Anyone who has had kidney stones can tell you where these kidney bean shaped organs are located (in the back on both sides above the waist) because that was the part in excruciating pain. (Which do you think had the name first, the organ or the bean?) The rest of us likely don’t think of our kidneys while they are quietly doing amazing work. As you may know, they remove wastes from our blood stream and send them to the bladder. But, they reabsorb as needed water, glucose and amino acids (protein building blocks) while they also maintain a proper ratio of electrolytes in blood stream, produce some hormones and help maintain healthful levels of blood pressure…pretty important functions.

Threats to the kidneys: Anything that can make the rest of the body sick can likely affect the kidneys. These are some commonly recognized risk factors for kidney disease: diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, toxins and infections. Dr. Richard Snyder says that use of acid-blocking heartburn drugs are hard on the kidneys. According to this scientific paper, deficiency of vitamin K2 (and therefore certain blood thinning drugs like Warfarin) is a risk factor for kidney disease. Low levels of lycopene may signal risk. Phosphorus additives in junk food are an avoidable risk. Low levels of lycopene may signal risk.

Tests of kidney function: The typical blood test panel that is given during an annual checkup looks for gross malfunction of the kidney. This website has a more complete list of tests along with explanations.

Radio Show: Richard Snyder, DO interview

Books: What You Must Know About Kidney Disease: A Practical Guide to Using Conventional and Complementary Treatments, by Richard Snyder, DO

Products: Handy and effective home water filter

Link: National Kidney Foundation

Copyright 2014 by Martie Whittekin, CCN

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