Greetings. It’s New Zealand naturopath, Eric Bakker, author of Candida Crusher and formulator of the Canxida range of products. I’m going to talk a little bit about kidney problems this morning. It’s a beautiful day here in New Zealand. It’s still summertime. We’ve got actually wonderful weather at the moment. We’ve had some really strange weather as of late, though, and a lot of people I’ve spoken to in America and in the UK have had very similar strange weather patterns. Let’s get back into the kidneys.
Many people talk about liver detoxification, bowel detoxification, gall bladder flushes, getting the digestive system fixed up, but nobody talks about the kidney. You’ve got two kidneys and their role is critical and vital for maintaining excellent health. What do the kidneys do? What are they responsible for and why is it so important to look after them?
The kidneys are incredible. They’re a very high filtration unit. You’ve got two of them in the lower part of your back. We’ll talk a little bit about back pain later on. Many people feel kidney pain from time to time, but actually think they’ve got a lower back problem. The kidneys, as I mentioned, are a high filtration unit. They filter a staggering 400 pints of blood per day, so that’s probably around 200 to 230 liters of blood are filtered by the kidneys every day. They produce a staggering amount of waste that they actually pull out of the blood and put into the urine, so you can excrete them. It’s estimated around three to four pints, which is probably around 2 liters of waste get put out every day.
If the kidneys didn’t function properly, you’d be in big trouble in no time at all. Your blood pressure would be unregulated. You wouldn’t be able to produce red blood cells because the kidneys produce a hormone called erythropoietin and that stimulates the production of red blood cells, so you’d quickly get anemia and fatigue if you didn’t have good kidney function. More importantly, the kidneys not only help to cleanse the blood, the kidneys have glands on top of them called the adrenal glands. You’ve got two adrenal glands, and the adrenal glands are little mushroom shaped glands that sit on top of the kidneys that produce up to 50 different hormones. They produce some of the most powerful hormones in the body.
The kidneys are positioned very interestingly quite central in the body and also close to possibly one of the largest artery in the system where they can have access to a lot of blood there. But more importantly, the adrenal glands have access to the main circulation system where they can put their hormones straight into the main circulation. We’re talking cortisol. We’re talking sex hormones because the adrenals also produce estrogen and progesterone. They produce DHEA. Many hormones are produced, so it’s vital that the kidneys are in good shape to also keep the adrenal glands in good shape.
The kidneys have their own extensively detoxification system. And even the adrenal glands have got their own enzymatic detoxification system, which is a little bit similar to the liver detox pathway. So it’s critical that you keep your kidneys in really good shape.
How do you know if you’ve got kidney disease? What are some of the signs and symptoms? Things that you could be ignoring right now? Do you get itchy skin a lot? It might not be a yeast infection. If you get a lot of itchy skin around the thighs, around the legs, the back of the legs, you’re always itching the inner part of the thigh, itchy, especially if the skin is dry a lot. Dry skin, itchy skin, and I find particularly in the lower extremity carefully think are you drinking enough water? You may have the signs of kidney disease. Look for things like puffiness or fluid retention. If you’ve got that, that’s seriously bad kidney disease.
Things we’re looking at are consistent unexplained anemia. So if you’ve got low red cell count and you’re anemic quite a lot. If you’ve got low ferritin, which is a low iron storage protein that’s constantly low and yet they can’t explain why you’ve got low iron. They can’t find any iron in the stool. You haven’t been bleeding or haven’t had any heavy menstruation, so it’s unexplained loss of red cell production. You may want to check the kidney out a bit more carefully. Unexplained itching. Check carefully if you’re taking any medications that could upset the kidney. Alcohol really affects the kidney bad. In fact, I believe that most alcoholic hangovers and headaches occur from dehydration because you’re peeing out so much fluid and you’re stressing the kidneys out so much, it’s affecting you on multiple pathways. But many headaches with alcohol are not caused by the liver so much, but by the kidney dehydration. Check out those things. Itchy skin, unexplained anemia. There are other things you can look for that are a bit more complex like bruising and things like that. We don’t go into those kind of pathways.
The best kept secret I wrote about in Candida Crusher is called the kidney flush. How do you do a kidney flush? There are a couple of things the kidney really likes. We all know that we need to drink plenty of fresh clean good quality water. That’s a very good thing to do for the kidney. You need to back off coffee, tea and alcohol because those things affect the kidney really bad. They dehydrate the body and they stress out the very fine tubules in the kidney. They can cause a lot of problems. Coffee drinkers often end up with kidney stones.
The kidneys also regulate the pH of the body and they regulate the electrolytes and the potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium. They have a big effect on minerals in the body. And you’ll find that people who drink too much coffee end up with all sorts of problems with acidity and pH imbalances. The kidneys are responsible for excreting many different wastes, toxins and chemicals. These toxins are many and varied and come from a wide variety of sources, including chemicals and toxins in your food and water, pharmaceutical drugs, environmental chemicals, pesticides, alcoholic residues, pollution. When the kidneys fail to function optimally, these toxins can potentially cause many different problems like headaches, blood pressure, nausea, itchy skin, fatigue, many other different problems.
What are some of the key things you can take for kidney function? Watermelon is quite good. Celery is quite good. These are quite high water containing produce that really help to flush the kidney out. Watermelon is quite high in potassium, so it’s a good one to have. There’s an herb you can get called goldenrod. It’s also called solidago or goldenrod. It’s a very good one, especially for males to have. Cornsilk. When you open the corn and you’ve got all that little silky sort of stuff hanging down, you can actually keep that and dry that out and you can make a cup of tea out of that and that’s very soothing for the kidney.
Cherries are good. One of the best herbs is parsley. Green parsley, you just break off four or five stalks when you grow it, put it in a pot, a non-aluminum pot, and a bit of water and you simmer that and then you pour that into a cup and you drink that. Add a bit of water to it and you drink that. That’s very good at flushing out the kidney and at cleansing the kidney.
One of the best things for cleaning the kidney are parsley roots. So the parsley plant, especially the second year, the roots contain a lot more of the beneficial nutrients in them. You dry the roots out and you can use those. They’re very, very powerful for kidney cleansing. A good probiotic. Have a think about taking a product like my Canxida Restore. That’s got a lot of beneficial enzymes in it, as well as beneficial bacteria that are going to help improve kidney function because yes, you’ve actually got bacteria in the kidney as well.
A glass of pure apple juice, not the crap you buy in the shop, but you actually get green apples and squeeze them. Very good to have. The following kidney friendly foods. Watermelon as we mentioned. Cherries, red bell peppers or capsicums, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, onions, green apples, cranberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, red grapes, egg whites and fresh fish. You’ll be thinking. “Hang on a minute. I can’t eat grapes. I’ve got Candida.” You can eat grapes with Candida, but you’ve got to wait a while. You can’t have them with the first stage of treatment. You need to possibly wait a few weeks, maybe even a month or two and then you can put a few red grapes in. Red grapes are more beneficial than green grapes for the kidney.
When you’re trying to clean out the kidney, you’ve got to really cut out red meat. Because red meat is really hard on the kidney function. It produces a whole lot of nitrogen wastes, which can really affect the kidney a lot. White meats are better for the kidney. Red meat is harder. If you eat red meat, drink a lot of water and don’t eat any more than 250 grams of red meat in a week. That’s my recommendation.
White flour, sugar, rich foods, fatty foods, deep fried foods, junk foods, pizzas, coca cola, peanuts, spinach. Be careful of spinach. The silver beet contains oxalic acid and that can be hard on kidney function. Chocolate is not good for kidneys, so ladies watch out for chocolate. I hope that gives you a bit of an insight into the kidney.
I spoke before about the back pain. Some people get a back pain and they get a nice dull low pain around the back and it can often be on the side that you’re sleeping on. So if you’re sleeping a lot on the left, you could a little bit of a dull pain on the left side or you can get it on the right. If you get a little bit of a very low dull pain in the back a bit like a dull toothache from time to time, it could be kidney pain and it’s not uncommon. And I bet that you will have had a kidney pain over time, especially in your 40s or 50s like me. You will have experienced a little bit of kidney pain here or there, but probably thought “Ah, I’ve got a lower back problem. My back’s hurting a little bit or the muscles.” But it was probably the kidney more likely, especially if it was off to the side.
Remember drink water, especially when you get up. Drink water around meal times. I don’t drink with food. I usually drink after I’ve had food to eat. Drink plenty of water when it’s hot and also drink water even if you don’t feel like drinking water, just try to have a few sips. It’s going to be so beneficial for your body. Try to cut out the alcoholic beverages entirely for a few weeks and increase your water intake and I can guarantee you you’re going to notice a huge difference in how you feel. Energy will come up.
That’s a bit of information on kidney function. Last thing I’ll leave you with is at least once per year go to your doctor and ask for a kidney function test. We look at a few different parameters there with kidneys. One is called creatine clearance and the other one is called GFR or glomerular filtration rate. Creatine is a waste product produced with the metabolism, so the muscles produce a waste called creatine and that gets excreted through the urine. We can actually measure the creatine to see if it’s high or low to see how the affective the clearance of the creatine is. If the clearance is poor, it could mean the kidneys need attention.
The kidneys work a little bit like all sorts of sieves or colanders all on top of each other. Glomerular filtration rate is basically how effective all those sieves are working. If the filtration rate is really poor and the creatine clearance is really poor and you’ve got a bit of blood pressure and a bit of fluid retention and itchy skin, you’ve got a bad kidney problem. I think you can start getting the picture now.
I hope that gives you a bit of information on kidneys. Thanks for tuning in.