intestinal barrier means less inflammation for a variety of reasons…which leads me to point number three.
- Probiotics may help reduce inflammation (see #1 and #2 above). There is no argument that inflammation in chronic kidney disease is an important part of the disease and progression of the disease (1). How the gut is involved with reducing or exacerbating inflammation involves some complex pathways that I am not even going to attempt to describe right now. (Though if you want to dig into the biochemistry and physiology of probiotics being able to help reduce inflammation and bolster the immune system here is a great 2019 article from Dr. Galdeano).
WHICH probiotic you use makes a BIG difference
A good probiotic is an important kidney health supplement to include in many peoples’ regimens. Emphasis here on good probiotic.
All probiotics are not created equal. Just grabbing a probiotic off the local pharmacy or grocer’s shelf is likely not super effective (especially those tasty gummy ones!).
Some probiotics don’t survive the stomach acid to get into the gut. Some simply don’t have enough bacteria to do much good.
Plus, probiotics all have different preferences, meaning they actually can do different things in your gut. That’s why they are studied and sold specific to a certain symptom or disease state. For example, some probiotics are marketed as helping with diarrhea. Others, are marketed to help with bloating. And some, like Renadyl™ are specific to an illness (in this case renal health).
Why are there so many different types of probiotics?
The study of probiotics has EXPLODED in the last 10 years. I did a quick search on PubMed using the term “probiotic” and was given just over 18,000 results in the last 10 years (11,000 of those were in the last 5 years).
A quick, very comprehensive scan through the 903 results (yeah, that’s a lot of results!) shows articles populated with very long words like “lactobacillus casei N87 proteome” and “Lactobacillus sakei” and “L. Plantarum” and on and on.
One reason there is such an explosion on the topic of probiotics and disease management is that researchers are trying to hone in on what specific bacteria (and specific strains) do with regard to helping different disease states.
Just like humans have preferences for different foods, different environments, and different social circles, bacteria have different preferences for food sources and their environment. I for the record, really like raspberries, eaten on my back porch, with my children. You may like a warm ginger cookie in your kitchen with a close friend. Or a beer at the bar with your buddies. We’re all different and so are bacteria.
Bacteria also have different substances they like to consume, different environments they can exist in, and different ways they interact with the cells in our body.
Within the 18000+ scientific papers on probiotics, there is a select set of researchers very interested in the gut, probiotics and the kidneys. Again I did a quick PubMed search using “Probiotics and kidneys.” This gave me 317 results – which is still a hefty chunk of scientific papers to peruse.
People studying probiotics and kidneys are really trying to hone in on how the gut impacts the kidneys. They are searching for opportunities to reduce inflammation and make an impact on the uremic toxins with probiotics as kidney care supplements.
Research on Renadyl™
The gold standard for studying products like this is to have sufficiently powered (meaning enough people), randomized placebo-controlled study with human subjects. Kibow is transparent in letting us know they do not have the “gold standard” study on their product yet (they’re super expensive and very hard to do!). They have done a wide-variety of studies including in vitro models, animal models, and clinical trials.
What benefits of Renadyl™ are seen in the research?
What the Renadyl™ studies have shown right now is that uremic toxins are able to be catabolized and removed with help of the probiotic (3). Whether or not you know what that means, let me tell you removing uremic toxins is very important.
The reduction of inflammation that comes as uremic toxins are removed and the gut barrier can begin healing is a pretty big deal.
In addition to showing removal of uremic toxins, Renadyl™ studies have some survey data that points positively toward quality of life improvements.
There is some survey data that may suggest that the rate of GFR decline may be reduced significantly. This, however, was a small sample size and the survey data of GFR improvement is not consistent with other studies showing impact of probiotics on GFR (4). At this point, it is basically inconclusive if probiotics can impact GFR. There needs to be more research here before any solid conclusions can be drawn.
A small 2013 clinical trial of 28 people showed a statistically significant improvement in BUN and creatinine levels with little to no side effects as the dosage increased. The data also suggests that, between months 2 and 4 when patients were on the highest dose of Renadyl™ their levels of CRP (proteins that help protect tissue from inflammation) actually increased.
What the research doesn’t show
We don’t know how or if Renadyl™ effects the following patients:
- Pregnant or nursing women
- Those with HIV/AIDs or liver disease diagnoses,
- Those with active dependency on controlled substances and alcohol,
- Those on anticoagulant drugs (ex warfarin).
We do know that the probiotics used in Renadyl™ are naturally occurring and have not been shown to have any reported Adverse Events or drug-drug interactions in over 9-years on the US Market as a kidney care supplement.
The clinical trials of Renadyl™ with human subjects have been small studies. The most recent clinical trial (noted earlier) published in 2013 had just 28 people that completed the trial.
GFR and Renadyl™
As noted previously, studies on Renadyl™ do not show significant changes in the glomerular filtration rate (GFR). Without getting too deep into the science, this is partially because GFR, as it is traditionally used in the medical settings isn’t always the most accurate measure of kidney function.
The other thing to note is that even while many study subjects showed positive outcomes, there were some subjects that didn’t see any changes in their renal function.
Does this mean the probiotic wasn’t helping? You can’t say that just because BUN or creatinine worsened or didn’t change during a trial of Renadyl™ that the probiotic “wasn’t working.”
There are many different things that impact renal function decline beyond just gut health (although that is a huge piece!). If someone still eats loads of salt and a very heavy meat diet or taking a medication that was impacting their kidneys, just taking a probiotic will not likely be very make-up for other poor diet and lifestyle choices.
It is difficult to take into account all the variables in a study like this. Larger studies are needed to thresh out outliers.
Renadyl ™ as a dialysis kidney care supplement?
Renadyl™ has very little research on its impact for people on dialysis. Many of the same uremic toxins that a dialysis machine removes are also what Renadyl™ targets. However, there are some uremic toxins that a dialysis machine would not remove that Renadyl™ would. What does that mean for people on dialysis?
First, there isn’t a lot of research on Renadyl™ and dialysis patients. The one small study completed in 2014 only had 22 participants and was only for two months.
Both of these studies had obvious limiting factors for collecting any sort of strong data. This study didn’t show any statistically significant reductions in uremic toxin levels or changes in quality of life (QOL) (5). Does this mean a kidney-specific probiotic like Renadyl™ isn’t helpful for someone on dialysis? Not necessarily.
The intent of taking something like Renadyl™ if you are on dialysis would be extra support or removal of uremic toxins on your non-dialysis days.
Kibow has some survey data from dialysis patients that seems to show an improvement in quality of life when taking Renadyl ™. That makes sense as most people feel much better the less uremia they have. That being said, there isn’t strong data for Renadyl™ usage with dialysis patients. Survey data is often weak data as it is especially subject to placebo effect.
I am very interested in future larger studies on Renadyl ™ for people on dialysis. I think there is potential for benefit. Especially combined with prebiotic therapy and some extra nutritional counseling on gut health.
For a dialysis patient, using Renadyl™ is a “might help, wouldn’t hurt” sort of intervention in my book. For dialysis patients wanting to try Renadyl™ , it is highly recommended you give it at least a 90-day trial to see how it impacts you.
I also think that probiotics other than Renadyl™ can be helpful for dialysis patients, especially with the high incidence of antibiotic use.
Non-kidney specific probiotics work for people with kidney disease too. Many people with kidney disease have gut problems such as constipation or diarrhea. There are many good probiotics to use when people have symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating.
Talk with your medical team about starting any supplement. Also remember to ramp up the dosage slowly (maybe over 1-2 weeks) to prevent bloating and gas. (More on using probiotics for kidney care and gut health in my last post).
How do you use Renadyl™ as a kidney care supplement?
Renadyl™ is an acid-resistant capsule. This means the microbes survive the harsh stomach acid and become active in the colon where they work all their uremic-eating magic.
Renadyl™ packaging states “Take two capsules daily.” Dosage seen in studies is at least 2 capsules twice a day, but can be as much as 4. There is no solid research on taking 4 capsules/day though so I generally recommend sticking with manufacturer recommendation.
I recommend my clients use Renadyl™ for at least 90 days, as that is the minimum for seeing best outcomes. I have not seen any adverse effects as a practitioner. The manufacturer of Renadyl™ has noted that there may be mild side effects of gas or bloating. These are typical of starting any good probiotic regimen and usually would resolve after 2-3 week of using the product consistently.
Summary of Renadyl™ as a kidney-specific probiotic
In summary, I think Renadyl™ is a good option for people with early stage kidney disease and could possibly be helpful for people on dialysis. There needs to be more research on this supplement for absolute conclusive recommendations, but I think it is a “might help, won’t hurt” intervention and worth a try for many people.
Has your doctor talked with you about how your gut health impacts your kidney health? Comment below to let us know what you have learned that has helped you!
Interested in learning more about probiotics as a kidney care supplement? Visit their website here or email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get more information and to get a $15 discount code on first time order only