Some of the earliest known references to kidney disease are found in the Roman baths. The idea was to take some of the load off of the kidneys by using the sweat mechanism to detox the body. By the 1800s, we had scientific descriptions of polycystic kidneys and even dialysis, though effective dialysis treatments didn’t make their appearance until the 1940s. Back in 200 C.E., Chinese surgeon Hua-To was performing kidney transplants; in modern practice, transplants became routine for kidney failure in the 1960s.
Like most conditions, the best approach to kidney disease is to prevent as much of it as possible. Not every kidney problem is preventable, but most can be at least modulated by taking a few simple steps.
Like most topics, spending a little time in PubMed shows some conflicting conclusions about what might help kidneys work better. It is no surprise that it appears that moderate fluid intake seems to hold up the best in studies. Too much water might actually increase the risk of kidney cancer. One study shows that drinking alcohol 4-5 days a week can reduce the rate of chronic kidney disease. Coffee and juices can certainly be overdone and can contribute to cancer of the kidney as well. The conclusion about kidney health and fluid intake? Modest water intake from your best and cleanest source is a good call. Coffee, juice and alcohol might be okay, depending on your own physiology and sensitivities. Some people will tolerate these, and some won’t. It’s best to know your own body here.
Of course, the most common type of kidney problem is diabetic nephropathy. What you choose to drink can make a difference in your body’s ability to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Juices and alcohol will not be your friends here. Increased blood sugar ultimately causes a restriction of the blood vessels in the kidneys, limiting the blood supply to the kidneys themselves. This essentially starves out these critical cells. If you are headed to dialysis, there’s a good chance that it’s due to diabetes mellitus.
Most people can keep out of dialysis by getting regular blood tests that include an HbA1C and fasting blood sugar. HbA1C is the blood sugar associated with your red blood cells. With this test, you are getting an average blood sugar level over a 90 day period. The fasting blood sugar test is a snapshot, but it still provides information about how much your blood sugar can fluctuate from that average.
Several studies have been done about supplements and kidney health. Some supplements that seem to have the most likely benefit are Vitamin D, dandelion and phosphorus. Most medical doctors cite 25 or 30 as a good level of Vitamin D; we like about 80. Dandelion can be found in capsule form and can be derived from either the leaves or roots. Phosphorus should be routinely checked in the blood test that showed you your glucose numbers.
For Vitamin D, we recommend Thorne D-10,000. We have several dandelion preparations at OVitaminPro. You can do a search and choose your favorite or give us a call and let us guide you to one that is most likely to work for you. Different brands each have their own approach to kidney support. TCM Zone has several herbal remedies like You Gui Yin. Allergy Research has a protomorphogen product called Kidney Beef Natural Glandular. Apex Energetics has an herbal mineral formula called Rena-Zyme. When you consider the wide range of products and approaches out there, you’ll understand why we can’t make sweeping generalizations about which supplement will be the ‘miracle cure’ for you. It’s always worth taking some time and energy to research and experiment to find out what works best for you.