Kidney health at all stages of kidney disease
A naturopathic approach to kidney disease depends on whether patients are in early stage or late stage kidney disease, or whether they are on dialysis or are post-transplant.
Early kidney disease
In early kidney disease, treatment goals may be to stop the progression of the disease and heal the damage to the kidneys. This is done by addressing risk factors like diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, and inflammation or dental disease. Well-researched supplements and plant medicines can be used to decrease protein or foaminess in the urine, and many foods can be used to protect the kidneys, increase kidney function, and decrease blood pressure if necessary.
In this stage it can also helpful to avoid foods that can be stressful or harmful to the kidneys including: fast foods which contain phosphate preservatives and esters from the fast food wrappers, artificial sweetners such as splenda and aspartame, high fructose corn syrup which is also associated with high blood pressure, hydrogenated oil, beer, distilled alcohol, grain fed meats, genetically modified corn, coffee, starfruit and parsley.
Aluminum cookware can also be avoided, soaking grains overnight to get rid them of phytates can also be helpful, and checking your personal care products such as soaps, lotions colognes and deodorants for chemicals that are toxic to the kidneys can also be helpful.
The environmental working group has a great database called “Skin Deep” where you can look up the products you use every day. For example, trichlosan, contained in many antibacterial hand-sanitizing products can be toxic to the kidneys.
In early kidney disease, maintaining adequate complete protein intake without taxing the kidneys is important, as well as balancing fluid intake with adequate urination.
Late kidney disease
In late stage kidney disease treatment goals can include: supporting the kidneys to work more efficiently, maintaining kidney function for as long as possible, limiting phosphorous to maintain bone density and encourage heart health, keeping potassium levels balanced, as well as decreasing levels of uremic toxins (substances that are usually released through urinating) through alternate routes such as the skin through sweating, or with the help of several supplements. Correcting low erythropoeitin may also help with anemia and fatigue.
For a patient on dialysis, treatment goals may include: helping to maintain the patient’s access site for dialysis, replenishing nutrients and antioxidants lost during dialysis, preventing heart disease, keeping potassium and phosphate balanced, ensuring adequate nutrition, maintaining muscle mass, maintaining or improving bone density, managing uremic toxins in the blood, addressing fatigue, preventing muscle cramps adressing restless leg syndrome, and improving sexual function.
For those on hemodialysis, additional treatment goals may be: preventing clotting in the dialysis machine which can interfere with receiving your full treatment, and staying warm during treatments.
Kidney transplant patients
For a patient post-transplant, treatment goals may include: maintaining the function of the transplanted kidney for as long as possible, limiting potassium, protecting the kidneys from the toxicity of anti-rejection drugs, cancer prevention, especially of skin cancer and lymphoma, infection prevention, decreasing stress on the digestive system, diabetes prevention, decreasing hospitalizations, and increasing quality of life.
There is an ND (Naturopathic Doctor) Dr. Jenna Henderson in Connecticut who has been a chronic renal patient herself since 1993. She has been on dialysis and has had a transplant, and is currently on dialysis post-transplant. Her practice focus is kidney disease and kidney health. She sees patients from all over the world, and can do remote visits via phone or skype as well. Visit her website – Holistic-Kidney for more information.
To learn more about Naturopathic Medicine and whether it’s a good fit for you, feel free to call Active Chiropractic Family Health Centre at 613-732-9215 to schedule a free one-on-one introductory visit with Katrina Traikov ND. Katrina runs Valley Naturopath out of Active Chiropractic Family Health Centre, on the east end of Pembroke, across from Home Depot.
Yours in health,
Katrina Traikov ND
Originally written for participants in the July 2013 Kidney Foundation fundraiser softball tournamentRelated to: dialysis . early kidney disease . kidney disease . kidney health . late kidney disease . naturopath . naturopathic medicine . transplant