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  Article: Quick Tips for a Healthy Kidney - by Shane Ellison  
     
  Kidney disorders currently affect 3 million people nationwide. In the United States, more than 44,000 people are patiently waiting for a near-perfect match for a cadaveric kidney. More than 100,000 Americans are dependent on man-made machines (dialysis) to do what their own kidneys can't; clean toxins and fluid from their blood. Research shows that 15% of those on a dialysis machine are there due to the use of Tylenol and/or aspirin.

The Kidney plays a leading role in the excretion of metabolic wastes, the regulation of body fluid, and maintaining electrolyte (sodium and potassium) balance (vital for staying hydrated). Additionally, the kidney synthesizes and releases hormones, such as renin and erythropoietin (EPO) and metabolizes vitamin D3 to the active 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D3 form. The kidneys are equipped with a variety of detoxification mechanisms and, relative to other organs, have considerable functional reserve and regenerative capacities.

Kidney failure can potentially occur at any age. It may develop suddenly (acute renal failure) and lead to death in a matter of days. Or it may occur slowly due to the loss of functional nephrons (chronic renal failure).

Causes of Kidney Failure

Loss of nephrons has a variety of causes including but not limited to bacterial infections, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug's (NSAID's) such as acetaminophen, analgesics/anti-inflammatory agents, antibiotics such as vancomycin, and metals such as lead, mercury, nickel, chromium. Lastly, cholesterol drugs known as statins severely damage the kidney due to their ability to cause rhabdomyolysis (damage to the integrity of the sarcolemma of skeletal muscle, leading to the release of potentially toxic muscle cell components into the blood). These include lipitor, Zocor, Pravochol, Mevacor, Lescol and Baycol

Risk factors that contribute to the incidence and severity of nephron damage include continued dehydration (potentially due to excess use of soda), mitochondrial (considered the powerhouse of the cell) dysfunction (due to free radicals and/or toxins), hypotension, age, and diabetes. The consequence of kidney failure is profound and there is no cure, dialysis or renal transplantation is the only option.

Signs of Kidney Failure

Kidney failure, due to nephron damage, results in disturbances of many bodily functions and thus makes it relatively easy to diagnose and prevent. The following list is not comprehensive but does illustrate the potential physiological abnormalities that can develop with kidney failure.

Anemia - Anemia is characterized by a fall in blood hematocrit to 20% to 35%. Anemia results from a decrease in production of EPO. EPO stimulates the bone marrow to produce red blood cells that are responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. Human EPO is synthesized in a laboratory by recombinant DNA methods. When administered to renal failure patients, it corrects the anemia. Additionally, the kidney can be activated by anabolic steroids to engage in EPO release, the advantage being that steroid treatment is less inexpensive. Conversely, unwanted side effects and toxicity may accompany steroid use. This can be dependent on the type of steroid used and the dose.

Note: Those who suffer from anemia due to kidney failure will most commonly suffer from fatigue and shortness of breath. Often times, doctors will erroneously treat anemic patients by advising iron supplementation without considering kidney failure.

Azotemia - Azotemia is the accumulation of nitrogenous waste products in the blood due to decreased glomerular filtration rate (GFR). Plasma urea, creatinine, and uric acid levels are elevated; often times the Blood Urea Nitrogen test is performed (BUN). This however, is one dimensional in diagnosing kidney failure. To be accurate, other symptoms such as these discussed must be accounted for.

Note: It is important to understand that creatinine is the by product of the Kreb's cycle and the molecular waste of creatine. As we exercise, creatinine levels can be high due to the production of ATP from the Kreb's cycle. Hence, a BUN test may indicate a high level of creatinine due to extreme exercise.

Calcium and phosphate metabolism - Another indication of kidney failure is a decrease in plasma calcium levels and an increase in plasma phosphate levels.

Secondary hyperparathyroidism - Secondary hyperparathyroidism can also result due to inadequate synthesis of the active form of vitamin D by the kidney.

Combined, a decrease in plasma calcium, an increase in plasma phosphate, and low production of the active form of vitamin D leads to bone disease. Symptoms include sore and swollen joints, bone deformities, and bone fractures.

Hypertension - High blood pressure is often present in kidney failure. The origin of high blood pressure is not always known. However, a diseased kidney produces excessive amounts of renin, which in turn activates the production of a blood vessel constricting agent known as angiotensin II. This leads to hypertension.

Note: Whey proteins have been shown to inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) and ultimately stop hypertension by decreasing the biosynthesis of angiotensin II. Needless to say, whey supplementation is a must for those suffering from hypertension and/or kidney failure.

Potassium Balance - Kidney failure, as mentioned previously, causes the glomerular filtration rate to fall. If it falls to 15-20 ml/min, retention of potassium in the plasma can rise to lethal levels.

Sodium Balance - For patience with severe kidney failure, sodium balance becomes impaired. On a normal sodium diet, excessive sodium and water is retained (can be seen by weight increase) and leads to edema.

Quick Tips

Understanding the signs of kidney failure will ultimately allow us prevent it. Once noticed it is imperative that we take the proper steps to allow the kidney to regenerate. Often times this calls for a lifestyle change.

First and foremost, it is vital that we utilize natural alternatives to xenobiotics (synthetic drugs). Xenobiotics reap havoc on our kidney and liver. For instance, research shows - that those who ingest aspirin or acetaminophen twice a week for two months - are two to three times more likely to have the beginning stages of chronic kidney failure.

Natural alternatives are easily excreted from our system and do not cause damage to our cells or organs. For example, a pure form of glucosamine sulfate (not chondroitin, MSM, or glucosamine HCl) can be used in place of ibuprofen to treat osteoarthritis and/or joint pain. Those who use this natural product continuously for 4 weeks testify that their joint pain has been totally remedied! Glucosamine sulfate has clinically been proven to work better than Ibuprofen and is non-toxic.

Natural alternatives to the damaging effects of synthetic antibiotics can also be avoided by using a natural antibiotic known as colloidal silver. Properly formulated colloidal silver (derived from the mesoprocess rather than the inferior electrolysis process) is superior to all synthetic antibiotics in its efficacy and non-toxic nature. Please note that most colloidal silver purchased in stores is an inferior product to real colloidal silver, it is important that you only purchase colloidal silver that was made via the "mesoprocess".

One simple habit that can ensure kidney health is to drink purified water and avoid tap water. Unlike tap water, purified water does not contain heavy metals that are known to cause kidney damage.

The well-known supplement chromium picolinate should be avoided at all cost. Chromium picolinate and its derivatives are commonly found in "Sobe" drinks, diet pills, and sport's supplements. These chromium-based compounds are not only damaging to the kidney but also have been shown to cause cancer.

Lastly, to ensure a healthy kidney, we can utilize a properly formulated dose of alpha-lipoic acid and acetyl-L-carnitine. These two natural products, when used together, have proven time again their ability to restore and protect the mitochondria of our cells. Healthy mitochondria of the kidney leads to a healthy and properly functioning kidney. To date, scientists have boldly stated that healthy mitochondria are the single most important factor in obtaining maximum longevity.

References:

Klaassen and Watkins. Casarett and Doull's Toxicology. 1999. Mc-Graw Hill
Rhoades and Pflanzer. Human Physiology. 1996. Saunders College Publishing
Stearns, Diane, et al. J Biol Inorg Chem. 2002 Sep;7(7-8):791-8.
Stearns, Diane, et al. Mutat Res. 2002 Jan 15;513(1-2):135-42.
The New England Journal of Medicine December 20, 2001; 345:1801-1808

 
 
     
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Shane holds a Master's degree in organic chemistry and has first-hand industry experience with drug research, design and synthesis. His web site exposing the shocking and sometimes-frightening truth behind FDA approved drugs, sports supplements, and natural medicine. His unique experience allows his clients to live naturally healthy for life. Visit http://www.health-fx.net to learn about his line of cutting edge nutraceuticals.


 
 

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