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Phosphate Binders

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yellow and red capsules being poured out


Preventing Phosphorus Build-up in Your Blood

Healthy kidneys control the levels of phosphorus in your blood. When the kidneys don’t work as well as they used to, phosphorus can build up in your blood. This can lead to severe itching and other health problems that you can prevent by taking phosphate binders.

X-ray of knee joint showing calcified artery


Calcium + Phosphorus Can Harden Blood Vessels

Having too much calcium and phosphorus in your blood at the same time is a problem. The two minerals can join and form deposits in your skin, causing painful itching. Or, they can form deposits in blood vessels that may cut off blood flow to a limb. Phosphate binders can help keep your blood levels of phosphorus from getting too high.

location of stomach and intestines in the body


How Phosphate Binders Work

Phosphate binders work in your gut when you eat food. They bind chemically to phosphate in your food. Then, the binders and phosphate pass out of your body in your stool.

magnet attracting circles labeled phosphorus


Phosphate Binders Keep Phosphorus Out of Your Blood

Like a magnet, binders attract and hold phosphorus before it can get into your bloodstream. Taking phosphate binders and limiting high phosphorus foods go hand in hand to help you feel your best.

phosphate binder tablets


Types of Phosphate Binders

Some phosphate binders are calcium-based. These binders may be over-the-counter or prescription drugs. Other binders do not have calcium and may taste less “chalky.” Talk to your doctor about which type is right for you.

dinner plate containing steamed vegetables and grilled chicken


When to Take Phosphate Binders

You take phosphate binders WITH food. With ALL food. ONLY with food. They only work if they are in your gut at the same time that food is in your gut. When you eat a snack, you’ll take a small number of binders. With a larger meal, you’ll take more binders. Your dietitian will go over your lab test results with you to see if your phosphorus level is in the target range.

open pill holder


Bring Your Phosphate Binders With You

Keep some binders on hand when you’re away from home so you can take them as you need to. You can use a keychain container, pill box, or pill bottle to bring them along. Some people keep a bottle of binders in a purse or backpack.

Any time you eat, you want your binders to be on duty, cleaning up phosphorus.