Our kidneys are one facet of our body that we generally ignore unless we have problems with them. Kidney stones, chronic kidney disease, gout and kidney failure are all issues that can creep up on us as we age, but there are ways to avoid these maladies.
What your kidneys do
Located below your rib cage in the rear on both sides of your spine, your kidneys are a specialized filtration system. They remove waste products and impurities from your blood as well as filtering out excess water. They store these products in your bladder. Every day your hard-working kidneys remove waste products from up to 150 quarts of blood, sending them to your urine.
Your kidneys are hard workers. They regulate your body’s pH balance to keep invading bacteria and illnesses at bay. They regulate salt and potassium and they create hormones to both keep your blood pressure normal and govern the production of your red blood cells.
Another one of their many jobs is that of activating a type of Vitamin D to help your body in the absorption of calcium so your bones remain strong and your muscle function is regulated.
Keeping your kidneys healthy keeps you healthy.
Ways to help your kidneys function at peak performance
- Maintain healthy activity – regular exercise lowers the risk of kidney problems, reduces blood pressure, and is good for your heart as well as your kidneys.
- Lower blood sugar levels – diabetics especially need to reduce the levels of glucose in their bodies as when the kidneys have to work harder to filter the blood, this overexertion can lead to kidney damage. Ways of lowering blood sugar levels include eating less sugar and fewer carbs, increasing fiber in our diets, staying hydrated, controlling our weight and stress levels, and getting enough sleep.
- Stop smoking – smoking causes damage to your blood vessels leading to slower blood flow to your kidneys.
- Reduce your use of OTC pain meds – regular use of NSAIDS such as ibuprofen and naproxen can damage your kidneys.
Supplements that help your kidneys function
Used with a healthy diet, the following supplements suggested by the National Kidney Foundation will help your kidneys stay healthy:
- Alpha Lipoic Acid is an antioxidant that has been shown to help one of the side effects of kidney issues, cardiovascular disease.
- Andrographis, an herb, shows potential for reducing alcohol toxicity to the kidneys.
- Moringa, in animal studies, helps to protect against the harmful properties of acetaminophen.
- NAC, or N-acetylcysteine, glutathione’s precursor, reduces oxidative stress.
- Potassium is a supplement in which most of us are deficient.
- Probiotics, specifically human-strain ones, help the body process foods, thus causing fewer toxins to be eliminated via the kidneys.
- Resveratrol protects the kidneys from injury caused by drugs, diabetic neuropathy and elevated levels of uric acid that may lead to gout.
You can find all of these supplements at a 15% discount at our Wellevate Dispensary.