Index of Diseases / Health Conditions ... Medicinal Foods, Herbs, Spices & Household Items
The below provides a general overview of this topic and may not apply to everyone. Any treatment protocol should be discussed with a qualified healthcare practitioner ... Please refer to Medical & Legal Disclaimer.
Function of the Kidneys
Most Important Tests & Protocols
Alternative / Supportive Treatment:
- Kidney Detox: Castor Oil Packs
- Essential Oils
Chronic Kidney Disease:
An estimated 20 million adults in the U.S. have chronic kidney disease (CKD) - but among them, less than 12% of men and less than 6% of women are aware of it.
Even fewer people realize that Chronic Kidney Disease - like high blood pressure, diabetes, and elevated cholesterol levels - leads to an increased risk for heart disease and stroke.
Those at increased risk of developing this disease are ...
- people over age 60;
- people suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes, Lupus, hepatitis B or C; or
- people with a family history of kidney disease in a first-degree relative (parent or sibling.
In the early stages, kidney disease usually causes no symptoms. By the time symptoms occur - typically fatigue, weakness, and an overall feeling of disease - the decline in kidney function is often advanced and cannot be reversed.
Artificial Sweeteners & Sodium:
Scientists from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston conducted an 11-year study on the effects of artificial sweeteners on the body. The results indicated that those who drank two or more artificially-sweetened beverages a day doubled their risk of more-rapid-than-normal kidney function decline. High sodium intake was also implicated in the study as promoting progressive kidney decline. Since diet soda contains excessive amounts of sodium, higher than sugar soda, it was unclear which ingredient played the larger role in progressive kidney decline, the artificial sweeteners or the sodium content.
The most important tests & recommended protocol ...
Screening (with blood and urine tests) should be part of the regular physical exam for high-risk patients.
- Albumin: Albumin is the most abundant protein in the blood. If the kidneys are working properly, they return albumin to the bloodstream as it passes through the kidneys' filtering units. Albumin in the urine suggests that the kidneys have sustained damage.
- NOTE: a standard urinalysis is not sensitive enough to detect very low levels of albumin. A special test, called a microalbumin test, is required.
- Creatinine: Creatinine is a by-product of normal muscle metabolism and is one of the waste substances removed by the kidneys. Doctors use the level of creatinine in the blood to estimate the Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR), an indication of how efficiently the kidneys are doing their job. A GFR level of fewer than 60 units is considered abnormal.
Ways to Protect Your Kidney from Further Deterioration:
- It is vital to manage the underlying condition that caused the disease (high blood pressure, diabetes, Lupus, hepatitis B or C, etc.).
- Avoid over-the-counter NSAIDs / painkillers such as Ibuprofen or Aleve - especially if used regularly, as these drugs may hasten kidney deterioration. Tylenol is usually a better option for people with kidney disease.
- Dyes injected for contrast during radiographic procedures, such as angiography and CT scans may injure kidneys that are weakened by disease. When arranging these tests, advise your doctor of your kidney problems.
- Surgery and anesthesia may also affect kidney function and require careful monitoring of fluids. Again, advise your surgeon of your kidney disease before the procedure.
- Some patients develop kidney failure requiring treatment with dialysis (using a machine to perform most functions of the kidneys) or a kidney transplant.
- Eating Fish: A British study of more than 22,000 adults, including 517 with diabetes, found that eating fish twice a week cuts diabetics' kidney risks and enhances blood glucose control. The participants' fish consumption was determined using dietary and lifestyle questionnaires. People with diabetes who ate less than one serving of fish per week were about four times more likely (18 percent) to have protein in their urine than those who ate at least two servings of fish per week (4 percent). "Protein in the urine is one of the earliest signs of kidney disease," noted study co-author Dr. Amanda Adler, of the Medical Research Council epidemiology unit at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge. The study was published in the November issue of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases. Adler and her colleagues suggested the "unique nutrient composition of fish" may benefit kidney function by enhancing blood glucose control and improving plasma lipid profiles. People who consume fish may have other lifestyle factors that reduce their risk of having protein in the urine (albuminuria), but the study design attempted to account for that possibility, Adler said.
The function of the Kidneys:
The kidneys filter and secrete metabolites (such as urea) and minerals from the blood and excrete them, along with water, as urine.
They are important regulators of blood pressure, glucose metabolism, and erythropoiesis (the process by which red blood cells (erythrocytes) are produced).
In humans, the kidneys are located in the posterior part of the abdomen. There is one on each side of the spine; the right kidney sits just below the liver, the left below the diaphragm, and adjacent to the spleen.
General Kidney Health:
- Cherries (fresh, frozen, or unsweetened, 100% juice): According to research from Michigan State University tart cherries contain anthocyanins and bioflavonoids, which inhibit the enzymes Cyclooxygenase-1 and -2, and prevent inflammation in the body. These compounds have similar activity as aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen.
- Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (Organic, Raw, Unpasteurized, Golden Variety). Boosts the immune system and fights bacteria. Aids in healing infections of the urinary tract and kidneys. Balances electrolytes and enzymes and adds minerals. Don't buy distilled, light amber, or white vinegar. These are fine for cleaning but are of no nutritional value.
- Damaged Liver & Kidney Functions: An August 2006 Chinese study found that fluoride in drinking water damages children's liver and kidney functions.
About 190,000 cases of kidney cancer are diagnosed each year. Risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, and exposure to toxic chemicals such as asbestos and cadmium.
- Research published in the International Journal of Cancer suggests that regular, moderated consumption of whole fruits and vegetables, especially bananas, can be protective.
- The results of this large population-based prospective study (13.4 years) of 61,000 women aged 40-76 show that women eating more than 75 servings of fruits and vegetables per month (which translates into 2.5 per day) cut their risk of kidney cancer 40%. Among the fruits, bananas were especially protective. Women eating bananas four to six times a week halved their risk of developing the disease compared to those who did not eat this fruit.
- Salads, eaten at least once a day, were associated with a 40% decreased risk. Among vegetables, frequent consumption of root vegetables and white cabbage offered the most protection, providing a 50-65% decrease in risk.
- The conclusion drawn by the researchers: routine and moderate consumption of fruits and vegetables, especially bananas, cabbage, and root vegetables, may reduce the risk of kidney cancer. Bananas and many root vegetables contain high amounts of antioxidant phenolic compounds. Cabbage is rich in sulfur compounds necessary for efficient and effective detoxification of potential carcinogens. This mixture of phytonutrients may have been particularly helpful in protecting kidney function.
NOTE: In several studies examining diet and kidney cancer, very high consumption of fruit juices is associated with increased cancer risk, since most fruit juices are made of highly processed fruits. Moderate amounts of fruit juice - especially juice containing as much of the whole fruit as possible, are still recommended since these limited amounts in a balanced diet appear to be protective against kidney cancer.
- Fatty Cold Water Fish: According to a study published in JAMA, common kidney cancer may be thwarted by eating fatty cold-water fish at least once a week. Fatty fish, like salmon, herring, sardines, and mackerel, is known for its high amounts of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin D content. The study specifically compared the intake of fatty fish to lean fish, including cod and tuna, as well as other seafood, such as shrimp, lobster, and crayfish and examined the risk of Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC) in the group of more than 61,000 Swedish women. The women were followed over a period of 15 years. Those who reported consistent long-term consumption of fatty fish had a statistically significant 74 percent lower risk of RCC. Lean fish, however, did not provide a benefit.
- Click here to find the best and the worst fish to eat.
- Supplements, such a good-quality Cod Liver Oil, are also an option. There are some lemon-flavored versions that is not unpleasant to eat (click on the link for more info).
- Spirulina has strong anti-cancer properties. Tests have discovered that Spirulina supercharges the immune system for better disease resistance and increased fertility. Studies also indicated that it increases metabolic rate, promotes the beneficial types of digestive tract flora, has strong anti-cancer and anti-viral properties, reduces serum cholesterol, protects against kidney damage, and has radio-protective effects. The National Cancer Institute has announced that sulfolipids in spirulina are remarkably active against HIV. You can buy it in pill form or as a powder.
- Please visit the following resources for further information on cancer & cancer nutrition.
About 5% of adults develop a stone sometime in their life, with men being more susceptible than women. Small stones often pass through the urinary tract on their own (albeit sometimes painfully). Larger stones can get stuck in the ureters or kidneys, causing much greater pain. It's best to stop them before they start. If you are prone to oxalate stones, by far the most common type, avoid foods, such as spinach, rhubarb, wheat bran and chocolate. Drink lots of water. Cut back on meat and salt. Additionally, a medley of natural remedies can help keep you stone free. Health practitioners may recommend to their patients to try one or two of the following supplements at a time, to see what works for them.
- Inositol hexaphosphate (IP-6). You find this carbohydrate also known as phytate in cereal grains, beans, brown rice, and other high-fiber foods. In one study published in Anticancer Research, 120 mg a day of IP-6 significantly reduced calcium oxalate crystal formation in people with a history of kidney stones. For greater effectiveness, doctors may prescribe IP-6 supplements that contain small amounts of calcium and magnesium. Since phytate can slightly inhibit iron absorption, it is best to take it separately from iron-rich foods or your doctor may recommend an iron supplement. (Dosage: about 2.5 to 5 grams a day)
- Magnesium: The body uses magnesium and vitamin B6 to convert calcium oxalate into magnesium oxalate - a soluble compound. Opt for magnesium citrate supplements, since citrate has been shown to reduce the recurrence of stones as well. Take it with meals to lower urinary oxalate levels. Dosage: 500 to 800 mg of magnesium citrate a day, along with 10 to 20 mg of vitamin B6.
- Potassium: Found in raisins, baked potatoes, and bananas. Potassium reduces the amount of calcium in urine. Research indicates that 5 grams of potassium citrate three times a day can significantly reduce the rate of stone formation. Dosage: 15 grams daily of potassium citrate in divided doses.
- Solidago virgaurea L., also known as Goldenrod: This flowering weed grows mainly in the southeastern U.S. It has long been used to treat bladder, kidney, and urinary tract problems. By increasing blood flow to the kidneys and increasing urination, solidago helps flush out toxins and reduces the build-up of calcium. You can buy it as capsules, tinctures, or as a dried herb. Dosage: 2 to 4 ml of a 1-to-5 tincture, two to three times a day.
Atlantic Cedar aka Atlas Cedar and Moroccan Cedarwood Essential Oil: The oil may be beneficial in the treatment of kidney and bladder disorders. Its antiseptic properties make it an ideal remedy for bladder and kidney infections and for cystitis. The oil may be added to a sitz bath and to compresses. This oil is considered neurotoxic and abortive and should not be used on children and pregnant women.
Pine: It is antiseptic, bactericidal, decongestant, deodorant, diuretic, expectorant, and insecticidal. Known to refresh a tired mind and mental fatigue. Effective with cystitis and prostate problems and known as a general kidney cleanser. (Pine essential oil is toxic to birds! Do not use them around them.)
Bay Laurel: Because of the high amount of phenols, this essential oil is a good antiseptic for the respiratory system. It expels wind and has a tonic effect on the liver and kidneys. Bay laurel may be used for sprains and bruises. Useful as a scalp and hair tonic, recommended for hair loss, greasy hair or flaky scalp.
Helichrysum Italicum: Among its properties are anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antitussive, astringent, diuretic, expectorant, fungicidal, and cicatrisant. It's used in lymphatic drainage massages, and acts as a stimulant for the liver, gall bladder, kidneys and spleen - the organs responsible for detoxifying the body.
Information contained on this website is provided as general reference only. For application to specific circumstances, professional advice should be sought.
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