Normal Kidney Function
The kidneys are one of the body’s channels of elimination as well as one of the body’s organs of regulation. If the kidneys can not remove waste, toxins remain in the body and the body is forced to try to eliminate them through other channels.
One example of this would be the skin. The skin is also an organ of elimination, excreting uric acid and waste products in sweat and oil. If the kidneys are not functioning at full strength, toxins will be eliminated through the skin. This may result in rashes as irritating toxins are excreted through the skin.
The kidneys also regulate chemical balance and water content of the body. If the kidneys are not performing that job, numerous health problems and symptoms can arise.
Some examples of these types of conditions are: gout (formation of uric acid crystals in the joints and kidneys), acidosis (a systemic problem of too much acid throughout the body), kidney and urinary bladder infections, and kidney stones.
By cleaning up the kidneys and detoxifying the urinary system, one can help to restore proper body chemistry and waste elimination channels and this will result in better health overall.
There are a number of tests that help to determine the health of your kidneys.
At Green Health Acupuncture, we offer both Urine Analysis and Link: Blood Chemistry Analysisto assess kidney and adrenal function.
The Urinary System
The urinary system produces and excretes urine from the body. It includes the kidneys, urinary bladder and urinary ducts. The urinary ducts are, basically, tubes that connect the kidneys, the urinary bladder and the body orifice. The kidneys are the most important organ in this system because they regulate many functions that help the body maintain balance or homeostasis.
The main function of the kidneys is to remove waste and other toxins from the blood, but they also help maintain acid-alkaline balance, electrolyte, and water levels in the body. These are critical in maintaining balance, if this system doesn’t work properly then normal composition of your blood can not be maintained and serious health issues may result. This is what occurs when people have kidney failure and require dialysis, the dialysis machine does what healthy kidneys are supposed to be doing.
The Adrenal Glands
The adrenal glands are attached to the top of the kidneys. The adrenals have a number of important functions and are particularly vulnerable to fatigue and exhaustion in our high stress world. In fact, adrenal disorders are some of the most common disorders inour society today.
These disorders can impact a host of functions in the body including blood sugar balance, blood pressure, menopausal symptoms and more.Click here to read more about
Kidneys Help Remove Metabolic Waste
Just as our bodies produce waste from breaking down foods, each of our cells produce waste as a results of their normal functions. This cellular waste, as well as, certain drugs and other toxins are picked up by the blood and carried to the kidneys where they are filtered out and eventually excreted. Metabolic wastes must be removed from the blood, if they are not they accumulate and can reach toxic levels. This is called uremia or uremic poisoning.
The kidneys also provide an important function in maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance. Electrolytes are substances such as salts that dissolve or break down into ions when mixed with water. Optimal health depends on maintaining proper balanceof water and electrolytes.The electrolytes in the body fluids are kept in a sensitive balance. The kidneys regulate the levels of many chemical substances in the blood such as chloride, sodium, potassium,and bicarbonate. They also regulate the balance between water and salt by selectively keeping or excreting both substances as the body demands.
Kidneys Regulate Water Balance
Our bodies are 75% water in infancy and from 50 to 60 % body weight as we mature into adults. Water is used by every cell in the body and is essential for proper metabolism, because it provides the medium in which virtually all chemical reactions take place. If the body has too much water, the kidneys excrete it. If we have too little, the kidneys conserve it by removing less.
It is interesting to note that dehydration can cause you to experience pain in your kidneys. Some people incorrectly think that they have a lower back problem because of muscle stiffness or spinal problems, when, in reality, they just need to drink more water. So next time your back hurts, try drinking water before you reach for that ibuprofen or acetaminophen (both of which can damage the kidneys.)
Kidneys Maintain the Acid-Alkaline Balance in Blood
The acid-alkaline balance of the blood is also maintained by the kidneys and the lungs. Normal blood pH is between 7.45 and 7.35 and this is slightly alkaline. If the blood becomes too acidic or too alkaline, serious health consequences and even death may result.
The kidneys maintain this balance by controlling the absorption and replacement of certain ions (i.e., bicarbonate). Our diet and lifestyle choices can influence our body’s acidity. For example, a person who eats a high animal protein diet, and has lots of acid forming foods like refined sugars(high fructose corn syrup), and artificial preservatives and sodas high in phosphoric acid is subjecting their body to a constant assault of acidic foods.
Add to that very few alkaline foods like fruits and vegetables and you have a recipe, over the long term, for acidosis, a condition that affects every cell in the body and that can lead to numerous degenerative diseases.
Kidneys Regulate Blood Pressure
The kidneys also function in blood pressure regulation. When blood pressure is low, cells in the kidneys release a hormone that initiates a process that results in the constriction of blood vessels. This is part of the renin-angiotensin system.
The renin-angiotensin system (RAS) a hormone system that regulates blood pressure and water (fluid) balance.When blood volume is low, the kidneys secrete renin. Renin stimulates the production of angiotensin. Angiotensin causes blood vessels to constrict resulting in increased bloodpressure. Angiotensin also stimulates the secretion of the hormone aldosterone from the adrenal cortex.
Aldosterone causes the tubules of the kidneys to increase the reabsorption of sodium and water. This increases the volume of fluid in the body, which also increases blood pressure. If the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system is too active, blood pressure will be too high.
High blood pressure, itself, may be a sign of underlying kidney problems. There are many drugs which interrupt different steps in this system to lower blood pressure. However, there are many diet and lifestyle changes that you can make that will dramatically improve you blood pressure. These include losing weight, improving your diet, exercising regularly, reducing salt and alcohol intake, etc.
Like so many of the health issues that afflict people in our culture, lifestyle choices are often at the root of these problems. This means that you have the power to changeyour health each and every day. At Green Health Acupuncture we offer you the tools to enable you to do that.
Kidneys Produce Hormones to Make Red Blood Cells
Erythropoietin is produced in the kidney,and when it passes through the bone marrow,erythropoietin binds to proerythroblasts stimulating them to create red blood cells.
Red blood cells, which make up the bulk of blood, are produced from stem cells in the bone marrow. Stem cells reproduce in bone marrow and provide the raw material from whichred blood cells can be produced.
A pluripotent (undifferentiated) stem cell becomes a multi-potent stem cell, which in turn becomes a uni-potential stem cell, which is a fancy way of saying it is now a specialized cell destined to become a specific type of blood cell. After going through a few more stages it is released from the bone marrow, and ultimately becomes an erythrocyte, or mature red blood cell.
Kidneys Activate Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble prohormones found in 2 forms (Vitamin D2 or Vitamin D3). Vitamin D is obtained from sun exposure, food, and supplements, is biologically inert and must undergo a couple of reactions to be activated in the body.
Its major role is to increase the flow of calcium into the bloodstream, by promoting absorption of calcium and phosphorus from food in the intestines, and re-absorption of calcium in the kidneys; enabling normal mineralization of bone and preventing conditions caused by too little calcium. It is also necessary for bone growth and bone remodeling.
Without sufficient vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen. Deficiency can arise from getting too little in your diet combined with inadequate sunlight exposure. Or from disorders that limit its absorption; such as liver or kidney disorders; or, rarely, by a number of hereditary disorders.
Vitamin D deficiency results in impaired bone mineralization and leads to bone softening diseases, rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults, and may contribute to osteoporosis (loss of bone density).
A Summary of Kidney Functions
In summary, Healthy Kidneys Perform Many Important Functions:
* They maintain fluid, electrolyte and acid-alkaline balance.
* They eliminate metabolic wastes.
* They help regulate blood pressure.
* They produce a hormone that stimulates red blood cell production (erythropoietin or EPO)
* They Activate vitamin D and, therefore, help regulate calcium and bone metabolism.
It is easy to see why the kidneys are considered the most important homeostatic organ in the body. At Green Health Acupuncture we offer several different test to determine the health and vitality of your kidneys.
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