Dr. Nada Milosavljevic MD says: Kidneys take a beating during times of extreme, extended exertion; there are natural ways to give them a bit of support. There's a host of beneficial foods, nutrients, and herbal teas and drinks that can aid in kidney cleansing, detox and optimal functioning.
Hydration. Kidneys need water to create the urine that flushes out the majority of the waste in our bodies. So what happens when you don’t drink enough water? Essentially, waste starts backing up in your kidneys – and that can lead to kidney stones.
Foods. In recent studies, brown seaweed has been shown to help reduce kidney damage from diabetes. Eating cranberries has been associated with a drop in urinary tract infections. And foods that have lots of calcium, like tofu or fortified cereals, help to reduce the possibility of kidney stones. Calcium binds with a compound called urinary oxalate that contribute to kidney stones. When it’s combined with calcium, that oxalate can be more easily excreted from your system.
Beverages / Herbal Teas. A variety of drinks and herbal teas have attributes that can cleanse kidneys or reduce kidney damage. Examples of these are stinging nettle, sambong (an herb often used in the Philippines and Asia) and hydrangea. In the case of hydrangea, a recent study showed hydrangea given three days to mice could help to mitigate aspects of kidney disease.
Nutrients. Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil can be very beneficial to kidneys. Because Americans tend to have more Omega 6 oils that can contribute to kidney stones, taking a fish-oil supplement can add more beneficial Omega 3. In addition, Omega 3s actually slow down the metabolic processes of Omega 6s! Also, taking Vitamin B-6 can reduce the oxalates that can help create kidney stones.
Our kidneys work really hard to rid waste, help with fluid balance, and they even make some hormones. After a tough race they need a little TLC.
KEY TERMS & IDEAS
Kidney stones: “These are hard, pebble-like pieces of material that form in one or both of your kidneys when high levels of certain minerals are in your urine. Kidney stones rarely cause permanent damage if treated by a health care professional. Kidney stones vary in size and shape. They may be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a pea. Rarely, some kidney stones are as big as golf balls. Kidney stones may be smooth or jagged and are usually yellow or brown.” (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)
Oxalates “are a natural substance in many foods. They bind to calcium during digestion in the stomach and intestines and leave the body in stool. Oxalate that is not bound to calcium travels as a waste product from the blood to the kidneys where it leaves the body in the urine. If there is too much oxalate and too little liquid in the urine, calcium oxalate fragments create creates. As the crystals begin to increase in number, they stick to one another to form a larger crystal known as a kidney stone.” (National Kidney Foundation)
LINKS & RESOURCES:
Cindy Kuzma, “No, Marathon Runners, You Don’t Have to Worry About Your Kidneys,” Runners World, April 18, 2017,
https://www.runnersworld.com/news/a20853413/no-marathon-runners-you-dont-have-to-worry-about-your-kidneys/, accessed April 2019.
“Definitions & Factors for Kidney Stones,” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, May 2017, https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/kidney-stones/definition-facts, accessed April 2019.
Mahsa Motshakeri, et al., "Effects of brown seaweed (Sargassum polycystum) extracts on kidney, liver, and pancreas of type 2 diabetic rat model.]," Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine 2014, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3910465/, accessed April 2019.
Jessianna Saville, “What Are Oxalates and Why Are They a Concern for Kidney Disease Patients?” National Kidney Foundation, September 5, 2018, https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/what-are-oxalate-kidney-stones, accessed April 2018.
Sen Zhang et al., "Total coumarins from Hydrangea paniculata show renal protective effects in lipopolysaccharide-induced acute kidney injury via anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities." Frontiers in pharmacology 8 (2017): 872, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5735979/, accessed April 2019.
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