January 23, 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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Recipes to Reboot Your Liver

 by Amanda Box, N.D.

Many of you readers are singing the same sad song. You are at your wits’ end. It’s as if your body has turned against you! You’re tired, bloated, unable to lose weight, and experience acne or skin issues that are just as bad as a teenager! You’ve tried everything you can think of: exercising, cutting calories, changing your skincare routine – but nothing works. Nothing yet, at least!

I’m here to offer you a remedy. It may be one you haven’t even thought to consider before. You may have blamed your thyroid for a slow metabolism. You may think mid-life hormonal surges are responsible for your breakouts. But, you’re missing the root cause. Most people are oblivious to what is really responsible for their body’s strange behavior. It is your body’s largest organ, the liver, that is often behind these frustrating symptoms.

what your liver does day in and day outWhen asked what the liver does, most people respond, “It filters your blood.” Yes, this answer is correct. But what your liver does day in and day out, 24/7 is far more complicated than that. Aside from your heart, the liver works harder than any other organ in your body. The liver:

  • Contributes to digestion (primarily fats)
  • Aids in controlling blood sugar
  • Regulates hormones
  • Stores energy
  • Produces proteins
  • Breaks down and filters chemicals and toxins

Every single thing you breathe in, absorb through your skin, and ingest has to go through the checkpoint known as your liver. Your liver is like a customs officer that has to check everything that passes through it. The liver must I.D. everything as either a healthy substance, like vitamins, or unhealthy toxins, like pesticides. It ultimately decides what to allow your body to use and what to throw out in the waste.

This isn’t an easy task, especially when the average diet and lifestyle is full of toxins and chemicals. What you put on your skin, what you eat and drink and the medications you’re on all take their toll on the liver. Many times your liver becomes bombarded with toxins and cannot keep up. It is unable to properly do its job because it has become damaged and overloaded by too many toxins and chemicals. When this happens, your liver doesn’t properly regulate your hormones or process fats. You begin to gain weight and show signs of hormonal imbalances.

The good news is that this isn’t the end! In the case of most of our body’s organs, once they’re compromised, they may never fully repair or work as well as before. However, the liver has the amazing capacity to regenerate, reboot, and repair! Yet, this can only happen by giving your liver a break from the toxic overload.

Giving Your Liver a Break

What’s the best thing to do when you’re overwhelmed? Take a break, of course! So, how do you give your liver a break? You can’t just shut your liver off for a while. If you did, you would die! But you can take steps to cut down on the excess work it has to do each day.

For one, you can eat foods that nourish and support the liver and it’s functions. Second, you can take supplements that support detoxification and regeneration.

The results of a healthy functioning liver are weight loss, hormonal balance, and increased energy! Who wouldn’t love all that?!

Everyone could benefit from a liver reboot. Even the healthiest people cannot avoid being exposed to toxins. Toxins are everywhere around us. Many liver compromising toxins hide out in:

  • Plastic containers and metal cans
  • Skincare products
  • Drinking water
  • Cleaning products
  • Smoke (first and second-hand)
  • Non-organic vegetables and fruits

Though it is impossible to avoid toxin exposure, there is no need to live in fear. Our liver is specifically designed to detoxify our bodies. It filters these toxins out of our bloodstream and into our waste. It is only after years of exposure that the liver begins to lose some of its detoxification capacity.

Although we can’t protect our liver from ever being exposed to toxins, we can give it a chance to restore to optimal function. And in doing so, your whole body will experience improved health!

The first step in giving your liver a break is to do your best to avoid excess toxic exposure. Like I mentioned earlier, avoiding all toxins is impossible. However, you can greatly reduce your exposure by following these steps:

  1. Drink only filtered water instead of tap water.
  2. Use only all natural products on your skin (makeup, lotions, soap, etc.)
  3. Avoid canned foods.
  4. Use only BPA-free plastic.
  5. Avoid all artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners and preservatives.
  6. Find natural alternatives to pharmaceutical and over-the-counter drugs.
  7. Avoid foods listed on the Dirty Dozen (or buying organic versions).

Released by the Environmental Working Group, the Dirty Dozen is a list of the top 12 foods with the highest pesticide residues. The Clean 15 is the list of the top 15 foods with the lowest pesticide residues. Buying organic versions of foods on the Dirty Dozen list is a great way to enjoy these foods without the pesticide residues. Below are the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists for 2014:

Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen 2014

 

It is also important to note that alcohol consumption is one of the greatest contributors to any sort of liver problem. Drinking in moderation is typically fine. But, if you are committed to giving your liver a break, you should abstain from all alcohol for at least a month or two.

Liver-loving Foods

Lowering your toxic exposure is key to giving your liver the break it needs to repair and restore optimal function. To maximize liver detoxification, incorporate liver-supporting foods into your diet. These liver-loving foods are nothing out of the ordinary. They are everyday foods that contain specialized compounds that speed up the liver’s natural ability to repair. Incorporating these liver-loving foods, while eliminating liver-compromising foods from your diet, can give your body the breakthrough it needs to come into balance.

Try to incorporate at least one food from each category into your daily diet for maximum liver support.

1. Cruciferous Vegetables: Cauliflower, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Bok Choy, and Kale.

These vegetables contain sulfur and promote neutralization of toxins in the liver. They also help the liver produce enzymes, which aid in detoxification.

2. Leafy Greens: Swiss Chard, Turnip Greens, Escarole, Cilantro, Parsley, Mustard Greens, and Dandelion leaves.

The more bitter the green, the better it’s ability to stimulate bile production in the liver. Bile is what carries toxins out of the liver. Some of these greens can also neutralize heavy metal toxins. Cilantro, in particular, binds to mercury and other metals and helps remove them from your system.

garlic and allicin3. High Sulfur Foods: Eggs, onion, garlic, and again cruciferous vegetables.

Sulfur aids in detoxification. Garlic, in particular, has high levels of allicin. Allicin is a sulfur compound, which protects the liver and can help detoxify toxic metals and excess estrogen hormone.

4. Antioxidant Rich Foods: Berries (organic), Grapefruit, Apples (organic), carrots, melon, and green tea.

Antioxidants are compounds, which protect the liver from damage while detoxifying the blood. Grapefruit, in particular, contains a substance called naringenin. Naringenin stimulates the liver to burn fat rather than store it. Green tea also contains particular antioxidants called catechins. Catechins prevent fat from accumulating in the liver.

5. Beets and Artichoke

Beets and artichokes are in a category of their own because of their enhanced ability to support the liver. Beets naturally help to purify the blood. They also assist the liver in metabolizing fat rather than storing it. Artichokes stimulate the flow of bile, which in turn speeds up the elimination of toxins out of the liver. Some health professionals estimate that eating an artichoke can increase bile flow by 100%!

These liver-loving foods aren’t out of the ordinary. However, many people are unsure how to prepare these foods in new and tasty ways. Eggs for breakfast every single day can get boring. But adding flavorful vegetables and spices can turn your boring eggs into a delicious quiche. (Quiche also makes a delicious lunch.) You can add all kinds of liver-loving vegetables to your quiche. I like to add artichokes, mustard greens, and garlic to my quiche. This quiche is high in sulfur compounds to support your liver by encouraging detoxification.

Liver-Loving Quiche

Ingredients:

  • detoxing quiche2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups mustard greens rinsed and chopped
  • One 14-oz can of artichoke hearts drained and chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces pecorino romano or other hard Italian cheese, shredded
  • 10 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk plus 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Generously grease a deep-dish pie plate with butter or non-hydrogenated palm oil shortening.

2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook the onion until soft and then add the garlic and cook for another minute more. Add the mustard greens and artichoke hearts and cook, stirring frequently until the greens are wilted. Season with the salt and pepper and remove from the heat.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs with the water, coconut milk, thyme and oregano until well blended. Spread the collard/onion mixture over the bottom of the greased pie plate; sprinkle the cheese evenly over the greens. Carefully pour the egg mixture over the cheese and greens. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

4. Serve with a chunky salsa or warm marinara sauce.

Beets are an uncommon vegetable in the American diet. But the Russians and other eastern Europeans revere beets. Beets are the primary ingredient in a common soup called Borscht. I prefer beets in salad form. This salad incorporates liver-loving beets, arugula, and apples. It is the perfect summer dish and a great way to incorporate beets into your diet.

Liver-Loving Beet Salad

Ingredients:

  • liver loving beet salad3 large beets (or 6 small beets)
  • 3 medium granny smith apples, peeled cored and chopped small
  • 3/4 cup chopped raw pecans
  • 3 1/2 packed cups of baby arugula, lightly chopped
  • 1/2 medium orange, juiced and zested
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil plus more for baking beets
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 Tbsp raw honey, melted
  • Soft goat cheese crumbles
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Wash and dry beets. Trim off the leaves and root tip (leaving the skin on). Drizzle a little olive oil over each beet and sprinkle each with a dash of sea salt. Wrap each beet individually in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. If using smaller beets, bake for about 50 minutes. If using larger beets, bake for about 90 minutes or until a fork can pierce the beet easily.

2. Remove the beets from the oven and allow them to rest for about 10 minutes. Unwrap each beet and drain the excess beet juice into a small bowl and set aside. Chop the beets into small bite sized pieces and place in a large mixing bowl.

3. Place your chopped pecans in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat and cook until lightly toasted, stirring frequently. Set the pecans aside.

4. To make the dressing, take the reserved beet juice and add the 2 Tbsp of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, raw honey, orange juice and orange zest. Stir and add sea salt and black pepper to taste. Add additional orange juice or vinegar to taste. Pour the dressing over the beet mixture and toss to coat. Add the arugula, toasted pecans and apples and toss again.

5. Top with goat cheese crumbles.

Everyone needs a break from stress to recharge, even your liver. Take the time to give your liver some love by eating liver-supporting foods. Avoid excess toxins and chemicals to support your body coming into balance once again. You’ll benefit with weight loss, clear skin, balanced hormones and increased energy. Start this liver-loving regime today and reboot your health!

 

If you liked this article, then you’ll love these:

 

Amanda Box, N.D.Amanda Box is a Traditional  Naturopath and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 12 years and currently practices naturopathic consulting in the Kansas City, Missouri area.  Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic practitioner to turn to for your personal needs, Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at http://amandabox.blogspot.com/ for contact info.

 

Recipes adapted from: www.paleocupboard.com

 

 

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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