Liver meridians, points to access to promote healing

My 83 yr old mom had liver health issues after working for more than 18 years as a caregiver for bay area seniors. With yellowing skin, itchy and so fragile, we use holistic means to promote wellness while she finished her antibiotics.

We had a former senior with kidney issues that loves our foot massage. Liver and kidneys do well with foot massage. Our caregiving service includes massage, hugs and gourmet healthy meals.

Text 408-854-1883 if you need a loving caregiver and holistic home care.

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Natural Medicine and Kidney Disease

Natural Medicine and Kidney Disease

Naturopathic Newsletters
from Dr. Jared Hanson N.D., L.Ac.
Natural Medicine and Kidney Disease: An Interview with Dr. Jenna Henderson

Dr. Henderson is interviewed by New York City naturopathic doctor, Jared Hanson. 

Q: This is the first of what I hope will be many in a series of interviews with experts in natural or alternative medicine. Dr. Jenna Henderson N.D. is a naturopathic physician and an expert in the holistic approach to kidney health. Information on natural approaches to kidney disease is incredibly valuable and unfortunately it can be hard to find.
What role do you think natural medicine should play in the treatment of kidney disease?

Dr. Jenna C. Henderson: Having seen natural medicine and mainstream medicine close up in dealing with kidney disease, I think there is a lot the natural medicine can offer patients that they can’t find anywhere else. For those in an early stage of kidney disease, we can bring their bodies back into balance. And for those in a later stage with severely compromised kidneys, we can keep their kidney function going with a maintenance regimen. Natural medicine has the tools to control blood pressure, inflammation and cholesterol and improve kidney function– and all of it without the dangerous side effects of prescription drugs.

Q: So let’s look at someone in an early stage, if they’ve just been diagnosed with kidney disease. Are there specific steps that you would recommend?

Dr. Jenna C. Henderson: In the early stage of kidney disease there is some damage to the nephrons or filtering units, but the kidneys are still able to clean the blood thoroughly. As long as the creatinine is under 1.3 your function is still pretty good.

First get to the bottom of what’s causing the kidney damage. If it’s diabetes, get it under control. If it’s hypertension, control that. If it is one of the inflammatory kidney diseases such as IgA nephropathy, Focal Sclerosis or Minimal Changec– bring down the inflammation.

For the Type 2 diabetic change their lifestyle and lose weight. The addition of some supplements for glycemic control can help too.

With high blood pressure it is important to take medications on a regular basis. Even one skipped dose can be damaging. Of course, I prefer a natural approach with stress management and botanicals. The prescription drugs can cause erectile dysfunction in males and a loss of desire in females. Many of them will weaken the heart over time.

When the kidneys are inflamed there is a loss of protein in the urine. The urine looks foamy when this happens. It is easy to know if what you’re doing to reduce inflammation is working because the urine will be less visibly foamy. Adopt a diet that has many fresh fruits and vegetables and avoid saturated fat and fried foods. Natural anti-inflammatories will make a world of difference – quercetin, bromelain and fish oil will make the urine visibly less foamy.

And from the Eastern perspective do the things that preserve kidney chi and bring you into balance. Get plenty of sleep – at night. This is especially important but hard as many kidney patients deal with insomnia and they are awake all night and sleep during the day. Acupuncture can help and sunlight during the morning hours can reset the body’s internal time clock.

Q: How do the recommendations change for those with more advanced disease, such as patients who are already on dialysis?

Dr. Jenna C. Henderson: Well it’s my hope to prevent their going on dialysis. With advanced disease I would add on to their protocol with high dose coenzyme Q10 and l-carnitine. When the kidneys have sustained damage there is a loss of functioning nephrons to filter the blood. That means that the remaining nephrons have to work harder to keep up with the body’s demands. That is called a state of hyper-filtration, when the kidneys are overworked. That is when they are most vulnerable to fail. The purpose of the coenzyme Q10 and l-carnitine is to supply energy on the cellular level to the nephrons. This will support the remaining nephrons in keeping up with the body’s demands. This approach can keep dialysis at bay for a long time, sometimes indefinitely.

If you have had diabetes, high blood pressure or nephritis for any length of time, you can bet there has been damage and your kidneys are in a state of hyper-filtration. Even if your creatinine is normal. Your kidneys are working harder and harder to keep the blood clean. When the creatinine jumps up it happens suddenly. It’s like your gas tank going from full to zero all at once, but that is how chronic kidney failure happens. It is a chronic situation that all of a sudden becomes a crisis.

When you’re on dialysis it seems like the end of the world but there are many things you can do to keep your body in optimum shape. Keep up the coenzyme Q10 and add solid hawthorne extract to protect the heart. People don’t die from uremic poisoning in this day and age, but they do die from heart failure as a complication of the kidney disease process. Also, green tea to lower the BUN and bioflavonoids to strengthen the blood vessels. If you do hemodialysis it is very hard on the blood vessels. The bioflavonoids are very important. Also eat lots of berries – safe for the dialysis diet and rich in bioflavonoids.

The dialysis diet is very restrictive, but it is important to stick with it. That means that there are a lot of nutrients in fresh fruits and vegetables that are off limits to a dialysis patient because they are high in potassium. When the kidneys fail they no longer filter out potassium and elevated levels could stop the heart. Don’t cheat on this diet, but try to make up the nutrients you are missing with supplements.

Q: When you say dialysis can be kept at bay, do you feel that there are people who are put on dialysis too early when a natural approach would be more appropriate? In your opinion, is there a possibility to come off dialysis in certain patients?

Dr. Jenna C. Henderson: No. When it’s time to go on dialysis, don’t fight it. There are some people who will use extreme protein deprivation and can delay it to some extent, but when it’s time to get on the machine, do it. There are no natural approaches that I’m aware of, and I’ve been looking at this for 15 years, that can help at that point. When the kidney function is gone or you’re left with residual function which is not enough to sustain life, it is time to get on the machine. At that point we look at natural remedies for maintaining optimum wellness.

Q: Do you have any preventative advice for the general public for protecting their kidney function? Are there any hidden threats to kidney function that you think people need to be more aware of?

Dr. Jenna C. Henderson: The most common reason people experience kidney failure is diabetes and second is high blood pressure. Early screening and consistent care can be helpful in most situations.

As far as kidney diseases that involve the immune system I believe that sunlight and Vitamin D are very important. Vitamin D plays a critical role in the function of the immune system. And these diseases are more prevalent in places with less sunlight exposure.

African Americans have these kidney problems frequently but Africans generally do not. In Northern Europe, these conditions are relatively common but in Australia it is much less so. It is a similar worldwide distribution to Multiple sclerosis – another autoimmune disease, being common where there is less sunlight. Since people in the last century have moved indoors and no longer work outside we have seen an explosion of autoimmune diseases.

So one of the best things you can do is get your kids away from the computer and doing something physical outside.

Kidney health factors by Dr Mercola

How to Prevent and Treat Kidney Problems With Food

Urine Color

Story at-a-glance

  • Poor kidney function is associated with diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Common signs of kidney problems include frequent urination, problems urinating, and constant thirst
  • Good kidney function is essential for maintaining homeostasis in your body, including your pH level and electrolyte balance; your kidneys also produce hormones that make red blood cells and regulate blood pressure
  • Most Americans consume three to five times more protein than they need, and two to four times more fructose than is safe. These two dietary factors places significant stress on your kidneys, promoting kidney disease and stones

By Dr. Mercola

Your kidneys — two bean-shaped organs — are located just below your rib cage one on either side of your spine. Positioned on top of each kidney are your adrenal glands. Each day, your kidneys filter up to 150 quarts of blood and flush out waste products through your urine.

One of the reasons why you need to drink enough water is to ensure healthy kidney function. In fact, chronic low-grade dehydration is one of the most common causes of kidney stones.

Poor kidney function is also associated with a number of other serious health problems, including diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Common signs of kidney problems include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Problems urinating
  • Pain or burning sensation during urination
  • Constant thirst

Good kidney function1 is essential for maintaining homeostasis in your body, starting with the composition of your blood. For example, your kidneys are responsible for maintaining proper pH level and electrolyte balance (the ratios of sodium, potassium and phosphates).

They also produce hormones that make red blood cells, and those that help regulate your blood pressure.

Dietary Factors That Threaten Kidney Health

Waste products removed by your kidneys and eliminated through your urine include urea and uric acid, produced from the breakdown of proteins and nucleic acids respectively.

Excessive protein intake increases urea, while uric acid is a byproduct of both protein and fructose metabolism. Fructose typically increases uric acid within minutes of ingestion.

I became fully aware of the dramatic and devastating impact fructose has on your uric acid levels when I interviewed Dr. Richard Johnson on this topic.

Most Americans consume three to five times more protein than they need, and two to four times (or more) fructose than is considered safe. These two dietary factors, alone and especially in combination, places significant stress on your kidneys and promote kidney disease and kidney stones.

Kidney stones are particularly linked to a diet high in processed fructose and other sugars, as sugar upsets the mineral relationships in your body by interfering with calcium and magnesium absorption. The phosphorus acid in soda also acidifies your urine, which promotes stone formation.

Analgesic drugs are also known to damage your kidneys when taken in excess, and/or over long periods of time. This includes aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen — especially when taken in combination with alcohol, even if the amount of alcohol is small.

Research2,3 shows that combining alcohol with acetaminophen raises your risk of kidney damage by 123 percent, compared to taking either of them individually. Long term alcohol consumption and smoking also take their toll on kidney function.

3 Dietary Keys to Protect Kidney Function

To protect your kidney function, keep the following three basic factors in mind:

Restrict protein to just what your body needs. An ideal protein intake is likely around one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass, which for most is 40 to 70 grams a day.

The American Kidney Fund recommends restricting protein to a maximum of 50 grams if you have kidney disease4

Restrict fructose to 25 grams per day (about 6 teaspoons), or less (especially if you’re insulin/leptin resistant)

Drink pure, clean water. Simply swapping out sweetened beverages like sodas and fruit juices for pure water can go a long way toward improving your kidney function and overall health.

The best way to gauge your water needs is to observe the color of your urine (it should be light pale yellow) and the frequency of your bathroom visits (ideally, this is around seven to eight times per day).

How to Calculate Your Protein Requirement

Considering the fact that the majority of Americans are overweight or obese, I recommend calculating your individual protein requirement based on lean bodyweight (your total weight minus your fat) only.

For optimal health, I believe most adults need about 1 gram of protein per kilogram of lean body mass (not total body weight), or 0.5 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass.

In this formula, you must first determine your lean body mass. To do that, subtract your percent body fat from 100. For example, if you have 30 percent body fat, then you have 70 percent lean body mass.

Then multiply that percentage (in this case, 0.7) by your current weight to get your lean body mass in pounds or kilos. As an example, if you weigh 170 pounds; 0.7 multiplied by 170 equals 119 pounds of lean body mass.

Using the “0.5 gram of protein” rule, you would need 59.5 or just under 60 grams of protein per day.

100 – % of body fat = % of lean mass X actual weight X 0.5 gm protein = total grams of protein recommended

Example: A 170 lb individual with 30% fat mass

100% total weight – 30% fat mass = 70 % lean mass

0.70 X 170 = 119 X 0.5 = 60 grams of protein recommended

Translating Ideal Protein Requirements Into Foods

To determine whether you’re getting too much protein, simply calculate your lean body mass as described above, then write down everything you’re eating for a few days, and calculate the amount of daily protein from all sources.

Again, you’re aiming for one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass, which would place most people in the range of 40 to 70 grams of protein per day. If you’re currently averaging a lot more than that, adjust downward accordingly.

The chart below can give you a general idea of the protein content of many foods. I personally use to enter everything I eat and carefully calculate my protein requirement to the gram.

Just be sure to enter the correct foods and amounts into the program, as the results will be inaccurate if you don’t enter the correct details.

Red meat, pork, and poultry average 6 to 9 grams of protein per ounce.

An ideal amount for most people would be a 3-ounce serving of meat (not 9 or 12 ounce steaks!), which will provide about 18 to 27 grams of protein

Eggs contain about 6 to 8 grams of protein per egg.

So an omelet made from two eggs would give you about 12 to 16 grams of protein.

If you add cheese, you need to calculate that protein in as well (check the label of your cheese)

Seeds and nuts contain on average 4 to 8 grams of protein per quarter cup Cooked beans average about 7 to 8 grams per half cup
Cooked grains average about 5 to 7 grams per cup Most vegetables contain about 1 to 2 grams of protein per ounce

Interestingly, while fish is typically considered a good source of protein, most fish contain only HALF of the protein found in beef and chicken. The reduced protein content in fish may actually be one reason why the Mediterranean diet is linked to life extension and reduced risk for chronic disease.5 In essence, those who eat more fish than red meat are automatically getting far less protein.

Other Dietary Dos and Don’ts If You Have Kidney Disease and/or Stones

If you have kidney disease, you also need to reduce consumption of foods rich in phosphorous, as they may promote the formation of kidney stones. On the other hand, if you have problems urinating but don’t yet have kidney disease, try adding more potassium-rich foods (primarily vegetables and seeds) to your diet. Depending on the type of kidney stone you have, you may also need to modify your diet in other ways:

Struvite stones: Found more often in women, these are almost always the result of urinary tract infections

Cystine stones: Represent a very small percentage of kidney stones. These are the result of a hereditary disorder that causes your kidneys to excrete massive amounts of certain amino acids (cystinuria)

Uric acid stones: These are a byproduct of protein and fructose metabolism, and are commonly seen with gout. Cutting your protein and fructose consumption is essential for preventing and treating these types of stones. Taking potassium citrate (which lowers urine acidity and reduces urine excretion of calcium) may also help prevent uric acid stones6

Calcium oxalate stones:7 These are the most common. About 80 percent of kidney stones are calcium based, and about 80 percent of those are calcium oxalate stones. Typically, they are the result of insufficient water intake and dietary factors, including excessive oxalate, protein, and processed salt consumption

Oxalate is found in some fruits and vegetables, but your liver produces most of your oxalate. If you are found to have oxalate stones, your physician may recommend avoiding oxalate-rich foods. Also, make sure you’re getting enough magnesium, as magnesium helps prevent calcium from combining with oxalate to form stones8

If you have calcium oxalate stones, rather than reducing your calcium intake you’ll want to minimize the amount of oxalates in your body. Soy and beer are two primary culprits that should be avoided. For reasons that are unclear, grapefruit juice has been shown to increase the risk of kidney stones9 and is therefore best avoided. Other foods that contain high levels of oxalate10 that you’ll want toavoid if you have calcium oxalate kidney stones include:

Spinach Rhubarb Chocolate
Parsley Beetroot Most legumes,11 including green beans
Wheat and other grain-based flours12 Pepper Nuts13

Potassium and Kidney Health

Potassium is a nutrient that receives a great deal of attention when you have kidney disease. On the one hand, potassium (a mineral and electrolyte) is essential for your cells, tissues, and organs to function properly. It plays a vital role in heart health, digestive, and muscular function, bone health, and more.

While potassium is found in many foods commonly consumed in the U.S. — including fruits, vegetables, dairy products, salmon, sardines, and nuts — only 2 percent of U.S. adults get the recommended daily amount of 4,700 milligrams (mg).

This can be problematic because potassium needs to be kept in proper balance with sodium in your blood. If you consume too much sodium, which is common if you eat many processed foods, you’ll have an increased need for potassium. Others who are at particular risk of low potassium (hypokalemia) are those with chronic malabsorption syndromes, such as Crohn’s disease, or those taking heart medicine (particularly loop diuretics).

However, anyone who eats a poor diet — an excess of processed foods and not enough fresh, whole foods — is potentially at risk of inadequate potassium levels.

All of that said, if you have severe kidney impairment, you typically need to restrict your intake of high-potassium foods.14 Why? Because your kidneys are responsible for maintaining the proper amount of potassium in your body, and when they’re not working well, your levels could become excessively elevated.

Potassium helps maintain a regular heart rhythm and plays a role in muscle function, and when your potassium level gets too high, it can lead to irregular heartbeat and/or a heart attack.

Recommended Potassium Intake Varies Depending on the Health of Your Kidneys

If your kidneys are working well, the recommended amount of potassium is about 4,700 mg per day,15 which also needs to be balanced with sodium. As a general rule, your potassium to sodium ratio should be around 5:1. The easiest way to achieve this ratio is to eat REAL food (lots of fresh vegetables), ideally organically and locally grown to ensure optimal nutrient content.

This type of whole food diet will naturally provide much larger amounts of potassium in relation to sodium, whereas a processed food diet is virtually guaranteed to provide you with an upside-down ratio. Juicing your vegetables is a good way to ensure you’re getting enough potassium.

If you have kidney disease, you need to pay careful attention to your potassium level and dietary intake. Most who are being treated for kidney disease will monitor their potassium level by measuring it monthly, and potassium- restricted diets typically recommend keeping potassium intake to about 2,000 mg per day.

Kidney-Friendly Superfoods

Besides monitoring your protein and sugar/fructose intake and drinking plenty of water, adding the following foods to your diet can also help promote optimal kidney function.16,17,18,19,20

Red bell peppers: low in potassium, rich in vitamins A, B6, C, folic acid and fiber Cherries: rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals
Cabbage: low in potassium, rich in vitamins C and K, and fiber, and phytochemicals that protect against free radical damage Red and purple grapes: rich in antioxidants; the skin is particularly rich in resveratrol
Cauliflower: high in vitamin C, folate and fiber Watermelon: rich in water, with diuretic properties, allowing you to produce more urine to flush out toxins
Garlic: antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-clotting properties Lemon juice: helps reduce kidney stone formation
Onion: low in potassium, rich in antioxidants, particularly quercetin, which has natural antihistamine properties Pumpkin seeds: rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, especially magnesium, which helps reduce the risk of kidney stones
Apples: high in fiber, antioxidants, and anti- inflammatory compounds. Raw organic apple cider vinegar is helpful for the prevention of kidney stones Kale: lower in potassium, good source of vitamins A and C, rich in iron — the latter of which is important for kidney health. Many with kidney disease are also iron deficient21
Berries,22 including blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries Sweet potatoes: rich in beta-carotene, vitamins A and C, and fiber, and a good source of B6 and potassium

Herbal Kidney Cleansers

A number of herbs also have kidney-cleansing properties, including the following:

Ginger: purifies the blood and kidneys of toxins Red clover: diuretic that stimulates waste removal from the kidneys
Turmeric: has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that help prevent and treat kidney infections and inflammation Chanca Piedra: Used in South America to break up kidney stones (its Spanish name actually means “stone breaker”)
Dandelion: a natural diuretic that helps strengthen the kidneys and soothe urinary tract problems Hydrangea root: Native American remedy for kidney stones
Nettle: natural diuretic that helps purify blood and treat urinary tract infections; also high in iron, making it beneficial for building blood Uva ursi root: helps treat urinary and bladder problems
Marshmallow root: natural diuretic that helps treat urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and bladder infections Gravel root (Joe-Pye weed): Indian remedy for urinary tract and kidney health
Juniper: improves kidney function and helps treat urinary tract infections and kidney and/or bladder stones.

Avoid juniper berry if you have a kidney infection and/or are pregnant. Also don’t take continuously for more than four weeks

Goldenrod root: Native American remedy traditionally used to support urinary tract and kidney health
Yarrow root: a natural diuretic with antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties; helpful for urinary tract infections

Healing your kidneys – Dr Mercola

I have a  senior client in his 90s who has only 20% of his kidneys working and was taking so many meds and he has a hospice nurse. He has Kaiser as his health insurance. And they pay our caregivers from their pocket, a heavy burden for most families. In home care for chronic disease is not free in the USA. My caregivers charges more than $200 for live in non medical home assistance and care monitoring. We add value to our service with massage, daily monitoring of caregivers and clients , light housekeeping, shopping, cooking and more.

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