Kidney detox is important because the kidneys are some of the most important organs in the body. If they were not constantly filtering the blood, we would, literally, be poisoned by our own waste products.
This is why kidney detoxification is so important. If your kidneys are filled with bacteria, stones,and/or accumulated toxins then they may not be able to filter the blood or perform their other functions effectively.
Before You Detox Your Body Heal Your Kidneys
The kidneys are so important that you should be cautious about attempting an herbal cleanse or serious kidney detox program if they are not functioning properly. The reason for this is simple, many of the popular detox programs sold online and in stores can effectively draw out toxins from the body’s tissues. These toxins are then dumped into the bloodstream and must be eliminated.
If the kidneys are already filled with toxins, then they will have difficulty eliminating the additional load and they will suffer by becoming overworked and weakened. The blood will remain at an overly toxic level creating a longer period of discomfort. And if these additional toxins can not be excreted, they may redeposit themselves somewhere else in the body. Thus, the whole purpose of your detox accomplishes very little and can further damage the kidneys.
Get On a Healthy Diet First
We recommend a diet that is the foundation of our detoxification program at Green Health Acupuncture. It is essentially a whole foods diet that avoids all artificial ingredients, dyes, preservatives, etc. and is based heavily on fruits, vegetables and whole grains with a substantial reduction in animal protein.
This diet should be the way you eat each and every day and not just something you do to detox. However, it is also a very effective tool to prepare you for a detoxification program.
Determine If Your Kidneys Have Problems
Healthy kidneys are dependent on many different factors. Diet and exercise have a great deal to do with kidney health. For example, a high animal protein diet can lead to gout (a build up of uric acid that forms crystals in the joints and kidneys) and acidosis (a build up of acids that affect the whole system).
Stress and cardiovascular disease also have an important influence on kidney health. Poor circulation caused by cardiovascular issues can cause a buildup of fluid in tissues (often in the lower legs) causing edema. If the circulation is poor, toxins can often become lodged in these areas of congested fluids.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that the kidneys are very efficient organs and are often able to keep reference (like blood and urine) markers within normal range even though there may still be health issues. Therefore, if you do find that your results from a blood test are outside the laboratory range, it is very important to consult a physician.
However, be aware that most physicians only look at the laboratory range when analyzing blood work. At Green Health Acupuncture, we analyze blood work by looking at the laboratory and the functional range.
This can give you information about where you are trending long before it actually shows up as a deviation from the laboratory range and before you become really ill.
Infections of the Kidneys
Infections are also a common urinary disorder. Most infections of the urinary tract are caused by bacteria and these can spread up the urinary ducts to the kidneys. As anyone who has had a kidney infection will tell you, these are often quite painful. Infections of the kidneys may also come from the blood, or from lymph channels.
The most common type of bacterias that can cause infections in the urinary tract and kidneys are e.coli, tubercle bacillus and various types of staphylococcus and streptococcus.
The majority of these bacteria originate in the colon so maintaining a healthy colon is critically important for healthy
kidneys. And, while we’re on the subject, maintaining good hygiene of the anus and genitals is also very important. Keep it clean, people!
Kidney infections can lead to the formation of abscesses in or on the kidney and may result in pus formation. These diseases are potentially very serious and usually present with fatigue, fever, (sometimes severe) lower back pain and sustained illness.
Kidney stones or renal calculi can cause even greater pain and discomfort than infections. Kidney stones and gravel (smaller pieces) are crystallized mineral deposits that form in the kidneys. These stones develop when calcium and other minerals, such as uric acid, crystallize in the collection ducts of the kidneys. They usually remain attached to these ducts unless they break off.
Sometimes, they are small enough to simply flow through. If they are large, they may block the passageway of the ducts. These can be excruciatingly painful and may cause muscle contractions of
the urinary ducts. Kidney stones often have sharp edges that cut and scratch the ducts that they travel through.
If the stones become lodged and cause an obstruction, they may cause urine to back up. This may extend all the way back to the kidneys. The seriousness of this depends on the location of the
blockage and the extent to which urine flow is impaired. However, any type of blockage creates an environment which encourages bacterial growth that leads to infections.
Causes of Kidney Stones
There are many potential causes for kidney stones. A urinary tract infection can create cellular debris that act as scaffolding on which crystals can form. Bacteria also make the urine more alkaline and this results in the deposit of phosphates that form calcium phosphate stones.
Poor hydration can also lead to stone formation. This may be caused by profuse sweating or low fluid intake. Low fluid intake can also be made worse by the consumption of caffeine containing beverages like coffee, tea and soda all of which are diuretics.
Many people actually have a mild form of chronic dehydration, they just don’t drink enough water. To put it in perspective, the average person loses about 2 and 1/2 quarts of water each day through exhalation, perspiration and excretion. So that minus the water you are getting through various foods is the bare minimum (about 64 oz.) one should be drinking daily.
Other causes of kidney stones are excessive uric acid and increased calcium in the urine. Chronic lack of exercise may encourage calcium to leech out of the bones and into the blood, thereby increasing calcium levels in the urine. Nitrogen from protein rich foods (primarily meat and diary) is a primary source for the formation of uric acid.
Soda, which contains phosphoric acid also encourages the formation of kidney stones. This is a very common finding in the clinic. The first thing we ask people who are suffering from kidney stones is how much soda they drink. Without exception, this is one thing they all have in common and some research shows that drinking one quart (less than three 12-ounce cans) of soda per week may increase a person’s risk of developing stones by 15%.
Finally, a diet high in sugar and refined flour stimulates the pancreas to release insulin and in the body’s ecosystem increased insulin results in increased calcium excretion from the urine. These increased levels of calcium in the urine make the probability of stone formation higher.
Reduce Your Risk of Stones by
Eliminating Stone Forming Foods
Foods that contain oxalate should be avoided because they oxalate combines with calcium to form the crystals that make up kidney stones. These foods include: beans, beets, green peppers, spinach (seems to produce the most oxalate), cocoa, chocolate
tea, coffee, peanuts, peanut oil, salt – causes more excretion of calcium in urine, lots of meat, soda (has phosphoric acid), and wheat bran.
The most critical foods to reduce dramatically or avoid entirely are animal products (meat and dairy) with the possible exception of eggs and fish, caffeine containing products (with the possible
exception of green tea), soda, spinach and potential allergens like peanuts, soy and corn.
Improving the diet by eliminating foods that help stones to form and getting enough exercise will help improve kidney health. However, diet alone will not get rid of stones once they have formed. The only way to get rid of stones after they have formed, naturally, is by kidney detoxification.
How to Effectively Detox the Kidneys
The kidneys are the primary organ of homeostasis, or the maintenance of balance in the body. Therefore, the health of all the organs in the body rely on the kidneys. Since infection and accumulation of toxins cause most kidney problems, the solution to maintaining good kidney health is detoxification.
The objective is to remove all irritating chemicals, crystal deposits, and metabolic waste and to replace damaged cells with new tissue. The good news is you do not need to suffer the pain and/or discomfort of urinary infections, or the excruciating suffering of passing kidney stones.
There are a number of safe, effective and gentle herbs and foods that will help detoxify and restore health to the kidneys and urinary system. Number one of these is the humble apple. (A note of caution, however. You must use organic apples, conventional apples have some of the most pesticides of any crop on the planet.)
Apple of My Eye
The apple is rich in vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates and contains protein fiber and organic salts and acids.Therapeutically, it is a purifier, cleanser, revitalizer, antiseptic, disinfectant, germicide, respiratory stimulant, cardiac stimulant, brain and nerve stimulant and tonic.
One of the most important reasons why apples a re so effective in detoxification is that is also rich in pectin. Researchers at the University of California, Davis, found that apple pectin also acts as an antioxidant against the damaging portion of cholesterol in the blood stream. Researchers have found that raw apples are the richest of fruits in pectin, with the jonagold variety of apple leading other varieties.
It has been established that a diet rich in apple pectin may help protect against certain diseases. Research in Japan supports that apple pectin can also decrease the chances of colon cancer. Apple pectin helps maintain intestinal balance by cleansing the intestinal tract with its soluble and insoluble fibers.
Pectin is also effective in causing regressions in and preventing gallstones. There is also evidence that the regular use of apple pectin may lessen the severity of diabetes.
Other Helpful Herbs and Foods
Here are some other helpful foods and herbs that are really beneficial for kidney and urinary health:
Vitamin C: Vitamin C has been found to reduce the body’s levels of histamine, something that can enflame the kidneys. It is also a mild diuretic. Ascorbic acid acidifies the urine helping to dissolve phosphate stones and magnesium ammonium phosphate stones.
Vitamin B6: B6 appears to be effective in the management of peripheral edema and neuropathy associated with poor kidney function.B6 is an essential component of porphyrins, and helps protect the kidneys from certain blood diseases that involve them.
Magnesium Carbonate: Magnesium carbonate has the ability to bind up excess phosphates in the system. Phosphates (common in soft drinks) are highly acidic and may cause kidney damage. This mineral is very basic and has the capacity to neutralize acids in the kidney tract.
Nettles: A great herb that has strong tonifying effects on both the liver and kidneys. It helps maintain proper pH balance and to improve urinary output.
Uva Ursi (bearberry): This herb contains berberines, compounds that are strongly anti-bacterial. It was used traditionally to treat urinary and kidney infections and to improve urinary volume.
Hydrangea Root: This herb is very beneficial for the urinary system. It is quite effective at dissolving deposits in the kidneys and the gallbladder. It is also helpful for reducing pain and inflammation in the urinary tract.
Liu Wei Di Huang Wan: This is actually a formulation of 6 herbs that has been used for hundreds of years in traditional Chinese herbal medicine. All the herbs in this formula benefit the kidneys in different ways and it is a beautiful example of the genius and elegance of Chinese medicine. This formula can also be modified in dozens of ways to help address kidney related issues.
This formula is very good nutrition for the kidneys and is nicely balanced to reduce any buildup of fluids. This idea of targeted nutrition for specific ecosystems in the body is not recognized in western medicine, but is a very important part of Chinese medicine and many other indigenous herbal traditions.
If you are interested in cleansing your kidneys we advise, as we said above,that you first make changes to your diet. Diet is critically important to your body’s overall health. If you don’t make changes in the things that are causing your problems then you will be visited by them again.
The second thing to do is to determine the health of your kidneys. At Green Health Acupuncture we offer a number of excellent diagnostic tests for determining the health of your kidneys and adrenals and we can work with you no matter where in the country you are.
This is important because it establishes a base line so that you determine if there is any improvement once you take steps to correct the problems.