The silent killer: Kidney Diseases

Western medicine does not understand the kidneys like Chinese doctors do. Western doctors know that the kidneys are responsible for fluid balance, waste elimination, regulation of blood pH and mineral balance. They also play an important role in red blood cell production, blood pressure regulation and converting vitamin D to its active form, calcitriol. Our kidneys are essential for life.

The worst part about living with kidney disease is that it is a silent killer. However, what makes it more dangerous is the fact that it usually is only recognised at extremely late stages when it is extremely difficult to treat.

Signs and Symptoms

The first symptom of kidney disease is a change in the amount and frequency of the urine you pass. There may be increase or decrease in amount of urine you pass and dark colored urine (darker than usual). According to Dr. Avinash Ignatius, senior consultant nephrologist DaVita, Pune Region, “Frequent urination at night is one of the most common and early symptom of chronic kidney disease and it should not be ignored even though it appears to be harmless. Other symptoms of the disease usually develop at later stage when the kidneys have lost approximately 80% of its function.’

Other symptoms include:

  1. difficulty or pain while urinating,
  2. blood in the urine,
  3. foamy urine,
  4. swelling or oedema,
  5. extreme fatigue,
  6. anaemia,
  7. generalised weakness,
  8. dizziness and inability to concentrate
  9. feeling cold all the time, cold back, cold hands and feet
  10. shortness of breath
  11. when severe enough a build-up of fluid in the lungs, or because of anaemia (a common side effect of kidney disease), starves your body of oxygen making you suffer from breathlessness.
  12. fast shallow breathing, as opposed to abdominal breathing, which does not allow the energy and oxygen to reach down to touch the kidneys
  13. Severe pain in the back or sides. This is a common indicator of kidney disease but is not seen in everyone who suffers from the condition. The pain is characteristic and you may feel a severe cramping pain that spreads from the lower back into the groin
  14. sore or weak low back, knees, or ankles
  15. bone or tooth problems
  16. dark circles under your eyes
  17. hearing problems
  18. premature graying or thinning of your hair
  19. thyroid problems or extreme reactions to the climate—feeling really cold or having lots of hot flashes
  20. oedema, kidney stones
  21. infertility, sexual dysfunction, menopause, andropause, prostate problems
  22. impaired immunity, chronic inflammation
  23. high blood pressure, heart irregularities
  24. anxiety, loss of physical drive and poor concentration

Inherent kidney energy may be low from birth is progressively depleted with age. It is particularly vulnerable to exhaustion due to factors such as overwork, a hard-driven lifestyle, insufficient fluid intake, multiple pregnancies and chronic illness or stress.

Functionality of the Kidneys

Western physiology and anatomy limits its description of the kidney to the actual organ itself, whereas Chinese medicine sees and defines the kidneys not just as an organ but a group of functions, as well as being the root of energy and matter creation for the entire body. This matches perfectly the Krebs cycle biochemistry according to which amino acids are creating creatinin and uric acid, which is excreted. Kidneys can sometimes reverse this cycle, and store uric acid (gout and uraemia), convert creatinin into original amino acids, a reason why hair is lost and is thinning. It is a fear and anxiety reflex triggering kidney ducts blockage, water retention and inversion of Krebs cycle.

In Chinese medicine the Kidney, with a capital ‘K’ to denote the organ-meridian system  is important as it is the source of the body’s constitutional or inherited energy and matter and is regarded as the organ-meridian system that governs the structural integrity and function not only of the kidneys themselves but also the adrenal glands, ovaries, testes, brain, spinal cord, skeletal structure (especially the lumbar region), teeth, anus, urethra and inner ear. The Kidney system also governs hormones and other substances produced by the kidneys, adrenals and sex glands, as well as reproduction, growth and the faculty of will power.

Dehydration and Kidney Disease

Thus under normal circumstances many of us flirt with mild dehydration over sustained periods. Shortness of breath is a common symptom of dehydration and so is low energy. When someone is dehydrated and experiencing these symptoms one merely has to drink several glasses of water to feel the body’s almost instant response to hydration. Add some sodium bicarbonate and the response is even greater.

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Courtesy of Brian D. Foltz

It makes perfect sense that chronic dehydration would be a problem for the kidneys. The element in nature associated with the Kidney is water, which is appropriate and symbolic in that water is the source of all life. The organ paired with the Kidney is the Urinary Bladder, and together both organs govern water metabolism in the body.

Sexuality and creativity are emotional components of the Kidney system. As the organ that governs survival through reproduction, the Kidney system is responsible for libido and strength of sexual attraction.

The emotions associated with kidneys are fear and fright. Fear has the ability to shake you to your core, and chronic fright translates into something very much like unrelenting stress, which is extremely damaging to the Kidney. In Western medicine, your adrenal glands pump out adrenaline (stress hormones) and are located right next to your Kidneys.

Natural Remedies for Kidney Disease

Remembering that our kidneys are damaged by stress, it behoves us to get our stress under control. Whatever you choose, whether it is Yoga, Tai Qi, meditation, or fishing, any stress relief measures will benefit your Kidney. It is vital for kidney patients to be able to measure their stress. In addition, slowing and deepening the breathing is a powerful way of bringing stress under control.

Foods that are particularly nourishing to your Kidney include those that are very dark in color. These would include dark fruits and vegetables, and foods like black beans, black sesame seeds, and black walnuts. The water element comes into play when choosing foods for your Kidney. Foods from the sea, such as fish, shellfish, seaweed, kelp, and sushi are all excellent Kidney tonics.

Your acupuncturist has a number of tools to help you strengthen your Kidney organ system.  They can combine acupuncture with moxibustion (heat treatments) and herbal formulas specifically designed to nourish your Kidneys.

Infrared Therapy

Keeping the kidneys warm is one of the best treatments for them. Infrared therapy using a Biomat, which one uses all night long while sleeping is perfect for treating cold conditions. Everyone with cold hands and feet, lower back pain and advanced kidney disease will enjoy treating their low body temperature. Weak kidneys will get wonderful support with infrared therapy. FIR heat expands capillaries, stimulating increased blood flow, aids in regeneration, improved circulation and oxygenation.

Magnesium and Kidney Disease

As we age, our kidneys lose their efficiency in regulation of magnesium. Magnesium absorption decreases with age. Around the age of 70 it becomes two-thirds of what it usually is at around the age of 30.

The kidneys are dumping from the blood excess nutrients that the body does not need or cannot process in the moment. Magnesium-deficiency studies on the kidneys have shown intraluminal calcareous deposits in the corticomedullary area and damage to the tubular epithelium. Damage to the kidneys from magnesium deficiency creates a negative feedback loop that intensifies magnesium deficits.

Micropuncture studies have shown that most active renal tubular reabsorption of magnesium occurs at sites that are potentially damaged by magnesium deficiencies, meaning these conditions can cause renal tubular magnesium wasting.

When you introduce magnesium into a human body calcium dissolves; it becomes more water-soluble. The same thing happens in your bloodstream, heart, brain, kidneys, and all the tissues in your body. If you do not have enough magnesium to help keep calcium dissolved, you may end up with calcium-excess muscle spasms, fibromyalgia, hardening of the arteries, and even dental cavities. Another scenario plays out in the kidneys. If there is too much calcium in the kidneys and not enough magnesium to dissolve it, you can get kidney stones.

It is magnesium that controls the fate of calcium in the body. If magnesium is insufficient, calcium will be deposited in the soft tissues (kidneys, arteries, joints, brain, etc.). Calcium intakes above 2.6 grams per day may reduce the uptake and utilisation of magnesium by the body, and excessive calcium intakes increase magnesium requirements.

Dr. Norman Shealy says, “Every known illness is associated with a magnesium deficiency” and that, “magnesium is the most critical mineral required for electrical stability of every cell in the body. A magnesium deficiency may be responsible for more diseases than any other nutrient.” The benefits of drinking water are amplified greatly when water contains high amounts of magnesium and bicarbonates.

One of the nicest treatments for the kidneys is done with magnesium oil, which is applied transdermally to the lower back as well as the rest of the body.

Baking Soda and Kidney disease

Sodium Bicarbonate is one of the most basic medicines we have for kidney disease. New research by British scientists at the Royal London Hospital shows that sodium bicarbonate can dramatically slow the progress of chronic kidney disease.

Dr. SK Hariachar, a nephrologist who oversees the Renal Hypertension Unit in Tampa Florida stated, upon seeing the research on bicarbonate and kidney disease, “I am glad to see confirmation of what we have known for so long.  I have been treating my patients with bicarbonate for many years in attempts to delay the need for dialysis, and now we finally have a legitimate study to back us up. Not only that, we have the added information that some people already on dialysis can reverse their condition with the use of sodium bicarbonate”.

Military manuals suggest doses or infusions of sodium bicarbonate to help alkalinize the urine if uranium contaminates the kidneys. This makes the uranyl ion less kidney-toxic and promotes excretion of the nontoxic uranium-carbonate complex. The oral administration of sodium bicarbonate diminishes the severity of the changes produced by uranium in the kidneys.

Medical marijuana, like sodium bicarbonate, is one of the few medicines that helps when there is radiation contamination, which the kidneys are especially sensitive to.

Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana is effective with chronic kidney diseases. Hemp oil kidney disease treatment works on two fronts: curing the underlying causes of kidney failure like HIV and saving the kidney from damaging blood cleansing after pharmaceutical treatment.

Studies have shown that marijuana is effective in reducing the effects and symptoms of HIV, Hepatitis B and prostate cancer. All of these conditions are major contributors to kidney diseases. Therefore, when they respond to hemp oil treatment the kidneys are preserved.

Hemp oil treatment protects patients from kidney failure by giving them an option beyond the chemical medicines used as painkillers and treatment of other conditions. Chemical consumption in whatever form is harmful to the kidneys. For instance, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) that are commonly used to treat pain and inflammation contain a high amount of substances that are toxic to the kidneys.

Rich Simpson says, “From my experience with hemp medicine, I have found that most pharmaceutical medications are no longer needed once a person starts using hemp oil. Hemp oil seems to mix well with most natural medications but I have had a few reports from people trying to take hemp oil and pharmaceuticals who experienced stomach pain etc. All problems ceased when they stopped taking the prescription drugs.”

CBD, a special form of medical marijuana, is legal everywhere can also be used instead of hemp oil with THC.

Herbal Medicine

K-B Formula

The herbs in Dr. Schulze’s K-B Formula is highly recommended and has been shown to have three useful actions to promote health: healthy urine flow, cleansing functions and dissolving calcium deposits. Herbs such as Uva Ursi Leaf, Juniper Berry, Corn Silk, Horsetail Herb, Parsley Leaf and Root and others in this formula have been used for centuries as diuretics. Diuretics stimulate healthy kidneys to excrete urine, which produces a natural disinfectant action in the kidneys and bladder. Some of these herbs, like Juniper Berry and Uva Ursi Leaf, are also powerful cleansers for your kidneys and bladder.

Uva Ursi Leaf contains powerful phytochemicals, such as volatile oils, arbutin, quercetin, and malic and gallic acids. Arbutin supports a healthy and clean urinary tract. Quercetin protects the trillions of capillaries in the delicate kidney filtering system. Malic and gallic acids (the same as found in apples and apple cider vinegar) have long been used for kidney and bladder health.

Thus for oral magnesium supplementation, I recommend and personally use MYO-MAG, which has high dosages of malic acid included. Spirulina and chlorella (both high in magnesium) are excellent for kidney problems. I recommend Rejuvenate Plus for anyone with kidney problems.

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