Chia Seeds For Kidney Patients

  • 1st Revision: Bea Brownlee [Linkedin]
  • 2nd Revision: Tan Jit Yih


Have you heard of edible seeds that are full of nutrients and provide several health benefits? Chia seeds, also known as Salba chia and Mexican chia, are the seeds of a flowering plant called Salvia hispanica, a species of the mint family. In the past, Aztecs and Mesoamericans used these seeds as an ingredient in their meals as they have many health benefits – helping in weight loss, improving heart health, lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and improving intestinal health. Moreover, they reduce the chances of developing diabetes and also protect against colorectal cancer

In recent times, people have created various recipes to include chia seeds in their diet. Some eat them in their raw form, while others add them cooked. Using them in desserts like chia pudding and cereals is like adding a cherry on top of a cake. 

These seeds are greatly recognised for their extra nutritional value that helps our organs to stay healthy. However, there are some mixed reviews for how they affect our kidneys. 

Nutritional value of chia seeds

The chemical composition of chia seeds gives them beneficial properties for the human body. Table 1 shows the nutrients present in 100 grams of chia seeds.1

Table 1: 

NutrientsValue (per 100g)
Dietary fibre30-34g
Fatty acids, including omega-3 and 630.7 g
Protein16.5 g
Saturated fats3.33 g
Phosphorus860-919 mg
Calcium456-631 mg
Potassium407-726 mg
Magnesium335-449 mg
Vitamin B10.6 mg
Vitamin B20.2 mg

Chia seeds & kidney patients

People with kidney conditions like chronic kidney disease, kidney stones, kidney failure, or kidney transplants may be put on a renal diet. This diet involves consuming less sodium, protein, potassium, and phosphorus. However, the National Kidney Foundation advises kidney patients to consult their doctors and nutritionists before adding chia seeds to their diet.

Benefits of chia seeds for kidney patients

Chia seeds are a rich source of fibre, which is an essential nutrient for the kidneys. Consuming a sufficient amount of fibre helps with decreasing blood urea nitrogen and creatinine levels, which is important for preventing the complications of chronic kidney disease.2 Research has shown that the risk of chronic kidney disease is 40-50% lower in people who consume a high-fibre diet. 

People with kidney disease could eventually develop end-stage renal disease (ESRD). To prevent this complication, Omega-3 supplementation has been found to improve the function of the glomerulus (a part of the kidneys that filters waste from blood) by reducing proteinuria in patients with impaired kidneys.3 

As mentioned in Table 1, chia seeds are a good source of omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. However, it is vital to consult your doctor and nutritionist to determine a safe quantity of chia seeds to add to your diet. 

Side effects of chia seeds 

The high saturated fat content in chia seeds is a risk factor for developing albuminuria (the presence of a blood protein in urine) and decreasing glomerular filtration rate (GFR). Both of these conditions further damage human kidneys. To prevent complications, take caution when adding chia seeds to your diet.4

Another side effect of chia seeds is high blood calcium levels. Calcium can be risky for kidney patients as it causes deposition of calcium (calcification) which can further result in decreased GFR levels and can also lead to kidney stones.5

Kidneys play an important role in maintaining potassium levels. High potassium levels (hyperkalaemia) is as bad as low potassium (hypokalaemia). Since people with kidney disorders have impaired kidney function, they are unable to maintain these levels on their own, 6 and require external support through diet or supplements. Chia seeds can help in hypokalaemic conditions but can be harmful to people with high serum potassium levels. 

Similarly, the kidneys also regulate magnesium levels. Both high and too low magnesium can be detrimental to the kidneys.7 

Therefore, it is recommended to consult a doctor for advice on the recommended amount of chia seeds to eat before adding them to your diet. 

Things to remember

  • Chia seeds are edible seeds and can be eaten as part of a healthy diet
  • They have a high nutritional value, which makes them beneficial for human health 
  • For kidney patients, it is recommended to consult a doctor as chia seeds may have harmful effects 


Chia seeds are beneficial for improving heart health, reducing weight, improving intestinal function, and even preventing some cancers. However, they can have both beneficial and harmful effects on the kidneys. On one hand, they prevent complications of kidney disease and improve kidney function. On the other hand, they also contain nutrients that can cause severe damaging risks for the patients. Therefore, it is recommended to ask your doctor about a safe quantity before adding them to your diet. 


  1. Kulczyński B, Kobus-Cisowska J, Taczanowski M, Kmiecik D, Gramza-Michałowska A. The chemical composition and nutritional value of chia seeds—current state of knowledge. Nutrients [Internet]. 2019 May 31 [cited 2023 Mar 29];11(6):1242. Available from:
  1. Su G, Qin X, Yang C, Sabatino A, Kelly JT, Avesani CM, et al. Fiber intake and health in people with chronic kidney disease. Clinical Kidney Journal [Internet]. 2022 Feb 4 [cited 2023 Mar 29];15(2):213–25. Available from:
  1. Hu J, Liu Z, Zhang H. Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation as an adjunctive therapy in the treatment of chronic kidney disease: a meta-analysis. Clinics [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2023 Mar 29];72(1):58–64. Available from:
  1. Lin J, Judd S, Le A, Ard J, Newsome BB, Howard G, et al. Associations of dietary fat with albuminuria and kidney dysfunction. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition [Internet]. 2010 Oct [cited 2023 Apr 1];92(4):897–904. Available from:
  1. Sadiq NM, Naganathan S, Badireddy M. Hypercalcemia. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 [cited 2023 Apr 1]. Available from:
  1. Potassium in your CKD diet [Internet]. National Kidney Foundation. 2022 [cited 2023 Apr 1]. Available from:
  1. van de Wal-Visscher ER, Kooman JP, van der Sande FM. Magnesium in chronic kidney disease: should we care? BPU [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2023 Apr 1];45(1–3):173–8. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Amira Samnani

Bachelor of Science in Nursing- The Aga Khan University Hospital, Pakistan

Amira is a Registered Nurse with demonstrated clinical experience of working in health care industry. She has a 4 years of experience as a practicing nurse in Internal Medicine-Adult care unit. She is proficient in her knowledge about health education and promotion. Currently, she is seeking roles in her field while continuing her education to become health and wellness expert.

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