Two Parts:Detoxifying Your DietExploring Alternative Medicine

In this fast buzzing, stress-filled life we are exposed to a variety of toxins. Unhealthy indulgences in the form of fast food, stimulants like caffeine drinks and partying are things that keep us humans going to survive the pace with which our life is progressing. And who really bears the brunt of excreting these toxins out of our system? A pair of bean shaped organs lying in one corner of the abdominal cavity. They work day and night, 24/7 to filter out these harmful toxins. When the load of toxins gets too much for these poor little kidneys to handle, their functioning slows down, making one susceptible to kidney stones, infections, cysts, tumours and finally a shut down. If you're looking to give these guys a break, start with Step 1 below.

Part 1 of 2: Detoxifying Your Diet

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    Drink lots and lots of water. The most important thing for a regular kidney detox is to have a high intake of natural, clean water. Having 10 -12 glasses of water per day helps to filter out the accumulated toxins. A good indication of this would be passing clear urine which is not very strong smelling. If the urine is anything deeper than a pale yellow, it means that it is concentrated. Passing clear urine is an indication of a clean filtering system.[1] Fluids in the form of colas, coffees and aerated drinks are not a good substitute for natural water.

    • Different teas and juices have been advocated for the detoxification of kidneys, this is true. However, medically, it is only pure clean water that has been proven to help your kidneys. It is true that different teas and juices can have helpful substances such as vitamins and minerals. However, these also contain high concentrations of caffeine or sugar which can also be detrimental to your kidneys. Remember that water is still the best.
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    Fill up on fruit. Fruits and vegetables that are rich in potassium aid in cleansing the kidneys. Citrus fruits like grapes, sweet lime, oranges, cantaloupes, bananas, kiwis, apricots and prunes are all rich sources of potassium.[2] Milk and yogurt are another good source of potassium, too.

    • Including these fruits in your daily diet helps maintain the level of electrolytes in your blood which then keeps the kidney functioning at its optimum. A glass of grape juice consumed daily in the morning or afternoon is known to clear the build up of excess uric acid, a by product of kidney filtration.
    • One must have a balanced intake of potassium rich food. Excessive intake of potassium can lead to a condition known as hyperkalemia which can prove fatal and cause a cardiac arrest. People who have kidney problems like kidney failure cannot have too much potassium. A healthy person is allowed to have up to 4.7 grams of potassium per day.[3]
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    Don't forget the berries! Berries like cranberries help in cleansing the kidney. Cranberries contain a nutrient called quinine which converts itself into hippuric acid through a series of metabolic changes in the liver. Hippuric acid clears the excess buildup of urea and uric acid in the kidneys. A cupful of cranberries is enough to cleanse the kidney each day.[4]

    • Scientific studies have proven that cranberry is also very useful in treating as preventing urinary tract infections as it as an anti-bacterial.[5]
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    Incorporate more barley into your diet. Barley is another excellent grain that is used to cleanse as well as to prevent damage happening in the kidney due to uncontrolled diabetes. Note that barley is not a cure, but just an adjunct along with other methods to maintain optimum functioning of the kidneys. Barley is a whole grain, and substituting barley flour in place of refined flours is a good way of including barley in your diet.

    • Another way to get more barley is to soak a handful of barley in water at night and drink the same water first thing in the morning. This cleanses and repairs the build up of kidney toxins.[6] It has also been seen that regular consumption of barley helps in maintaining the creatinine levels, or bringing it down to normal in the case of diabetics.[7]
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    Keep away from things like alcohol, caffeine, and chocolate. Though scientists still argue about this, the possible list of things to avoid includes alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, nuts, and processed foods.[8] These are not so much recommended to be avoided because they're bad for your kidneys, but that they can have adverse reactions in your body overall. Regardless of whether you're detoxifying or not, it's a good idea to limit your intake of all these things.

    • However, do know that studies show no conclusive evidence that supports the claim that these should be avoided when it comes to your kidneys. Up to now, there is no final conclusion when it comes to this subject matter.
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    Avoid protein. The only kind of food that has been proven to be detrimental to the kidneys is high-protein foods. Not often you hear that, huh? Turns out they are harmful because their digestion and metabolism produce the highest amount of waste by-products. This waste by-product is called creatinine. and is the main reason why creatinine is being measured in patients with kidney disease. If the creatinine levels go up, then there must be a problem in the filtering and eliminating function of the kidney. For this reason, to keep your creatinine down, eat less protein.

    • For adults with a kidney disease such as chronic renal failure, it is recommended to limit the daily protein intake to only 0.8 gram per kg body weight per day. This is according to the KDOQI (National Kidney Foundation Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative) Clinical Practice Guidelines and Clinical Practice Recommendations for Diabetes and Chronic Kidney Disease. So for the usual 60-kg adult male, only 48 grams of protein is allowed per day. This is roughly equivalent to only one slice of pork chop and one slice of cheese!
    • Talk to your doctor about this beforehand. Protein is a very important element of your diet and should not be avoided for most individuals.


Part 2 of 2: Exploring Alternative Medicine

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    Try dandelion. Dandelion is a herb which is used as a food additive in various preparations like salads, dressings, teas, coffees and chocolates. Dandelion is rich in potassium and has a diuretic-like action, meaning it helps clear away excess water from the body. Hence, its very useful in increasing the urinary output.

    • As a cleansing agent, taking about 10-15 drops of dandelion mother tincture 3 times a day is useful to detox the kidneys and can be safely continued for up to 6 months.[9]
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    Experiment with uva ursi or Bear’s grape. This is an excellent natural supplement for kidney detox. It helps to repair the inflammation and injury caused to the tissues in the kidney as a result of infections or stones. It contains a glycoside known as arbutin which has anti-microbial properties, thereby helping in treating urinary tract infections.

    • There's more! It also has a muscle relaxant-like action which helps to bring down the swelling in the urinary tract or muscles. It neutralises the acidic content of the urine thereby alleviating the burning pain caused due to infections.
    • It is generally safe to have this supplement, however a word of caution for patients who are on anti psychotic drugs like lithium. Uva ursi can interfere with the way the body gets rid of lithium and this could lead to a high level of lithium in the blood which can be toxic or fatal.[10] Hence, people with any other co-morbidities must be careful before employing Uva ursi in detoxing their kidneys.
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    Consider using gokshura. This is an Ayurvedic supplement which boosts kidney health and is beneficial to those who suffer from recurrent urinary tract infections as well as recurrent renal stones. It helps in maintaining the flow of urine and also cools and soothes the urinary membranes there by relieving the pain. Along with it, it also possesses antibiotic properties and takes care of bladder infections.

    • A capsule of Gokshura can be consumed once or twice a day to maintain renal fuction.[11]
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    Look into using European barberry. This is an age old supplement known to flush out renal stones. In homeopathy, a mother tincture prepared from this herb, known as Berberis Vulgaris, has relieved umpteen patients from renal colic and has saved them from going under the knife. However, the size of the stones should be smaller than the diameter of urethra, otherwise a bigger stone can harm the epithelium of the urethra when it attempts to come out.[12]

    • 10-15 drops of the mother tincture mixed with a little water taken three times a day often flushes out the stones within a few weeks.
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    Always talk to your doctor before taking alternative medicines. This detox is not for people in poor health. It's not a balanced diet, it's not sustainable, and it has to be done correctly. What's more, certain supplements may not be good for you. To do this the most effective way, talk to a health professional.

    • Certain medicines that you are on for your blood pressure or diabetes could interfere with these diets and wreak havoc on the kidneys. Hence when on certain medications, you should be cautious. For example, the anti-hypertensive group of drugs like ACE inhibitors, with trade names like ramipril, lisinopril, benazipril, etc., increase the level of potassium in the blood. Along with this if you have a high potassium diet, it can lead to a significantly high level of potassium in the blood which can be fatal. Patients who have abnormal creatinines level should refrain from diet which is very high in protein.
    • Thus, the maximum benefit of a kidney detox programme can be attained by people who are otherwise healthy, but have a history of recurrent urinary tract infections or kidney stones.

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