Protein is important to
the body. It helps the body repair muscles and fight
disease. Protein comes mostly from meat but can also be
found in eggs, milk, nuts, beans, and other foods.
Healthy kidneys take wastes out of the blood but leave
in the protein. Impaired kidneys may fail to separate
the protein from the wastes. Avoid high protein diets
so the kidneys have
less work to do,
but be sure your daily menu includes the minimum
requirements of the essential amino acids. These are
less than what you think.
sodium is a chemical found
in salt, frozen food items, processed foods and
preserved foods. Too much Sodium can raise a person's
Blood Pressure. Avoid salt if you suffer from edema
(dropsy) or CKD. This can have grave consequences not
only on your kidneys but on your heart and blood vessels
as well. Only two to three grams of sodium chloride
daily are needed to maintain normal blood levels of
Potassium is a mineral
found naturally in many fruits and vegetables, such as
oranges, potatoes, bananas, dried fruits, dried beans
and peas, and nuts. Healthy kidneys measure potassium in
the blood and remove excess amounts. Diseased kidneys
may fail to remove excess potassium. With very poor
kidney function, high potassium levels can affect the
Avoid hot spices and chemicals added to your food and in your environment.
Your liver may no longer be able to handle them and the burden is passed on to
Smoking not only increases the risk of kidney disease, but it also
contributes to deaths from strokes and heart attacks in people with CKD.
Your kidneys have to work more when urinary volume falls
below 2/2 quarts during a 24 hour period. Make up for excessive losses of water
through perspiration by increasing your fluid intake
Avoid infections, especially of the upper respiratory tract. The antibodies
your body manufactures to fight off the infection can irritate delicate kidney
We discussed at great length what you could do to minimize your kidneys' work
load and so help them to get well. One of the points made was that infections,
especially of the upper respiratory tract, further strained weak kidneys and so
had to be avoided at all costs. The best way to do this, as we all know, is to
build up body resistance. And this brings us to the second aspect of our
program: providing your kidneys with tools for regeneration.
The first tool needed for building resistance to infection is vitamin C.
Studies have shown that vitamin C is a veritable jack-of-all-trades when it
comes to affording the body protection from disease.
Vitamin C acts as an over-all detoxifying agent, making whatever foreign
substances enter the body—from a virus to a chemical or a drug———harmless,
apparently, by simply combining with it. (Please note that even if the only
drug you take is aspirin, it will increase your need for vitamin C since the
vitamin will combine with the aspirin to detoxify it.)
Doctors have given vitamin C in massive therapeutic doses for such illnesses as
meningitis, polio, virus pneumonia and other infectious diseases with amazing
success. But massive dosing is one thing (and should only be tried under the
care of a naturopath or physician) and prevention is another.
The first step in preventing infection is to saturate the tissues with vitamin G
and then maintain them saturated with adequate daily amounts. The National
Research Council recommends a minimum of 75 mg. of vitamin C daily for the
average adult male and 70 mg. for the average female.* But illness and even
such environmental factors as contact with toxic chemicals can increase
your requirements enormously. Since very large amounts of natural
vitamin C can be taken without harm—once the tissues are saturated, the excess
is excreted—it would be a good idea to take two or three times this amount
daily and double the dose when you know you've been exposed to infections or
bad weather or if you've allowed yourself to become overtired.
*The pregnant and nursing woman should increase these amounts to 100 and 150
mg. respectively, according to NRC recommendations.
Sources of Vitamin C
The best sources of vitamin C are, as everyone knows by now, the citrus fruits:
oranges, lemons, grapefruits and limes. Those unfortunates who do not take well
to the citrus fruits will be able to find sizeable quantities of this vitamin in
the following fruits and vegetables: broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage,
cauliflower, chards, collards, endives, kale, kohlrabi, mangoes, mustard greens,
papayas, parsley, green peppers, spinach, turnip greens, watercress. The
tropical fruits, acerola cherries and guavas, are even richer than the citrus
fruits in vitamin C. Rose hips are also a very good source.
The best way to have these fruits and vegetables is raw, either whole or,
preferably, in raw juice form. Unfortunately, most people feed most of their
vitamin C to their kitchen walls or else they spend their money on wilted or
processed foods already deficient in this vitamin. Vitamin C is very fragile.
It's easily destroyed when it comes in contact with oxygen. Its next greatest
enemy is heat. For example, 100 gms. of kale, a high vitamin C food, contains
115 mg. of vitamin C in its fresh, raw state. After it's been cooked it contains
only 51 mg. This is true of the other vitamin C foods. From 50% to 60% of their
C value can be lost by cooking or lack of refrigeration. The terrible habit
housewives have of squeezing orange juice hours before it's to be drunk may very
well be responsible for more colds than there is tea in china. Besides fighting
off viruses, drugs and chemicals, vitamin C also helps the body utilize certain
other nutrients. Calcium, for example, is not used properly in the calcification
of bone when there is a vitamin C deficiency. However, even more important to us
at this moment is that vitamin C (ascorbic acid), because it is an acid,
enhances the body's absorption of iron. This leads us to the next phase of our
regenerating program: the correction of anemia (apparent or hidden) which is
nearly always part of the clinical picture in kidney disorders.
Impaired kidneys and anemia generally go hand in hand in an unfortunate vicious
cycle. Apparently, autointoxication due to the chronic retention of nitrogen
products (i.e., protein end-products) causes a lessening in bone marrow
function. Since the bone marrow is in charge of manufacturing the red blood
cells, anemia results.
Now, no part of the body—from the most vital organ to the minutest cell— can
function without oxygen. An inadequate oxygen supply means cell suffocation
and cell death. This is precisely what happens when you are anemic for you lack
an adequate supply of the oxygen-bearing red blood cells. (Naturally, the
greater the degree of anemia, the greater the degree of cell suffocation.)
Without these red blood cells, no oxygen is carried from your lungs to any part
of your body —your kidneys included. You can well see why correcting anemia is a
giant step towards regenerating your kidneys.
You will have taken the first step in correcting anemia when you minimize
autointoxication by restricting your protein intake. This may sound paradoxical
to you: you have been hearing for years that a high protein diet is a "must" to
build up anemic persons. In the case of kidney disorders, it is not. Protein
restriction will do more towards controlling anemia than a high protein diet,
provided your protein intake does not fall below the minimum amount needed to
maintain protein balance. If your protein intake consistently falls below this
minimum, you will aggravate your anemic condition by causing excessive body
You will take a second step in correcting anemia by eliminating
gastrointestinal edema (dropsy) which interferes with your body's absorption of
nutrients. Salt restriction, as we discussed before, is one way to prevent the
formation of edema. But certain fluids act as diuretics; that is, they help your
body eliminate edema. One of these fluids is, of all things, water. "Water," say
Drs. Stieglitz and Kimble, "is the safest, most effective and least expensive
Certain fruit juices, primarily the citrus fruit juices, also have the same
diuretic effect but, besides, have other advantages: by drinking plenty of the
citrus juices, not only will you help your body eliminate edematous fluids, but
at the same time you will be helping meet your liquid requirements as well as
your vitamin C requirements. Furthermore, this same vitamin C will help your
body absorb iron and so is doubly effective in correcting anemia which may also
be caused by a deficiency in iron.
As a matter of fact, in the face of kidney ailments, it is quite likely that
the accompanying anemia is not only caused by autointoxication, but also by
multiple nutritional deficiencies brought on by a chronically poor appetite
(also a part of the vicious cycle).
You will take a third step in correcting anemia if you make sure your diet
contains abundant amounts of iron, vitamin Ei2, folic acid, niacin, vitamin Be
and copper, deficiencies of which can lead to one form or another of anemia. To
this this list you can also add cobalt. Recent evidence seems to show that
cobalt is especially effective in treating anemia in chronic kidney disease by
stimulating red blood cell production.
Brewers' yeast, wheat germ and germ oil, whole wheat, blackstrap molasses, des-sicated
liver or liver extract, eggs, green leafy vegetables, royal jelly are all very
good sources of these nutrients. However, if your appetite is poor, it is a
good idea to supplement your no doubt inadequate diet with some natural vitamin
and mineral tablets containing these elements.
Facilitate Iron Absorption
One more word about iron metabolism. As was said, iron absorption is enhanced
by vitamin C but, on the other hand, seems to be diminished in the presence of
foods. Some investigators believe that it's just the actual food bulk, taken
simultaneously with the iron, which lowers the body's efficiency in absorbing
this element (possibly because its energy is thus diverted to other purposes?)
Other investigators believe that certain foods— such as the refined
carbohydrates— stimulate the flow of alkaline juices and so lower the absorption
of iron since it needs an acid medium to be absorbed properly. That
pinch-of-soda habit for your "acid indigestion" lessens the natural acidity of
your gastric juices and so can hinder your body's iron absorption. Peptic ulcer
sufferers who have been prescribed antacids for their condition may also be in
the same boat.
If you want your body to utilize its iron intake most efficiently, then, it
would be best to take your iron food or iron supplement—say brewers' yeast or
wheat germ or turnip greens or an iron tablet—with a glass of orange juice
between meals rather than with meals.
Obviously, whatever affects your body will, in the long run, have an effect on
your kidneys. However, your kidneys will be affected more directly when certain
nutrients are missing or inadequately supplied in your diet though the
effects may not be seen immediately. (Remember your kidneys started off with a
capacity 400% above their normal work load.)
For example, rats fed a diet deficient in the essential unsaturated fatty acids
died an early death. On autopsy it was found that 100% of them had damaged
Unfortunately, in this day of margarine and hydrogenated fats and oils, a
deficiency of essential fatty acids is probably not as rare as we would like to
believe. The chief sources of these fatty acids are the natural vegetable oils:
cottonseed, corn and soya oils are the best. Olive oil is also a good source.
But, nowadays, nearly all vegetable oils are hydrogenated, losing most of
their essential fatty acid content. Animal fats contain even less. So the list
of good sources is getting ever shorter and if hydrogenation— which, along with
"swept-wing" cars, seems to be the fashion—continues on at the present pace, we
soon may be forced to rely on a dietary supplement to provide our needs.
Meanwhile, while the supply of unhydrogenated vegetable oils still lasts, add
one or two tablespoons daily to your salads. You will be doing your kidneys a
In connection with this, a recent study made of the dietary habits of the people
in three different regions of Yugoslavia suggests the possible role of the
unsatur-ated fatty acids in maintaining your blood vessels healthy. (High blood
pressure, as you know, is another part of the vicious cycle in most forms of
kidney ailments.) Dr. Josef Brozek and his aides found that the first group
which had a high animal fat intake, had the highest blood cholesterol levels;
the second group which had the lowest fat intake of the three, had the second
highest blood cholesterol levels; while the third group, which consumed most of
their fat calories in the form of olive oil, had the lowest blood cholesterol
Importance of Cholin
Another nutrient which probably affects your kidneys directly is cholin. A
cholin deficiency can produce severe hemorrhages in the kidneys as well
as high blood pressure. Though most of the evidence collected has been from
animal experiments and so cannot be applied directly to humans, it's still very
likely that under similar circumstances similar conditions will be produced in
humans. The upward incidence of heart and artery disease and kidney disorders
in the United States helps to bear out this assumption.
Lecithin, found in soy bean oil, contains both cholin and essential fatty acids
and so could well be part of a diet to regenerate your kidneys.
A deficiency in pantothenic acid—as well as other members of the vitamin B
complex—has also been found to cause kidney degeneration in animals.
Furthermore, studies of well-nourished humans given panthothenic acid, showed
that it apparently bolstered their ability to withstand stress. Since any type
of ailment, whether of the kidneys or not, subjects your body to stress, you
would be insuring yourself against trouble if your daily intake of pantothenic
acid were higher than what is considered
peacan and berries are rich source of choline
"normal," i.e., above 5 mg. One of the richest sources of pantothenic acid is royal jelly, that amazing
food of the Queen Bee. (The reader is referred to "The Royal Jelly Miracle" by
this publisher.) Other excellent sources are brewers' yeast and liver.