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Key Kidney Issues for World Kidney Day

Kidney disease and failure is on the increase.  The aging population is of course relevant; but the soaring rates of type 2 diabetes is also highly relevant. Here's a look at some of the key nutritional issues relating to the kidneys.


Kidney Stones

Typically these are caused by a calcium imbalance or pH imbalance.  Sometimes following a cleansing diet can trigger them.  Warm water and lemon juice in the morning can help protect against kidney stones.  Apple cider vinegar is also excellent, and good to include daily for many other reasons too.

Did you know that most calcium supplements are made from calcium carbonate... in other words limestone... in other words... cement!  It is no wonder these supplements have the potential to lead to kidney issues.  And an isolated calcium supplement is even worse because calcium needs magnesium to be effective, and low magnesium can contribute to kidney issues.  We believe in getting calcium and magnesium naturally, read more here.

If you don't have enough salt, the calcium will compete and this can contribute to kidney stones.  Good salt is essential for health, don't believe the hype! But it wants to be real, full spectrum salt like the Celtic Salt.

Cranberry is also good for clearing out excess calcium in the soft tissues.  But of course this is only for occasional use ideally due to the sugar content.


Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can directly impact on the kidneys, so must be controlled both to avoid kidney problems, and for anyone who already has issues.  Lifestyle changes are key.  Olive Leaf Extract is clinically proven to control high blood pressure, and natural, and totally good for you too.  It is NOT the case the blood pressure will be negatively affected by Celtic Salt, quite the opposite in fact.


Carbohydrates and Potassium

In serious kidney issues, potassium needs to be restricted.  Your medical team will advise you on this diet as it can be very tricky.  Vegetables of course tend to be high in potassium as do whole grains.  The lowest potassium vegetables are bean sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, onions, peas, watercress, squash, leeks and lettuce.  The key ones to avoid would be potatoes, artichokes, avocado, brussels sprouts, celery, chard, pumpkins, tomatoes, sweet potato and parsley.  Bread should also be avoided.



If kidneys are failing, a low protein diet is typically recommend. But this is controversial. And of course we need high quality protein for good health, so on this basis alone represents some problems.  You need to discuss this with your medical team and in some cases working hands on with a nutritionist to give you daily food plans may be needed.  Plant source proteins - seeds, nuts and lentils for example are lacking certain amino acids making them known as "incomplete" protein.  But for kidney patients, they can ideal.  Similarly, Chlorella is so helpful as a high quality plant protein, and also nourishing for the kidneys too.



For kidney issues,  good quality fats are recommended, and for once, this is where mainstream nutrition, and real, traditional / natural nutrition tend to be in more agreement.  The kidneys need stable fats to function well.  Although sadly we have seen some literature recommending margarine, which is to be avoided.  But high quality saturated fats such as butter, lard and cream are good. As our natural omega oils from fresh fish or fish oil, and coconut oil.


Sodium Bicarbonate

This, simple cheap, old fashioned remedy can be very useful in kidney disease, and is recommended by the NHS.  And anyone in a state of acidosis would do well on some bicarb.



This is lost in those with kidney failure, and it is such an important amino acid.  The best foods for carnitine are red meat and dairy.  Interestingly vegans rarely show to be lacking in carnitine, but in the event of renal failure, they might definitely need a carnitine supplement. 


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Saturated Fats and the Kidneys Mary Enig PhD

Naturopathic Approaches to Kidney Disease by Quinn Rivet

de Brito-Ashurst I, Varagunam M, Raftery MJ, and Yaqoob MM. Bicarbonate Supplementation Slows Progression of CKD and Improves Nutritional Status. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 2009; Published ahead of print on July 16

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