Chronic Kidney Disease by Dr. Graeme Shaw MD
From an Eastern Medicine perspective, Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is often the result of abnormalities in a person’s kidney and spleen energy. The signs of kidney dysfunction can include CKD, high creatinine levels or proteinuria (urinary levels of excess serum protein) and those concerned about this will find many healthy food recommendations that a licensed dietition can recommend from a nutritional perspective. Along with good lifestyle and nutrition recommendations I provide the Eastern Medicine perspective in this article.
Eastern Medicine & Organ Energy
The way your kidneys function and overall kidney health can be related to kidney and spleen energy in the following ways:
1. Kidney energy is believed to control the kidney, fluid balance, cellular energy, heart function, cellular detoxification and elimination of toxins. Kidney energy is vital to cellular elimination, detoxification of toxins through the kidney, and to cellular uptake of nutrients, immune defense and cellular vitality. Abnormal kidney energy is also implicated in changes of blood pressure and diabetes, which are two important causes of CKD.
2. Spleen energy controls absorption, nutrition, allergies, autoimmunity and detoxification. Spleen energy is often adversely affected by chemicals and pollution, so it’s not surprising that there is an ever increasing incidence of allergies, autoimmune disease and nutritional deficiencies in our population. Spleen energy is also involved in Phase I liver detoxification – the initial processing of toxins by the liver. Spleen energy can be weakened by emotions, particularly anxiety and worry.
Though kidney disease can be caused by viral infections, autoimmune disease and toxicity, kidney disease is most often the result of hypertension and diabetes. The National Institute of Health states that, “Millions of Americans are at risk of developing CKD because they have diabetes, high blood pressure, or both”. The growing prevalence of these conditions in our society makes it even more important for those concerned with kidney dysfunctions such as high createinine, proteinuria, CKD, kidney disease, glomerulonephritis or diabetic nephropathy to naturally support and balance kidney and spleen energies.
The Role of Nutrition in Kidney Health
We really are what we eat. Better nutrition can be very helpful to support your body’s ability to reverse illness. The fresher and more natural the food, the more nutritional value it has. Processed and packaged food contains potentially harmful preservatives, added chemicals, and loses more nutritional value through cooking.
You can prevent or delay health problems from chronic kidney disease (CKD) by eating the right foods and avoiding foods high in phosphorus, potassium, and sodium according to the National Institute of Health. Fresh food, especially fruits, vegetables and healthy sources of protein like chicken, turkey, small fish, tofu, etc. are always recommended for my patients dealing with energy or health issues. However, eating too much protein can also burden the kidneys and speed up the progression of chronic kidney disease, leading to problems such as proteinuria. So moderation is important. Generally, the three worst categories I caution my patients about consuming, are foods that contain refined sugars, grains and dairy, all of which can increase inflammation, sugar imbalances and autoimmune disease.
Lifestyle Affects Organ Energy
Lifestyle changes can dramatically affect spleen energy. Drinking plenty of fluids, exercising, a healthy diet and adequate sleep make a big difference along with stress management, especially decreasing how much you worry. When you think about it logically, worrying never really resolves anything and can actually add to your stress level. Unfortunately, it’s a habit that many of us have.
Seafood and fish among several others are particularly good foods for kidney energy. I advocate my patients moderate their consumption of larger fish such as tuna, swordfish, etc. considering the increasing levels of mercury, arsenic and other heavy metals in seafood. As for salt, to stimulate kidney energy, I usually recommend using only natural sources of salt (like sea salt) in moderation. The recommended quantity of salt varies depending on diet, sex, and health factors.
Fear and insecurity are things we’re all subject to these days, the controlling of which is the biggest factor for maintaining healthy kidney energy.
There are myriad ways to benefit from stress reduction techniques. Exercise can be both relaxing and energizing. Whether they are related to diet, lack of exercise or negative emotions, the problem with imbalances and deficiencies of energy is that they result in decreased function of organs like the kidneys.
Naturally Enhancing Organ Energy
Much of what we do in natural medicine attempts to improve the energy in organs and cells. The herbs contained in Get Well Natural’s Kidney Well II, Phyto Antioxidant, Cardio Well and Metabo Well products, and many other combinations of herbs and nutrients are used to enhance kidney function and both kidney and spleen energy. Other supportive nutrients for healthy function are probiotics, enzymes, antioxidants, minerals, CoEnzyme Q10, essential fatty acids, and other kidney and spleen herbal tonics.
We often examine and treat organ disorders without an interest or awareness of all the organs and factors that may interact with the diseased organ, in Western Medicine.For example, Western doctors rarely pay much interest to the digestive function when evaluating kidney disease.
Being particularly good at identifying and treating the underlying cause of chronic disease is one of the things I appreciate most about Eastern Medicine. They do this by looking at a person’s organ balance or imbalance, lifestyle, environment, diet, etc.
For ultimate kidney health, I implement this integrative philosophy by advising my patients to look at factors such as stress levels, exercise, diet, digestion and detoxification as a means to enhance their kidney function.
If you have any questions regarding the use of dietary herbal supplements to support your health call Get Well Natural at 1-888-522-HERB (4372)
*Statements in this article have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
by Dr. Graeme Shaw MD
© 2009 Get Well Natural, LLC
2.http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/NutritionLateCKD, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases