When my customers ask me “exactly where are my kidneys?”, I ask them to stand like little tin soldiers with their fists at their back. In fact, they are about the size of your fists and are rather bean-shaped, one on each side of your lower back. They filter wastes from the blood at the rate of about a half cup of blood every hour, filtering the complete contents of your entire blood supply about 40 times each day. They do the filtering through around a million “nephron filters in each kidney, which remove the wastes through your urine and return needed water and needed nutrients back to the bloodstream.
The kidneys also do a couple of other things that are also important to body functions:
- They monitor and are primarily responsible for maintaining your body pH. They do this by removing the excess acids that your body produces through its normal functioning and balancing water, salts, and minerals such as sodium, potassium, phosphorus, and calcium.
- They make hormones. Some of the functions of these hormones are making red blood cells, keeping your skeleton strong and healthy, and controlling blood pressure. It is interesting to me that if you have a loved one in the hospital for evaluation of their blood pressure issues, you will probably find them in the kidney ward of the hospital. It’s the first place they look for high blood pressure issues.
In my previous blog on kidneys, I shared “We once had a test in which customers brought in saliva and urine samples to find weak body systems. The developer of that test told herbalists that upwards of 90% of our customers would find their weakest organ to be the kidney because of all the work it had to do.” I would add that the other cause is the fact that most of us do little with our kidneys in mind. If they work at all, we think they are working fine! We only notice them when we develop a problem with them, such as burning urine; dark-colored, thick, or bleeding urine, or are very painful; developing kidney stones.
So, what can we do to help keep our kidneys healthy?
- Drink adequate water. I’ve defined that in several other blogs, so I won’t belabor the point here.
- Monitor your body’s pH. Testing strips are available at almost all health food and supplement stores. If you eat properly and guard against substances that acidify your body, you’ll take a great load off the pH balancing duties of the kidneys.
- Lower your sugar intake. Sugar is among the most inflammatory substances you can put in your body. As the inflammation attacks your body it taxes the cleansing effects of the kidneys.
- Work with your medical advisors to control your blood pressure. Again, if you keep your blood pressure in a healthy range, it alleviates much stress on your kidneys.
- If you are a “big-time” salt user as most Americans are (virtually all of our many snack foods are salty), you not only increase blood pressure issues, but you cause health issues as the kidneys try to balance the excess with the nominal body needs for salt.
And where any of these issues address your concerns, consider herbal supplements to help you where lifestyle issues are not manageable for you. The herbs can help wash wastes as you move urine (diuretics), strengthen the kidneys themselves, and aid in addressing most of the issues mentioned above. Talk with your doctor, herbalist, or other health care practitioner.
Kidney issues are a major cause of premature death in America. Take care of yours – don’t take them for granted! Good health and God’s blessings!
For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.