Are your kidneys in danger?
It’s not often that we give thought to our kidneys. The kidneys are like the busy worker bees of the body – they dutifully do their job without making a fuss or attracting any attention. Because of the low-profile role of the kidneys, a largely misunderstood organ that is essential to good health, you may not realise that your kidneys are in trouble until it is too late.
The fact remains that kidney disease is the ninth leading cause of death in the Western world. World Kidney Day rolls around each year in March to raise awareness for this silent killer, but most of us click right through on social media because we think kidney disease couldn’t happen to us. But as the World Kidney Day initiative reminds us, early chronic kidney disease is truly silent – it develops with very few detectable symptoms over several years.
Chronic kidney disease normally does not go away on its own. Kidney disease can be treated by making critical lifestyle changes and by supplementing missing nutrients. The earlier that a kidney disorder is detected, the better the chance of recovery will be.
Because the subtle signs of poor kidney health are not common knowledge, the silent epidemic progresses. Today, up to 10 percent of the global adult population suffers from some form of kidney damage, matching the global burden of diabetes.1 A 2013 editorial report published in Lancet confirms, “The prevalence of kidney disease is likely to be underestimated… Chronic kidney disease is recognised as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.”
WHAT ARE YOUR KIDNEYS TRYING TO TELL YOU?
As the book Improving Kidney Health in 30 Days explains, “Kidney disease occurs when damaged kidneys can no longer effectively filter blood. Once waste builds up as a result of kidney damage, it can cause a domino effect in the body that ultimately leads to poor health. Kidney damage is likely to occur over several years and may be diagnosed as chronic kidney disease (CKD). Chronic kidney disease differs from a sudden change in kidney health related to injury, illness, or medication, otherwise known as acute Kidney disease can sneak up on you kidney injury.”
When kidney function starts to slowly and silently decline, the kidneys can no longer complete the important and unique tasks in the body that only they can do. Your body relies on the function of your kidneys each day to support digestive health, control blood pressure, produce vital hormones, monitor fluid content and adjust mineral levels, activate the essential vitamin D, produce urine to excrete waste, and resorb water, glucose, and amino acids.
You may not notice right away that your kidneys are struggling, but if you look a little closer, you may see the very early warning signs of what your body is trying to tell you. The beginning stages of chronic kidney disease may first appear as loss of appetite, vomiting or nausea, weakness and fatigue, difficulty sleeping, puffiness around the eyes especially upon waking, changes in urine output or an increased urge to urinate at night, muscle cramps and twitches, swollen ankles and feet, shortness of breath, and high blood pressure.
If you experience one or more of these symptoms of chronic kidney disease, it’s no time to panic, but it is time to take action.
You can visit your doctor to confirm poor kidney health, but the fate of your essential organs rests on what you do next.
THE SUPPORT YOUR KIDNEYS NEED TO THRIVE
No matter what your doctor may tell you after an initial diagnosis, kidney rehabilitation needn’t be complicated. Committing to an anti-inflammatory lifestyle lays the groundwork – by avoiding processed foods, eating a Really Healthy Foods diet, and supplementing the missing nutrients the kidneys need to repair and heal.
This lifelong commitment to good health may not come easy at first, but it does not even compare to the burden of lifelong kidney treatment, in the form of medication, dialysis, and a possible kidney transplant, without hope for a cure. In an economic evaluation conducted in England and Wales, 80 per cent of kidney dialysis patients agreed that the treatment greatly affected their quality of life. 60 per cent of kidney dialysis patients felt their treatment was a burden to their caretakers.3
Depending on the state of your kidney health, dialysis may be necessary for a time, but it is not the final step. Alongside any medical treatment, you can strengthen your body’s natural filtration system by using the science of nutritional therapy:
1. Remove inflammatory factors: This step is the simplest, which makes it the easiest to overlook: when restoring kidney health, the importance of cutting out the inflammatory foods known to compromise the kidneys can’t be overstated. A processed food diet can make kidney disease much, much worse. Texas A&M University researchers discovered that patients with chronic kidney disease who ate a diet high in red meat were three times more likely to develop kidney failure compared to the patients who ate a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.4 A Really Healthy Foods diet is a Really Healthy Kidney diet, including fresh or frozen vegetables, dark-skinned fruits and avocados, nuts, beans, seeds, moderate pasture-fed meats, healthy oils and oily fish, and healthy carbohydrate alternatives like quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, and legume pasta.
2. Replace missing nutrients. In order for the kidneys to regenerate and regain function, they need the daily support of essential nutrients. Curcumin is a potent anti- inflammatory compound derived from the spice turmeric, known to support digestive function and offer pain relief. In 2013, Redox Biology researchers discovered that because of its antioxidant properties, curcumin has a renoprotective effect to buffer the kidneys against outside damage.5 Curcumin can have an even more powerful effect on the kidneys when taken with potent enzymes like Serrapeptase and Nattokinase, used to improve digestion and calm inflammation. A daily soil-based probiotic can help maintain optimal gut health, further decreasing the toxic load on the overburdened kidneys.
3. Replenish with sodium bicarbonate. British scientists were astonished to find that a simple ingredient found in your kitchen cabinet could be a game-changer for your kidney health. Sodium bicarbonate, otherwise known as baking soda, can dramatically slow the progression of chronic kidney disease. The study results, published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, showed that for the 134 patients with advanced chronic kidney disease who received a small daily dose of sodium bicarbonate, their rate of kidney decline was greatly reduced. In fact, the patients who took sodium bicarb showed kidney function decline at a rate that matched the rate of standard age-related kidney decline.6 To maintain this critical alkaline balance in the body that supports daily kidney function, aim to drink 6 to 8 glasses of RO filtered or distilled water a day with a large pinch of sodium bicarbonate in each glass.
If you have been told there is no cure for your chronic kidney condition, it may comfort you to know that the word “cure” is a misnomer. The medical community cannot offer a cure because a health condition like kidney disease is directly related to or exacerbated by the lifestyle factors we have just discussed. Removing these lifestyle factors and making healthier choices can immediately improve kidney function, in most cases. What many call a cure is really sensible living.
Contains a careful blend of powerful enzymes such as Serrapeptase and Nattokinase, plus digestive enzymes, antioxidants and proanthocyanidins. Phthalate-free.
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1. “What is Chronic Kidney Disease?” World Kidney Day.
2. “The Global Issue of Kidney Disease.” The Lancet.
3. Roderick P. An evaluation of the costs, effectiveness and quality of RRT provision in renal satellite units in England and Wales. HTA 2005,9 (24), 1-178.
4. T. Banerjee, D. C. Crews, D. E. Wesson, A. M. Tilea, R. Saran, N. Rios-Burrows, D. E. Williams, N. R. Powe. High Dietary Acid Load Predicts ESRD among Adults with CKD. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 2015; DOI: 10.1681/ ASN.2014040332.
5. Redox Biol. 2013; 1(1): 448–456.
6. Ione de Brito-Ashurst , Mira Varagunam , Martin J. Raftery , and Muhammad M. Yaqoob. Bicarbonate Supplementation Slows Progression of CKD and Improves Nutritional Status. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 2009; DOI: 10.1681/ASN.2008111205.