Life Herbs Blog

Keeping our kidneys healthy

kidney beans

Every half an hour, our kidneys filter all of the blood in our body. Toxins are removed and excreted into the urine. This is why the kidneys are so vital to prevent damage to all of our organs. The kidneys also regulate our body’s alkaline/acid balance which prevents us from becoming dangerously acidic.

The kidneys are at the front line and need to be protected, otherwise they will become susceptible to damage because of the dangerous work they carry out. There are three types of serious kidney disease – acute renal failure, chronic kidney disease, and end stage renal disease.

Acute renal failure occurs is when our kidneys abruptly stop working because of an injury or from ingesting a toxic substance. It generally responds well to treatment, if the kidneys are not severely damaged.

Chronic kidney disease occurs when our kidneys gradually lose the ability to function. This is the most common type of kidney ailment. Often it is symptomless until the condition is well advanced. Typical symptoms at this stage are numbness or swelling of the hands and feet, frequent urination, nausea, anaemia, and poor appetite.

End stage renal disease is a serious condition in which there is no or very little kidney function remaining, and the damage to the kidney is permanent. At this point, a patient is looking at daily dialysis sessions or a kidney transplant.

Kidney cancer

Whilst not common, however, kidney diseases are largely preventable.

  1. Drink enough water
  2. This is the most important step in keeping kidneys strong. It is suggested that we drink one half ounce of water to every pound of our weight, so a 200 pound man would drink 100 ounces of water every day. Drink more after strenuous exercise or if you live in a dry climate.

  3. Take probiotics daily
  4. Good bacteria help our kidneys process waste materials and contribute to overall digestive health.

  5. Lower our phosphorous intake
  6. When kidneys don’t work well, phosphorus accumulates in the body, causing potentially serious conditions, such as bone and heart disorders, as well as calcification (hardening) of tissues. Phosphorous is found in most foods, but carbonated soft drinks and prepared, processed foods are especially high in phosphorus. We only need 800 mg to 1,200 mg of phosphorus each day; higher amounts are flushed from the body by healthy kidneys.

  7. Drink green juice
  8. Green foods aid in detoxification. The herb coriander is particularly good at clearing heavy metal toxicity from our bodies and keeping our kidneys healthy. Add water, lemon juice, and honey.

  9. Eat kidney-supportive foods
  10. Coriander and its excellent relative parsley, watermelon, cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, apples, cabbage, cauliflower, peppers, garlic, onions and olive oil.

  11. Lose weight
  12. Obesity has been linked to an increased likelihood of developing kidney cancer.

  13. Avoid pain relievers
  14. Especially avoid non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin), naproxen (Aleve), and acetaminophen (Tylenol). Products like these are very hard on the kidneys. Even worse, researchers have found that these drugs increase the risk of developing kidney cancer. Never mix NSAIDs and alcohol.

  15. Take an Epsom salts bath
  16. This is a basic detoxification measure. Removing waste and toxins gives your kidneys a boost while improving your overall health.

  17. Keep your blood pressure under control
  18. High blood pressure and diabetes are two big threats to our kidney function. Controlling your blood sugar and blood pressure are your best bets for maintaining normal kidney function.

  19. Stop smoking
  20. The toxins damage your kidneys.

Juicing

Juicing is the perfect natural treatment for renal disease, as it is easy, very safe, cost effective, and tastes great! Juicing literally takes the best of the plant, concentrates it, and delivers the benefits in such a manner that the body absorbs virtually all of it.

Soft drinks containing sugar

Juicing is not just about providing your body with naturally occurring vitamins and minerals (which is worthwhile benefit itself), juicing will also help heal your kidneys, give your entire body a cleanse, and flush out any toxins

Kidney Juice Recipe – Watermelon Soother

Ingredients:

12 centimetres watermelon
2 tablespoons raspberries
6 strawberries
1 carrot
½ cucumber
½ cup parsley

Method:

use a juicer to juice each individual ingredient into a single container. Stir and serve. Drink 2-5 glasses per week. Drink within 24 hours.

Foods to avoid

  1. Animal Protein (Meat and Dairy)
  2. Milk is an animal protein which is highly acidifying, whether it comes from a goat, sheep, or cow. Though bear in mind cow’s milk is four times as mucus forming. The consumption of milk and other dairy products increases calcium secretion in the urine – the body must take calcium from the bones to neutralize the acid in our system before our kidneys get bombarded with the excess protein.

    Meat-rich diets increase the risk of uric acid kidney stones. There is direct evidence that excessive consumption of animal protein harms our kidneys. A balanced vegetarian diet with a moderate animal protein … with lots of with fruits and vegetables which are all alkaline results in the lowest risk of uric acid crystallization compared to omnivorous diets.

  3. Caffeine
  4. The problem with caffeine is the very thing we like about it: it’s a stimulant, and if our kidneys are already taxed, long-term caffeine use can increase our risk of renal failure. Even brief caffeine consumption increases our risk of developing kidney stones, especially on an empty stomach.

  5. Synthetic Sweeteners (Aspartame, Saccharine, etc.)
  6. Whilst it’s true that sugar is bad for our bones, sugar substitutes rapidly decreases our kidney function. The fact is artificial sweeteners are synthetic chemicals, and have a toxic and acidifying effect on your liver!

    The heaviest consumption of these chemicals is from drinking diet soft drinks such as cola drinks and flavoured waters.

    So use plant-derived Stevia or Monk fruit (which is 250 times as sweet as sugar) instead of the toxic artificial sweeteners.

  7. Soft drinks containing sugar
  8. These fizzy beverages rob our bones of their youthful vitality in other ways besides crippling our kidneys. They de-mineralise our bones because of the enormous amount of caustic phosphoric acid they contain. This acid dissolves calcium, making it just about impossible to prevent bone loss.

    Instead, drink plenty of distilled water with a few drops of lemon juice.

  9. Salt
  10. Table salt contains sodium chloride, anti-caking agents, and often dextrose. It’s also bleached and processed for uniform colour and crystal size.
    In addition table salt contains 40% sodium and is devoid of other trace minerals or healthful components, thus bombarding our kidneys with excessive amounts of a single element. For example, a high sodium diet that’s low in potassium has been linked to heart attack and, startlingly enough, death from any cause.

    Salt also robs our bones of calcium weakening them. Urinary output of calcium increases greatly when excess sodium is ingested, accelerating the ageing process and damaging bones. There are various natural salts you can use instead, I would recommend the use of Pink Himalayan sea salt because it contains the same 84 trace minerals and elements found in the human body; including sodium chloride, sulphate, calcium, potassium, and magnesium.

  11. GMOs (Genetically Modified Foods)
  12. Some very common foods like corn, rapeseed oil, and soy are almost always genetically modified these days, evidence is mounting that these foods cause kidney damage.

Drugs which cause kidney damage

It is possible to lose up to 90% of our kidney function without experiencing any symptoms or problems at all. In fact drugs are one of the most common causes of kidney damage. Drugs can cause kidney inflammation, which can lead to fibrosis and renal scarring and ultimately kidney failure. Furthermore, if you have kidney problems these drugs can be deadly even in small doses.

  1. Antibiotics
  2. Including ciprofloxacin, methicillin, vancomycin, aminoglycosides, cephalosporins, amphotercin B,a bacitracin and sulphonamides.

  3. Analgesics (painkillers)
  4. Including acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and other prescription and non-prescription painkillers.

  5. COX-2 Inhibitors
  6. These include celecoxib (Celebrex), rofecoxib (Vioxx) and valdecoxib (Bextra).

  7. Drugs for Heartburn
  8. These include proton pump inhibitors like omeprazole (Prilosec), Iansoprazole (Prevacid), pantoprazole (Protonix), rabeprazole (Rabecid, Aciphex) and esomeprazole (Nexium, Esotrex)

  9. Antiviral Drugs
  10. Including acyclovir (Zovirax), used to treat herpes infection and indinavir, ritonavir and tenofovir (all used to treat HIV).

  11. Hyptotensive Drugs (High Blood Pressure)
  12. Including capopripl (Capoten), lisinopril, ramipril and angiotensin receptor blockers like candesartan and valsartan.

Bad Habits which can seriously damage our kidneys

This is a list of ten common habits that you might not realise are putting a lot of pressure on your kidneys and may lead to serious kidney damage over time.

  1. Not Drinking Enough Water
  2. One of the important functions of the kidneys is to filter blood and get rid of toxins and waste materials that can harm the body. When you don’t drink enough water, those toxins and waste materials start to accumulate, eventually causing severe damage.

  3. Consuming Too Much Salt
  4. The body does need sodium to work properly, but an excess of sodium can cause damage. Most people consume too much, which can raise blood pressure and puts stress on the kidneys.

  5. Consuming Too Much Sugar
  6. Studies have shown that people who consume two or more sugary drinks a day are more likely to have protein in their urine. Proteinurea or (Protein in the urine), is an early sign that the kidneys are not doing their job properly.

  7. Holding Urine
  8. This might sound odd, but almost everyone does it. The urge often comes during a car ride, in the middle of a phone call, or when there isn’t a bathroom nearby. Holding in urine on a regular basis increases pressure, which can lead to kidney failure and kidney stones. When nature calls, it’s best to listen.

  9. Being Deficient in Vitamins and Minerals
  10. Eating a healthy diet is important for overall health, including kidney function. There are multiple deficiencies that can increase the risk of kidney stones or kidney failure, such as vitamin B6 and magnesium.

  11. Drinking Coffee in Excess
  12. Caffeine can raise blood pressure and put extra stress on the kidneys, just as salt can. Over time, excess coffee/caffeine consumption may lead to kidney damage.

  13. Being Deficient in Vitamins and Minerals
  14. Eating a healthy diet is important for overall health, including kidney function. There are multiple deficiencies that can increase the risk of kidney stones or kidney failure, such as vitamin B6 and magnesium.

  15. Consuming Too Much Animal Protein
  16. Consuming an excess of animal protein (especially red meat) increases the metabolic load on the kidneys. The more animal protein one consumes, the harder the kidneys have to work, which can cause stress and lead to kidney damage.

  17. Not Getting Enough Sleep
  18. Chronic sleep deprivation is linked to many health problems, including kidney disease. The body works while sleeping to repair kidney tissue that may be damaged, so depriving the body of sleep makes it harder to heal.

  19. Abusing Painkillers
  20. Both over-the-counter and prescription drugs are commonly taken for aches and pains without concern about the harmful side effects that may arise. Excessive use or abuse of painkillers can lead to severe kidney damage.

Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (irregular and often very fast heartbeat) can lead to Chronic Kidney Disease as well as Cardio-vascular disease. It is associated with a wider range of conditions than previously believed. It is very amenable to herbal treatment.

Supplements for kidney health

Alpha Lipoic Acid (also known as Lipoic Acid is one of the best kidney-healing nutrient available. It helps increase cellular kidney energy for healing, reduces blood glucose levels, prevents and reverses diabetic neuropathy, increases energy, assists detoxification from heavy metals, can be used in the treatment of cardiovascular disease and much more.

Clinical study findings

  1. Prevents structural damage in the kidneys and the development of albuminuria (albumin in the urine)
  2. Offers protection from chemotherapy induced kidney damage.
  3. Protective against diabetic structural kidney damage.
  4. Lipoic acid helps recycle “used” vitamins and minerals so that they can be used once more in the body.

Food Sources (in no particular order): organ meat, yams, potato, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, carrots, brewer’s yeast, spinach and rice bran.

Herbs to assist kidney function

Cordyceps

This is a wonderful mushroom which has been demonstrated to improve kidney health after only one month of regular use. It also improves liver function and detoxification. It supports the immune system, fights respiratory infections and helps diabetes. It balances cholesterol levels; can be used for cardio-vascular disease and it is anti-ageing. It improves stamina and athletic performance. Cordyceps has also been found to shrink tumours.

Punarnava

This Ayurvedic herb is especially useful for treating all the disorders of the kidneys as it reduces the urea levels in the body very effectively. It also acts as a liver tonic and can be used to treat all the disorders of the liver. It treats all the disorders of the eyes like night blindness, glaucoma and persistent irritation in the eyes. Even people suffering from gradually reducing vision will benefit from taking Punarnava regularly. 

Nettle seeds

They help with the general stress response. They strengthen the adrenals, and they’re loaded with minerals and trace elements. They can be used for all sorts of kidney trouble