Kidney Stones are a mixture of minerals such as Calcium oxalate or Calcium Phosphate and uric acid. These substances solidify over time in the kidneys due to inefficient metabolic waste filtration through the kidneys. It is not best practice to suggest that these stones can be broken down or eliminated as there is a risk of the stones becoming stuck in the tubes of the urethra and may cause degradation of the lining or inflammation and infection.
THE ROLE OF THE KIDNEYS
The kidneys are a pair of organs situated at the back of the abdomen, below the diaphragm on each side of the spine just under the rib cage and weigh about 150gm each. Its functions are to regulate blood pressure, reduce acidity (metabolic acidosis), dispose of waste material from the blood, regulate water and fluid balance, produce erythropoietin to build new red blood cells and keep the acid/ alkaline balance controlled. The wastes flushed out from the kidneys (excess Sodium, nitrogen, aluminium, urea, metabolic wastes) are removed from the body via the urine.
Healthy kidneys act like a filter to remove wastes and fluids from the circulating blood, they keep the proper balance of salts and acids in the body and produce hormones. Every day our kidneys filter 200 litres of blood which is an essential process and they remove about 2 litres of waste products which are diluted in water. To remove this waste and extra water, blood enters the kidney through the renal artery and is then cleaned in the kidney as it passes through tiny filters called nephron. One kidney contains about one million nephrons and each nephron contains a filtering apparatus called a glomerulus. Cleaned, fresh blood then returns to the circulation via the renal vein and the wastes taken from the blood via filtration are excreted via the bladder and urine.
DIET TIPS FOR KIDNEY FUNCTION
- Drink herbal teas such as Dandelion Leaf and Green Tea as they support the function of the kidneys filtration and are also gentle diuretics
- The best advice to support the role of the kidneys is to ensure adequate fluid intake, at least 2 litres of water/ day. There is a saying which goes “the solution to pollution is dilution” which explains the role the kidneys place in removal of wastes from the body
- Reduce diuretics in the diet such as sugar, tea, alcohol, coffee and carbonated drinks. These place an extra burden on the kidneys filtration and can cause the body to lose more water and disrupt the sodium and potassium balance. Reduce alcohol intake as alcohol can dramatically reduce kidney function by causing a diuretic action which leads to dehydration and places a burden on the kidneys to remove the waste aldehyde from the system
- An alkaline diet rather than an acidic diet cleanses and tones the kidneys. An alkaline diet involves eating foods such fresh vegetables and fruits, lemon juice, water, brown rice, miso soup and vegetable juices. An acidic diet is foods like sugar, wheat, dairy, red meat, oranges, alcohol, preserved and processed foods
- Have a vegetable juice each day to encourage liver detoxification and kidney filtration. Some ideas are fresh juiced beetroot, carrot, celery and ginger or watermelon or pineapple, green apple and mint
- Reduce foods such as sugar, tea, coffee, alcohol, soft drinks and table salt (an alternative for this is Celtic Sea Salt) as these tend to hold onto fluid in the body
- Decrease sodium (table salt) consumption in your diet and replace with sea salt or vegetable salt. Sodium is important for the health of the kidneys but not in excessive amounts. Sea salt is rich in many minerals without being refined and does not contain aluminium (used in table salt to keep the salt dry)
- Vegetable broths are very nutrient rich for the health of the kidneys as well as alkalising excess acidity levels to help take the burden off the kidneys filtration system. You can make a broth by boiling kidney beans and a mix of vegetables such as onions, celery, carrot, beetroot, spinach, sea salt, wakame (sea vegetables/ seaweed) and drinking a cup of the broth daily. This recipe is also very rich in minerals which again will help to fortify and nourish the kidneys
- Caffeine, simple sugars and sugar alternatives (sorbitol) irritate the kidneys
LIFESTYLE FACTORS FOR KIDNEY FUNCTION
- Be aware that excessive Calcium intake through supplementation may increase the risk of kidney stone formation. Excessive consumption of proteins may also increase the risk of kidney stones
- Some pharmaceutical medications cause holding of fluids and a decrease in kidney function, so speak to your GP about possible side effects from any medications you may be currently taking
- Avoid alcohol consumption
- Heavy metals such as Cadmium, Lead, Mercury and Aluminium reduce Kidney function
NATURAL REMEDIES FOR KIDNEY FUNCTION
- Magnesium supplementation may help to offset the build up of Calcium Oxalate crystals and may thereby help to prevent kidney stone formation
- Spirulina, Wheat Grass and Chlorophyll nourishes and tones the kidneys and increases the amounts of waste removed via filtration, it is also a blood cleanser and alkaliser
- Herbs to improve the functioning of the kidneys are Borage, Chapparal, Cornsilk, Dandelion leaf, Goji Berry, Alisma, Poria, Ginkgo biloba, Green Tea, Lemon Grass (tea), Milk Thistle, Rehmannia, Parsley, Celery, Juniper, Roship (tea), Sarsaparilla, Bearberry and Golden Seal. Taking a herbal supplement may help to assist in reducing the possibility of more stones forming, strengthen kidney filtration, alkalise and improve the health of overall kidney function
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