Kidney Health

One function of the kidneys is to remove waste products and excess fluid from the body. Waste products and excess fluid are passed through to the bladder as urine. But the major function of the kidneys is recycling and re-absorption. The production of urine involves highly complex steps of excretion and re-absorption. This process is necessary to maintain a stable balance of body chemicals.

The critical regulation of the body's sodium, potassium and acid content is done by the kidneys. The kidneys:

  • Remove waste products from the body.
  • Demove drugs from the body.
  • Balance the body's fluids.
  • Release hormones that regulate blood pressure and control calcium metabolism.
  • Produce an active form of vitamin D that promotes strong, healthy bones.
  • Control the production of red blood cells.

There are two kidneys, each about the size of a tennis ball, located on either side of the base of the rib cage. Each kidney contains  a million functioning units called nephrons. A nephron consists of a filtering unit of tiny blood vessels called a glomerulus attached to a tubule. When blood enters the glomerulus, it is filtered and the remaining fluid then passes along the tubule where chemicals and water are either added or removed according to the body's needs. The kidneys filter and return to the bloodstream about 200 litres of fluid every 24 hours. Only 1% is passed as urine.

Obesity and diabetes are very bad for your kidneys. So you must get your insulin under control and move away from processed food, excess alcohol and sugary drinks. Fasting with the correct electrolytes is the best option for people with staged kidney disease. As with most metabolic diseases, doctors will offer a cocktail of expensive drugs that have serious side effects.

How to promote kidney health

  • Drink lots of water throughout the day
  • Eat citrates, such as lemons and limes.
  • Vitamin K2 (it passes calcium to the bone rather than soft tissue).
  • Vitamin D (boosts the correct absorption of calcium from the gut).
  • Take daily apple cider vinegar daily.
  • Consume baking soda.
  • Eat whole foods, not processed.
  • Eat potassium rich foods (and use LoSalt).
  • Get plenty of salt.
  • Fast.
  • Reduce blood pressure naturally.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Lower insulin.
  • Slash your sugar intake.
  • Avoid cola drinks rich in phosphoric acid.
  • Decrease oxalate containing foods (or cook carefully).
  • Don't hydrate with sodas, tea, coffee or juices.

Drink plenty of clean water

Regular drinks throughout the day are a great way to keep your kidneys healthy. It's also very important to hydrate after drinking alcohols (or better still adding ice, soda water and water to you alcoholic drinks). Water helps the kidneys remove wastes from your blood via urine. Water also helps keep your blood vessels open, which allows blood to travel freely to your kidneys and deliver essential nutrients.

If you become dehydrated, then it's more difficult for the water delivery system to work. Mild dehydration can make you feel tired, and puts pressure on bodily functions. Severe dehydration can lead to kidney damage. Drink plenty of water when you work or exercise hard. In addition to drinking plain water:-

  • Drink a small glass of water with 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar daily.
  • Add fresh lemon juice to a glass of water.
  • If you are fasting, make sure you take electrolyte water rather than plain water.
  • Drink some water with a teaspoon of baking soda daily.
  • Try coconut water (better if you can get fresh young coconuts, and beware carton coconut water due to potentially added sugar).

Electrolyte intake is very important. If you are consuming lots of water due to exercise or heat, you need to up your intake of salt, potassium and magnesium. Drinking excessive amounts of water can cause low electrolytes by overwhelming the kidneys' ability to excrete water. You can make a great electrolyte solution here.

Prevent or disolve kidney stones

Kidney stones are typically made from calcium oxalate. Kidney stones can grow to over an inch in diameter, but most stones are small and pass unnoticed through the urinary tract. But they can also cause extreme pain as they leave the body. If you are prone to stones you need to:

  • Drink lots of water.
  • Decrease oxalate containing foods (or cook carefully).
  • Improve citrate intake. From lemon and limes.
  • Take vitamin K2 as it passes calcium to the bone rather than soft tissue.
  • Take vitamin D as it will boost the correct absorption of calcium from the gut.
  • Lower insulin.
  • Avoid cola drinks rich in phosphoric acid. They cause urinary changes, chronic kidney disease and kidney stones.

Salts

There is around 9g of sodium in one litre of blood. So the kidneys are filtering and recycling an astonishing  1.8kg of sodium per day (the equivalent of 4.7kg of salt as NaCl). Doctors wrongly recommend an intake of a teaspoon a day. Do you think taking 2 or 3 teaspoons of salt per day would affect the kidneys? 3 teaspoons of salt a day would only make the kidneys process 0.2% more salt!

Restricting salt to less than 3000mg/day causes artery stiffening hormones such as renin, angiotensin II, and aldosterone to sky-rocket and also activates stress hormones noradrenaline and adrenaline. Before the advent of refrigerators, salt was used to preserve a wide range of foods and average salt intake was huge – heart disease, obesity and high blood pressure was relatively unheard of. The Romans ate 25g of salt per day but our kidneys can actually filter out 100g of salt per day! In 19th century Europe, it was about 18 g per day.

The negative aspects of having low salt levels (sodium chloride) far outweigh the alleged negatives of having high levels of salt. If your body has excess salt it will either sweat it out or pass it through the kidneys into the urine. Your body is perfectly designed to get rid of excess salt, but it’s not designed to function on very low levels.

The hormone aldosterone is is essential for sodium conservation in the kidney, salivary glands, sweat glands and colon, if you don’t get enough salt your body will produce way more aldosterone which has several bad effects such as a clear increase in blood pressure and increased water retention. Aldesterone will cause more potassium to leave the cells via urine (as it tries to increase sodium released into the blood to compensate for a lower salt intake). Increased levels of aldosterone have been clearly linked to a rise in the bodies insulin levels. Consuming four cups of coffee results in a loss of ½ to 1 tsp of salt.

Plenty of salt = no problems.  11g of salt a day seems to be the optimal amount (if you exercise lots of have low insulin due to a low carb diet, you will need more).

Studies have clearly shown that having the correct balance of potassium to sodium is far more important than lowering salt alone. Eat plenty of potassium!

One of potassium’s biggest roles in our bodies is to regulate the amount of sodium entering and exiting our cells, thereby controlling the amount of fluid we retain or excrete. Potassium maintains the body’s pH levels, which ensures that cellular processes correctly. Potassium is an essential dietary mineral and electrolyte, as our bodies are an electro-chemical system. Our bodies depend on tight regulation of potassium concentrations both inside and outside of cells. Potassium concentrations are about 30 times higher inside than outside cells, while sodium concentrations are more than ten times lower inside than outside cells. The concentration differences between potassium and sodium across cell membranes create an electrochemical gradient known as the membrane potential. It’s used to move water, glycogen and waste products through the cell walls.

Fatigue is the most common symptom of chronic potassium deficiency. Most people are not getting enough potassium as you need a whopping 4700mg (4.7g) per day. When people are low in potassium, sodium  accumulates in the tissues and water is retained and blood pressure increases.

Potassium

Potassium

One of potassium’s biggest roles in our bodies is to regulate the amount of sodium entering and exiting our cells (the potassium - sodium pump). Potassium also maintains the body’s pH levels. You need to consume a lot of potassium each day (4700mg or 4.7g). You cannot directly take potassium salts as a pill or powder supplement. 

Sodium

Sodium

Plenty of salt = no problems.  11g of salt a day seems to be the optimal amount (if you exercise lots or have low insulin due to a low carb diet, you will need more). The vast majority of us don’t need to eat a low salt diet. In fact, for most of us need more salt than less.

Magnesium

Magnesium

Magnesium is an important electrolyte used by virtually all of the bodily enzymes. It maintains fluid balance, gives energy to the cells (ATP), activates creatine, improves sleep quality, and increases the amount of free testosterone. You need around 400mg per day.

Diuretics are not good for you!

Diuretics are used to rid the body of extra fluid or salt. People with high blood pressure, heart disease, fluid retention and kidney disease often use diuretics to treat these conditions. There are three types of diuretics:

  • Loop-acting diuretics, such as Bumex®, Demadex®, Edecrin® or Lasix®.
  • Potassium-sparing diuretics, such as Aldactone®, Dyrenium® or Midamor®.
  • Thiazide diuretics, such as Aquatensen®, Diucardin® or Trichlorex®.

These diuretics have some negative effects upon the kidneys and the liver. They go against the natural flows of bodily processes. Alcohol, ginger, parsley and caffeine are natural diuretics. Also, a diet rich in potassium will decrease water retention.