March is National (USA) Kidney Month. Kidney health is close to my heart as my father had chronic kidney disease that led to several years of dialysis. Thankfully, one of his sisters was a match and he received one of her kidneys in November of 2001 and that kidney is still working well. Despite having a functioning kidney, he is on daily anti-rejection medications, which compromises his immune system & makes him more susceptible to becoming ill.
Several factors play into disease processes, including kidney disease, but the major cause of kidney disease is diabetes. Diabetes mellitus type 2 is a caused by a dysregulation of sugar metabolism because of excess sugar consumption (type 1 is an auto-immune condition that is diagnosed in childhood; type 1.5 is also an auto-immune condition that is diagnosed in adulthood). Type 2 diabetes had previously only been diagnosed in adults but is now diagnosed in children as the epidemic of sugar consumption and childhood obesity has risen over the last few decades. According to the CDC, "the percentage of children with obesity in the United States has more than tripled since the 1970s. Today, about one in five school-aged children (ages 6–19) has obesity." (CDC.gov; Childhood Obesity Facts)
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) suggests to "keep your kidneys healthy by managing your diabetes". Another perspective - manage stress (which can lead to feeling fatigued or panicky and "needing" sugar for quick energy to get all those thousands of tasks on your mental to-do list done in a day) and heal your body so that it processes small amounts sugar in a healthy manner. How can you do this?! There are many ways to manage diabetes using natural remedies - that'll be the topic of another post. For now, consult with an holistic nutritionist and a naturopathic physician =)
Back to kidney health!
A few causes of acute kidney failure:
- aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), naproxen (Aleve, others) or related drugs
- blood pressure medications
- high cholesterol
- medications: certain chemotherapy drugs, antibiotics, dyes used during imaging tests and zoledronic acid (Reclast, Zometa), used to treat osteoporosis and high blood calcium levels (hypercalcemia)
- many more listed here: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/kidney-failure/basics/causes/con-20024029
A few cause of chronic kidney disease:
- diabetes, type 1 or 2
- high blood pressure
- inflammation of the kidney (glomerulonephritis), which can be caused by medications (i.e. penicillin), food allergies, infections
- recurrent kidney infections
- many more listed here: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-kidney-disease/symptoms-causes/dxc-20207466
A recent case study published in Naturopathic Doctor News & Review (NDNR; Feb 2017) highlighted the case of a young adult with a congenital (disease or abnormality present since birth) kidney disorder and the natural remedies used to aid in their recovery from a viral infection.
The following are natural remedies indicated for improving kidney function in people with renal (kidney) failure and/or transplant as cited by the article:
Cordyceps sinesis: "In renal failure patients, it has been shown to increase creatinine clearance, reduce serum creatinine, and reduce proteinuria."
Curcuma longa: "C longa demonstrated immunosuppressive potential against overexpressed TH1 cytokines, which are often elevated in renal transplant patients and contribute to allograft rejection. It has been found to be safe to use along with cyclosporine and cyclosporine analogs. Finally, C. longa reduces inflammation associated with acute and chronic allograft rejection."
Coenzyme Q10: "improved multiple markers of antioxidant status and lipid peroxidation in renal transplant patients."
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: they "have been found to reduce systemic inflammation and proteinuria in renal transplant patients".
Here's the link to that article: http://ndnr.com/bacterialviral-infections/bk-nephropathy-integrative-management-case-report/
The NIDDK recommends that "if you have diabetes, it is important to get checked for kidney disease. Early kidney disease usually does not have signs or symptoms. Testing is the only way to know how your kidneys are doing. Two tests are needed to check for kidney disease. A blood test checks your GFR, which tells how well your kidneys are filtering. A urine test checks for albumin in your urine. Albumin is a protein that can pass into the urine when the kidneys are damaged. The sooner you know you have kidney disease, the sooner you can get treatment to help delay or prevent kidney failure."
Note: Microalbumin is the most sensitive test for finding renal damage and will show before albumin is found. (Mayo Clinic: Microalbumin Test Overview)
Wishing you and your kidneys great health!
Dr. Venessa Madrigal