January 24, 2017

How to Naturally Protect Your Kidneys

Innovative Strategies for Kidney Health

Ray was 56 years old and facing dialysis. A recent diagnosis of type 2 diabetes had him in a downward spiral of blood sugar issues, pain in his feet, and now kidney failure! Leading up to this, Ray’s prediabetes and nearly “normal” blood sugar allowed his kidney damage to go unrecognized.

Even when diabetes is not full blown, high sugar levels in prediabetes can cause problems throughout the body.

One of the main organs damaged by high blood sugar is the kidney. Over time, the high levels of sugar in the blood damage the millions of tiny filtering units within each kidney. This eventually leads to kidney failure.

The heart, and nerve cells are also sensitive to fluctuations in blood sugar because they don’t store any form of energy. Diabetes cannot turn the sugars you eat into useful energy. The consistently high levels of sugar cause a constant supply of oxygen free-radicals that result in gradual damage to the nerves and blood vessels. When the blood vessels in the kidneys are injured, your kidneys cannot clean your blood properly.

Most of the time, those who experience kidney failure already have signs of it before they are even diagnosed with diabetes. In fact, the most common cause of kidney failure is diabetes mellitus (type 2 diabetes).

Since Ray already had signs of renal failure, we immediately started him on intravenous alpha lipoic acid. Alpha lipoid acid is a super nutrient and turns “used” antioxidants into “available” antioxidants for your body to use for making energy.

At the same time, we recommended dietary changes such as eating fewer carbohydrates, and drinking water instead of soda. He also needed to give up beer and ice cream.

How Your Kidneys Work

Saunders Kidney diagramProtecting your kidneys is so important. Our kidneys are the constant filter of the body. Healthy kidneys maintain all the things our cells need to function in the blood, while letting go of waste and toxins. The design is amazing!

  • Blood runs through a filter (5)
  • Filtered water goes down the tube (4)
  • Blood, protein stay in vessels (3)
  • Water and nutrients leak out into the kidney tissue (2)
  • Nutrients that the body wants are re-absorbed into blood vessels (1)
  • Waste is sent to the bladder (6)

First, there are millions of filters called the glomeruli. These tiny filters let fluid out of the blood, but keep cells and proteins. The glomeruli function very much like a coffee filter. Whatever is dissolved in the water of your blood goes through the filter, but particles stay in the blood. Then, the fluid goes through tubes where sodium, potassium, amino acids, water, and so forth, are re-absorbed into the blood. Your kidneys will release them to return to the body when the need arises.

All that is left is a little water and filtered wastes, which then move down to the bladder and are released into the toilet (or wherever☺) as urine.

Essentially, each of your glomeruli acts like a sieve that helps keep normal proteins and cells in your bloodstream and allows wastes, excess fluid and other substances to pass. In this way, your kidneys regulate your body’s level of these substances.

The remarkable nature of this system is that it allows the body to keep all the nutrients it needs, while allowing any sort of waste or toxin to be washed out of the body. The kidneys don’t have to know what is bad, only what is good – waste is whatever is not wanted.

It is essential that we consider the health of our kidneys. According to CDC data, since 1999, the age-adjusted death rate for kidney disease has increased by 11.5 percent, compared to downward trends for heart attacks and strokes.[1] Of course, most of these are due to the increasing rate of diabetes, but there are many with renal failure who don’t have diabetes.

Another Cause of Kidney Failure

Sometimes the filters (glomeruli) don’t work for other reasons. Josie came in with swelling of the legs and feet. She had been to several doctors and was told she had Nephrotic Syndrome: damage to the clusters of small blood vessels in your kidneys that filter waste and excess water from your blood.

This damage allows protein normally kept in the blood to leak into the urine in large amounts, which reduces the amount of protein in your blood. Since the protein in the blood helps keep fluid in the bloodstream, some of this fluid leaks out of the bloodstream into your tissues, causing swelling.

Imagine using coffee filters that had little pinholes in them so you keep finding sediment in your coffee. The “pinholes” in the glomeruli of the kidneys are generally caused by what we think are “immune complexes” or autoimmune disease. Antibodies against either the kidneys or other cells can “poke holes” in the filters, causing them to leak.

The problem with kidney failure is that there are no symptoms until about 80% of normal kidney function is lost. This means that, unfortunately, many people never realize they have a kidney problem until a symptom such as back pain or blood in the urine appears. By then, it’s usually too late to restore normal function.

Thus, the key to avoiding kidney disease is PREVENTION!

We had to work with Josie to calm down her immune system and stop the leaks. Then, we restored kidney function just enough so she no longer has swelling. She still loses a little protein in the urine, but the liver can make enough to keep up with it.

The glomeruli are the most important part of the kidney to protect. Like Ray and Josie, most kidney problems are from the waste filters. Protection of your kidneys is not hard, and doesn’t take a great deal of time. You don’t have to think about it, just follow good health practices.

How to Naturally Protect your Kidneys

Low salt diet leads to early deathTwo of the most important functions of your kidneys are:

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2 Ways to Maintain a Low Acidic Diet for Optimal Kidney Health

by Jessica Sanders

One in 3 American adults are at risk for developing kidney disease, and 26 million currently have it, though many don’t know it yet.

These statistics are staggering, not just because kidney disease is often a result of poor health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes, but because these two bean-shaped organs do a whole lot more than you might think.

Their list of duties, includes:

  • Filtering 120 to 150 quarts of blood daily to produce 1 to 2 quarts of urine.
  • Keeping the body’s level of electrolytes stable, such as potassium and phosphate.
  • Making hormones that help regulate blood pressure, make red blood cells and keep bones strong.

kidneys make bicarbonate One of the most important duties is controlling the acidity balance of the blood. If the blood is too acidic, the kidney makes bicarbonate to restore the blood pH balance. If the blood is too alkaline, then the kidney excretes bicarbonate into the urine to restore the balance. In fact, the kidneys produce nearly half a pound of bicarbonate a day to help neutralize acid in the body.

Patients with kidney disease have poorly functioning kidneys, resulting in acid build up and high levels of metabolic wastes in the blood. In most cases, those suffering from kidney disease are placed on dialysis, which takes over the function of the kidneys. This is an expensive treatment with many unappealing side effects including multiple catheter changes throughout the day, bloating, weight gain, blood clotting and itchy skin.

Luckily, if you treat your kidneys well on a daily basis, you can avoid kidney disease or kidney stones. And, no, you don’t have to start taking expensive supplements. Here are two natural, inexpensive ways to keep your kidneys working properly.

Baking Soda

One of the products you can use to maintain optimal kidney health is likely sitting in your home already: baking soda.

That familiar, orange Arm and Hammer box is much more powerful than you might first imagine. While yours sits in the fridge as an odor catchall, hospitals use it in the emergency room as an intensive care medicine.

The main ingredient, bicarbonate, is a naturally occurring alkaline substance found in all body fluids and organs that helps to maintain a balanced pH and buffer acids. (Remember, the kidneys produce nearly half a pound of bicarbonate daily).

Baking soda helps current kidney disease patients mitigate the kidneys’ inability to neutralize acids without the unappealing side effects.

A British study of 134 patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) found that a small daily dose of oral sodium bicarbonate tablets, along with the treatment they were already undergoing, greatly reduced the rate of kidney decline. Decline was about two-thirds slower than the group that didn’t take the tablets. These patients also saw improvements in overall nutrition.

Though medical professionals have long known of the value of baking soda in kidney health, this study, conducted in 2010, was the first of its kind.

This natural health remedy, when used as a preventive measure, can also reduce your chances for getting kidney stones, which 1 in 10 Americans will get in their lifetime.

You can take baking soda in the form of a drink or a tablet. General recommendations advise taking 2 rounded teaspoons of baking soda mixed with 2 cups water and sipping over the course of an hour or two. If the kidneys are compromised, you can do this up to 3 times a day. Please consult with a healthcare professional before adding baking soda to your diet.

Alkaline Diet

The phrase, an apple a day (and other fruits and vegetables) keeps the doctor away, has never been truer than when discussing kidney health. These foods have been found to improve kidney health because they are more alkaline, less acidic.

Eating foods with less acid means your kidneys don’t have to work as hard to maintain a balanced pH. The main nutrients in these alkaline foods are, potassium, calcium and magnesium.

It only makes sense to conclude that acidic foods, on the other hand, put your kidneys to work. If you eat too much of these foods, the kidneys cease to be able to process the acids and your body can become susceptible to kidney stones or kidney disease.

With an alkaline-based diet, you can be sure you’re treating your kidneys well. Here are three simple steps to improve your diet.

1. Eat more fruits and vegetables, which are less acidic. Some foods to indulge in, include:

  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Broccoli
  • Potatoes
  • Swiss chard
  • Kale
  • Beet greens

2. At the same time, it’s also important to reduce your consumption of highly acidic foods that could throw your pH off balance and cause your kidney’s to go into overdrive:

3. Some other acidic foods and drinks to reduce are:

  • Alcohol
  • Dairy
  • Coffee

While you don’t need to cut these foods out altogether, remember to eat them in moderation. Your health practitioner can help guide you to determine exactly how much of these foods to eat based on the particular needs of your body.

Remember, your kidneys do a whole lot more than you might think, including filtering waste and keeping your pH levels balanced and in a healthy range. Take care of them with these natural remedies. With a little baking soda and a diet rich in alkaline foods you may be able to prevent or slow down any kidney disease.

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Dr. Saunders Personal Recommendation for Healthy Drinking Water

by Dr. Scott Saunders M.D.

In The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, the salt sea mocks the thirst of the ship’s crew:

Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.

Water is Essential for Living

  • Two thirds of the Earth’s surface is covered by water.
  • Scientists seek it on other planets to try to determine if there is any possibility of life.
  • Deserts become lifeless in the absence of water.
  • A human being is made up of 70% water.

Water has been a source of healing since the beginning of time.  More recently, one doctor has done extensive research on the use of water to cure illness.  It started in an Iranian prison.  His biography includes:

“When the Iranian Revolution broke out in 1979, Dr. Batmanghelidj was placed in the infamous Evin Prison as a political prisoner for two years and seven months. It was there he discovered the healing powers of water. One night, Dr. B. had to treat a fellow prisoner with crippling peptic ulcer pain. With no medications at his disposal, Dr. B. gave him two glasses of water. Within eight minutes, his pain disappeared. He was instructed to drink two glasses of water every three hours and became absolutely pain-free for his four remaining months in the prison.” (http://www.watercure.com/about_drb.html)

Dr. B went on to do research on other illnesses, including muscular pain, arthritis, and degenerative diseases, finding many of them to be treated simply and effectively with water!

You see, we must have pure water in order to maintain proper balance of both nutrients and salts.  Water is essential for all functions of the body:

  • The production of energy
  • Contraction of muscles
  • Removal of waste
  • Transportation of nutrients

All these require adequate water to function. Most of our water is not in the blood, but in cells. For example, the muscles work based on the salts dissolved in the water inside and outside of the cell.

We are told to drink eight glasses of water per day, but this may not be good as universal advice. I have a different way to drink water that brings health, vigor and even helps to lose weight.

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Shingles: Let the Girdle Out

The shingles virus is also known as the Herpes Zoster virus (not at all associated with other herpes viruses), which translates as belt or girdle from Latin and French origins. The Herpes Zoster skin rash erupts around the trunk of the body – like a girdle! I’m so glad I never had to wear one, but if wearing a girdle isn’t pleasant, not so much more is having shingles.  It can take away your breath with pain, bind up the back with lesions and squeezes the life out of you!

How does one end up so “strangled?”  The most common string that stretches this girdle is a weakened immune system. Fatigue, stress, chicken pox exposure and other causes – even surgery and x-rays – tighten the nerve endings in your body near the skin to blister and develop the infamous shingles rash.  The stress of these vents creates an acidic environment in your blood, which encourages the shingles virus to thrive.

Let’s look at the foods that can foster an alkaline environment in your body so that stress, acid and shingles can be averted.

Firsthand, you should know best what foods affect your energy, give you pain or limit your function and thinking. Notice if it is carbs that bring your energy down, or desserts (my own downfall). It is best to avoid these foods at all time, but especially if you are scared of getting shingles, fear the onset is upon you or fighting to regain your health from a shingles episode.  The last thing you want to do is trigger something in your body through food that would result in introducing the shingles virus into your blood stream.

Second, avoid processed, sugary or simple-carbohydrate foods, not only because they are acid-producing but also because they raise blood sugar level too quickly; plus they tend to be nutrient-lacking and may be toxic, too.

Acid-producing foods such sugar, some protein, caffeine and processed foods stress the body to maintain the proper pH level, which fights off bacteria and viruses introduced into the system.  To compensate, alkaline minerals (magnesium, potassium, calcium and sodium) are depleted from vital organs and bones to neutralize the acid.  It is almost like sucking the life out of your bones leaving them dry and brittle when forced to draw these alkalizing building blocks of your body.

“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” ~ Newton’s Law

By robbing your body of sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium minerals from the bones and organs to remove acid from the body, the strain may go undetected. Eventually, your body becomes defenseless and the damage shows up as fatigue, illness and disease.

An acid environment effectively:

  • Decreases body’s ability to absorb minerals and other nutrients
  • Decreases the energy production in cells
  • Decreases ability to repair damaged cells
  • Decreases ability to detoxify heavy metals
  • Makes tumor cells thrive
  • Can lead to shingles!

Foods: are they Acid or Alkaline-forming?

Let’s get it straight.  A food’s performance in the body as either acid or alkaline actually has nothing to do with the actual pH of the food itself. Let’s take lemons, for example.  We all know lemons are acidic, but through the digestion process the end product is alkaline.  On the other hand, meat (like almost all animal products) tests alkaline but leaves acidic residue in the body.

To balance you body and restore yourself to health, your diet should be 80% alkaline forming foods.  If you are healthy and concerned about a healthy pH balance within, then keep your foods to 60% alkaline. Here is a food chart to help you navigate proper pH consumption.

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