A HOLISTIC THERAPY
By Walter Last
The main functions of the kidneys are the removal of metabolic waste matter, of any toxic material and excess of water, minerals, and bio-chemicals in order to keep their blood levels within on optimal range. This is done by filtering the blood and concentrating the waste in the form of urine. In addition, the kidneys produce hormones, which affect the salt balance and red blood cell production.
A common kidney disorder is the formation of kidney stones. These are mostly composed of calcium salts and to a lesser degree of uric acid. Stones can partly block the flow of urine and this may result in infections as well as accumulation of waste matter in the blood. The passing of large stones through the urethra can be extremely painful and is called kidney colic.
Stone formation as well as bacterial infections or accumulation of toxic material may lead to acute or chronic inflammation of the kidneys, also called nephritis or Bright's disease. Symptoms are a rise in blood pressure, back pain, fatigue, being listless and loss of appetite. Later oedema may develop; one may feel dizzy and nauseated. Albumin, a protein compound, will be passed in increasing quantities with the urine.
If the condition continues to deteriorate, uraemia or renal failure develops. High concentrations of waste matter accumulate in the blood and all of the mentioned symptoms become more severe. If nothing is done about it, death will eventually occur. The conventional medical treatment is the removal of these waste materials by filtering the blood through an external membrane, a dialysis machine or artificial kidney. When the condition deteriorates still further, a kidney transplant is attempted.
The disadvantages and dangers are that dialysis takes a long time; 4 - 12 hours twice a week, and beneficial ingredients, such as zinc may be lowered while harmful ones, such as aluminium may accumulate. Kidney transplants have the major disadvantage, apart from the risk of the operation itself, that the lifelong requirement to take immune-suppressive drugs weakens the immune system and predisposes to chronic and severe infections as well as cancer.
From the point of view of natural medicine there should rarely be a need for such extreme measures, except in the case of serious accidents. Prevention as well as cure begins with two simple measures: raising the water intake and reducing the salt intake. Disregarding these basic rules is the main cause for the high incidence of kidney disease in hot climates as in Queensland.
Nephritis or Bright's Disease
Further important nutritional factors in the development of kidney disease are a high intake of protein, phosphate and calcium, a low intake of magnesium and vitamin B6, and finally, chronic inflammation due to food allergy.
Proteins are generally high in phosphorus. Therefore, by restricting the protein intake the amount of phosphate ingested or formed in the body is reduced at the same time. With a severe restriction of protein and phosphate intake, tests showed a 10 to 40 fold decrease in the progression of kidney disease and patients who would normally have required immediate commencement of dialysis could postpone this for about seven months.
A high protein and phosphate intake imposes a greatly increased workload on the kidneys. If their functions are already impaired by stone formation or inflammation, then the individual filtering units become more and more sclerotic, which means they calcify and harden through overgrowth with tough, fibrous tissue. This causes large amounts of protein to be lost with the urine while other chemicals, such as salt and uric acid remain in the body.
High phosphate levels also cause an overactivity of the parathyroid glands with a resultant rise in calcium blood levels. This may lead to decalcification of bones and to the formation of calcium deposits as with kidney stones, arteriosclerosis and arthritic deformations. It raises the blood pressure and damages the kidneys still further, in particular through calcification of the kidneys with calcium phosphate.
In addition to a high phosphate intake, a diet high in protein produces much more waste products than any other class of nutrients, especially in the form of urea, uric acid and sulphates. Compared to proteins there is hardly any residue in a properly metabolised carbohydrate or fat diet. Both produce carbon dioxide and water as end products. Therefore, with these foods there is hardly any need for dialysis.
Patients with severe renal failure should restrict their protein intake to less than 20 g and phosphorus to less than 400 mg. For children and as a maintenance diet amino acid supplements may be necessary with severe protein restrictions.
A major cause of degeneration of the kidneys is chronic inflammation, and a major cause of chronic inflammation is hidden food allergy and chemical sensitivity, these are commonly due to microbes from intestinal dysbiosis or root canal treatments. While kidney patients are hardly ever tested for food allergy in conventional medicine, in one recent test it was found that about 65% reacted positive. However, due to their high calcium and often low acidity levels, kidney patients usually show only a weak allergy response with various testing procedures. Therefore, the only reliable test is the avoidance of all suspected foods and checking kidney functions after a prolonged period of abstinence. In this way patients improved greatly.
Chronic inflammations caused by hidden food allergies as well as inflammations due to irritations caused by kidney stones both accelerate the process of kidney degeneration. In addition to avoiding the mentioned harmful influences, there are several nutrients that help to overcome inflammations.
Commonly used in natural medicine to remove infections and inflammations are vitamin C, magnesium, propolis, various herbs such as echinacea, golden seal and garlic, the anti-inflammatory protein-digesting enzyme Bromelain from pineapple and the omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils and linseed oil.
The common polyunsaturated oils from oil seeds form mainly pro-inflammatory tissue hormones, while the fish oils and the linolenic acid in linseed tend to suppress inflammations. Trials with fish oils produced significantly beneficial results in patients with kidney disease. Protein loss in the urine could be reduced by nearly 50%.
Various calcium salts are only slightly soluble and easily precipitate during the filtration process in the kidneys. They may then crystallise and combine to form kidney stones or urinary calculi. It has been estimated that about 90% of such stones contain calcium as main ingredient, mainly as phosphates and oxalates. Phosphate stones are chalky and soft while oxalate stones are small, dark and hard. Stones may also contain a mixture of both. Uric acid stones form mainly in acid urine and are yellow or black. A few stones are formed from the oxidised amino acid cystine with a waxy appearance.
A high protein diet contains a large amount of phosphate that overstimulates the parathyroids and raises the calcium blood level. This gives rise to the formation of calcium phosphate stones, especially when the urine is alkaline.
Sucrose, the common household sugar, has several negative effects. One experimentally controlled study found that sugar added to a meal will greatly increase urinary calcium as well as oxalate excretions and that both reach maximum levels together, thereby greatly increasing the possibility of precipitation.
This over-saturation of the kidneys tends to result in calcific lesions that serve as foci on which crystals begin to aggregate and start to form stones. Sugar also increases the urinary output of an enzyme that is indicative of kidney disease. Most at risk from sugar are individuals with an excessive insulin response and this includes most stone formers.
In addition, insulin levels remain permanently elevated in maturity-onset diabetics and others due to habitual sugar consumption. They are also elevated in stressed individuals as the blood glucose levels become less sensitive to insulin in the presence of high adrenalin levels. Increased insulin levels in turn elevate the blood calcium levels that then lead to an increased concentration of calcium in the urine. It has been experimentally shown that stone-formers lose up to five times the normal amount of calcium in the urine after ingesting 100 g of sucrose. In one study about 60% of habitual stone formers had an excessive insulin response to sugar. Another demonstrated effect of high sucrose and fructose consumption is a rise in blood levels of uric acid.
Vitamins, Minerals and Stimulants
Two minerals with a negative effect are sodium and cadmium. In one study stone-formers normalised their excessive calcium levels by restricting their sodium intake.
Cadmium is a heavy metal that is significantly increased in stone-formers. It causes renal tubular damage and can lead to calcific foci with increased oxalate crystallisation. A group of coppersmiths with chronic cadmium exposure had a 40% incidence of kidney stones as compared to 3.5% in the general population.
Citric acid is essential for cellular energy production. Elderly individuals and those on diets high in meat and fat have low levels of citric acid. Citric acid also prevents individual crystals of calcium salts from fusing together to form stones. Therefore, heavy meat-eaters easily become stone-formers.
In one experiment long-term supplementation with sodium citrate did not reduce stone formation while potassium citrate reduced stone formation by 86% in susceptible individuals. Citrus fruit provide a high intake of potassium citrate.
There is an antagonism between calcium and magnesium due to a common regulation through the parathyroids. Increased magnesium supply tends to lower the calcium loss and inhibits the precipitation of calcium salts in the kidneys. In two long-term studies magnesium supplementation reduced the incidence of calcium stone formation by more than 90%.
Vitamin B6 is essential for the normal metabolism of oxalic acid. A deficiency leads to accumulation of oxalic acid. In one study oxalate stone formation was reduced with 60 mg vitamin B6 daily but not with 20 mg. In another study with intakes from 75 to 600 mg of vitamin B6, supplementation with 150 mg daily was found to be optimal for oxalate reduction in the urine.
In addition, vitamin A, folic acid and zinc may help to reduce stone formation and supplementation can be of advantage. Low levels of these cause various common nutrients to form oxalic acid.
Long-term coffee drinking or caffeine in general has been shown to result in increased calcium loss. Two cups of coffee caused an additional calcium loss of 22 mg per day. In addition, with oxalate-related stones foods high in oxalic acid are best avoided, such as rhubarb, cocoa, instant coffee, spinach and tea.
Excessive tea drinking, for instance, has been blamed for the high incidence of oxalate kidney stones of the British troops in India during the Second World War. However, generally the effect of dietary oxalic acid is negligible, except if one eats much refined food. With a healthy, mainly unrefined diet most of the oxalic acid combines in the digestive tract with calcium to form insoluble calcium oxalate, which is then excreted. Only in diets low in fibre, vitamin B6 and calcium is dietary oxalate a contributing factor to stone formation.
There have been allegations that high intakes of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) may lead to the formation of oxalate kidney stones. While there is a slight elevation of oxalate in urine with mega doses, various controlled studies have not found increased stone formation. On the contrary, there are indications that the higher urine acidity from ascorbic acid helps to prevent or dissolve phosphate kidney stones. This, of course, is valid only for ascorbic acid, not for calcium or sodium ascorbate. Nevertheless, in case of uraemia or kidney failure a high vitamin C intake would contribute to the workload of the kidneys and supplements should not exceed 1 g daily.
While all proteins increase phosphorus levels to some degree, animal protein, especially from meat, has an additional detrimental effect on stone formers. In comparison to vegetarians urine excretions of calcium, oxalate and uric acid are 50 - 400% higher in non-vegetarians. The higher the intake of animal protein, the higher is the level of these stone-forming substances. Stone formers usually have the highest intakes of animal protein.
It has been calculated that the risk of stone-formation is about 6 - 700% higher in those with a high intake of animal protein as compared to vegetarians. In addition, meat is the main source of uric acid. While urate stones represent only a minority of kidney stones, elevated levels of uric acid cause calcium oxalate to precipitate and crystallise.
Use a low-allergy semi-vegetarian diet based mainly on fresh raw and steamed vegetables. The amount of animal protein as well as high-protein legumes should be determined by the condition. If it is not too serious, that is if dialysis is not required or expected, then fish may be used occasionally, also a few eggs per weak and a small to moderate amount of yoghurt or cottage cheese made of goats' milk.
However, in more serious conditions and also as temporary mild cleansing periods, avoid completely all animal protein and soybeans and use other legumes only in moderation, preferably in sprouted form. Brown rice and other non-gluten grains, cooked and raw vegetables as well as extra-virgin olive oil may provide the bulk of the energy requirement. Between and before meals have some tart or acid fruit, such as grapefruit, orange, pineapple, berries and apple. Except with low blood pressure and sensitive skin, you may also have fruit meals and fruit days.
Foods of special benefit are fresh vegetable juices, including wheat grass and other grasses and leaves with plenty of parsley and celery, also dandelion leaves if available, green beans and bean pod tea, cucumber, horseradish, lemon juice, fenugreek, watermelon and banana. If available frequently have a small amount of Jerusalem artichoke about the size of a hen's egg. Preferably go for several months on a raw vegetable and fruit diet.
We can live healthily on a diet very low in protein only if most of that protein is raw or unheated. Good sources for this are sprouted seeds and fresh vegetable juices, especially juice of grass and leaves. In addition frequently stir a teaspoon of spirulina powder and wheat grass or barley grass juice extract powder into a glass of juice or water and drink before or between meals.
Minimize meat, sugar and sweetened food, cow's milk products and wheat products, processed food with added chemicals, salt or salted food, polyunsaturated oils and margarine, soft drinks, rhubarb, coffee, tea, alcohol, nicotine, baking powder, and medicinal drugs.
Drink plenty of good quality water, rainwater or soft bore water, otherwise filtered or distilled but definitely no chlorinated or fluoridated water. Drink 1 l each 30 to 60 minutes before breakfast, lunch and dinner. You may drink water or weak herb teas, diluted vegetable juices or water with lemon juice.
Cadmium, a heavy metal, has been shown to cause renal tubular damage. Cadmium is widely used in the manufacture of plastics and electro-plating. Avoid water conducted through black polythene pipes, also from plated containers and the first water coming out of taps. Galvanised iron contains some cadmium but that is less harmful due to the very favourable ratio of zinc to cadmium.
Frequently have cleansing periods mainly on fruits only, mostly tart and acid varieties. Also fasts on watermelons are excellent; chew the seeds as well. However, sensitive individuals should use fresh vegetables in preference and also fresh vegetable juices. Highly recommended is the Basic Cleanse. Reintroduce normal food gradually after a fast and watch for any sign of allergy such as a high pulse rate, pain, discomfort or rash and especially any deterioration in kidney functions. For further details see also Allergies and Addictions.
With kidney stones, inflammation or infection of the urinary tract and not more than a moderate deterioration in kidney functions you may take with each meal up to half a teaspoon of ascorbic acid and as a magnesium supplement either 1 teaspoon of milk of magnesia or half a teaspoon of magnesium carbonate or magnesium chloride or somewhat less magnesium oxide. Also take a low potency B complex, natural vitamin E and either a halibut or shark liver oil capsule. With kidney stones use additional vitamin B6 to raise the total amount per meal to about 50 mg.
Use a trace mineral supplement high in zinc and manganese or use separate supplements for these. With serious impairment of kidney functions use only a low-potency multivitamin-mineral supplement and none of the others mentioned above. However, on a diet very low in protein take supplements of essential amino acids, this is especially important for children. Test these amino acids but also all supplements for allergy.
Suitable herbs to improve kidney functions and serve as mild diuretics to prevent water retention and oedema are buchu, corn silk, dandelion, elder and juniper berries, peach leaves and uva ursi.
Warning: If on dialysis do not stop your normal dialysis routine when starting on this nutritional program. Instead phase it out gradually according to the results of your urine and blood analysis tests.
Drinking one's own urine is common in India and was formerly also a trusted home remedy in some rural parts of Europe. Fresh urine generally is sterile and has excellent wound-healing qualities. Some European health practitioners claim to have obtained healing results with urine fasts, which could not be achieved with other methods of fasting or healing (see The Water of Life by J. W. Armstrong).
Success rates approaching 100% have been claimed in the treatment of severe kidney disorders including complete kidney failure. Reasons for this strong healing potential of urine are:
The Urine Fast
Drink all of your freshly voided urine and in addition sufficient good-quality water for a total fluid intake of at least 5 litres on the first day. If the urine is very concentrated in the beginning, it may be strongly diluted with water. However, the more concentrated the urine, the stronger is its stimulating effect on bowel movements.
After several days, the urine usually becomes more or less clear and tasteless. The overall daily fluid intake and output may gradually build up to 10 litres or more. When high volumes are reached, discontinue the addition of water.
The high fluid intake, together with the stimulating properties of the urine, will normally prompt frequent bowel movements, especially in the beginning. In this way, harmful substances such as toxins and uric acid are safely removed, while the vitamins and minerals are reabsorbed.
Urine fasts reportedly are more successful if the body is extensively rubbed with urine during this time. Only small amounts are needed, pour a teaspoonful into the hollow of a hand and rub the skin until it is dry. The original recommendations in The Water of Life speak of two hours of daily rubbing, especially over diseased parts and problem areas. One may also use urine compresses on these parts. After rubbing, take a shower.
The duration of urine fasts is commonly between four and ten days. However, it varies greatly according to the nature of the disease. With some life-threatening diseases it has been found that the body often reacted quite badly if food was given before it was properly cleansed. As with water fasts, a return of the appetite usually indicates the completion of the cleansing process. However, prolonged fasts, especially if in poor health, should always be under the care of an experienced practitioner.
Drinking unpleasant urine: close your nose with thumb and forefinger while drinking the urine and until you have rinsed your mouth twice with diluted fruit juice, spit out the juice. Alternatively, you may just hold your breath during this time. Normally no bad taste or after-taste develops with this procedure. However, as the body becomes cleaner the urine loses its offensive qualities and tastes and smells more or less like the food one has last eaten. With high volumes discard the late evening urine to reduce urinating during the night.
Armstrong in The Water of Life gives many case histories, here just a few details to show the scope of the therapy:
A woman in her forties with complete kidney failure: Largely because of water retention she had about doubled her normal weight and been told by her doctors that she had two days to live. Urine very scanty, thick, looking like a mixture of blood and pus. By the fourth day of the urine fast her urine flow had increased from less than 60 ml per day to about 6 liter. On the 23rd day she tried a small amount of carrot juice but had a strong setback. She continued the fast and broke it on the 49th day with fresh orange juice. A week later she had complete recovered.
A male patient, also supposed to be close to death, had doubled his weight to about 190 kg. He fasted for 55 days and was completely recovered shortly afterwards. Another male patient of 75 years fasted for 53 days and a boy of 11 years for 14 days. Both recovered completely.
A young man of 19 years did not have bowel movements for one week and had not passed urine for 72 hours. Armstrong gave him some of his own urine. Two hours later he passed a small amount of foul urine. Eight hours later he was nearly free of the excruciating pain he had suffered for weeks. On the fifth day a doctor intervened and gave him a tablespoon of ground wheat in water. Immediately the flow of urine stopped and soon the former painful condition had returned. The urine fast was restarted and broken on the 17th day. Ten days later he was back at work.
In cases of Bright's disease when patients were not close to death fasts lasted from four to fourteen days until recovery. Armstrong also gives the case of a man with a diseased kidney in addition to a large stone. The kidney was due to be removed. After several short fasts on urine this kidney was declared to be healthy and without stone by the same hospital staff who before wanted to remove it.
If you want to use a less radical method than a full urine fast, try the following: Collect your first morning urine, dilute it to half a litre and drink immediately. One to two hours later this will cause you to urinate a second time and again you dilute it to half a litre and drink it. Do that a third and possibly a fourth time and then have your breakfast and your normal food and drink for the rest of the day.
If you start at 5 or 6 a.m. you may have your breakfast between 9 and 10 a.m. and have given your kidneys an excellent flush in the meantime that will quickly dissolve any stones and wash out any calcifications and microbes. Repeat this as often as necessary to heal your kidneys.
However, my favorite to re-activate kidney functions is to drink, slowly and spaced out, about 3 liters of high-quality water (no chlorine or fluoride) before breakfast. To each liter add up to a cupful of fresh urine and the content of one capsule of MegaHydrin or Microhydrin. Instead of these you may also use alkaline water from a water ionizer. Useful alternative antioxidants are ascorbic acid and alpha lipoic acid. Preferably start with smaller amounts and only gradually increase to 3 liters if problems arise, such as water retention, then reduce the fluid intake temporarily. If already on dialysis then use water low in minerals with these additions and increase the volume of drinking water more slowly to match the output of urine.
Armstrong claims to have cured many thousands of patients, many of them with so-called incurable diseases and close to death. However, he is emphatic that no medical or other drugs must be taken during urine fasts. While I suspect that most kidney patients will prefer dialysis or kidney transplants, I offer this information for the few who are willing to try. For details and further information see also the related articles Urea and Urine Therapy and Urine Therapy Prevents Kidney Failure.
A more conventional therapy to delay the need for dialysis is colonic irrigation (colonies) with plenty of low-mineral water. This helps to reduce high blood levels of toxins and waste.
Epsom salts and castor oil packs over the kidneys can be of great benefit. Wet a cloth with concentrated warm Epsom salt solution and place it over the kidneys. Keep warm for 1 - 2 hours with a hot water bottle. At other times use warm castor oil on a woollen cloth, keep warm. Repeat these packs frequently. With inflammation and pain a fresh outer cabbage leaf over the kidneys may bring relief.
To use colour therapy, shine a bright orange light at close range onto the kidney area for kidney stones, but use blue light in case of pain. Exclude daylight or other electric light. In case of weak kidneys violet light is best. More convenient than a coloured light bulb is coloured cellophane, place several layers of violet cellophane over the kidneys and expose this to bright light or sunshine. Generally keep light bulbs about half a meter away from the skin. Treat for 30 to 60 minutes at a time.
The foot reflexes for the kidneys are near the centre of the soles of the feet. Press around this area until you find the sorest spot and then continue to press. You may also press it onto a stone or golf ball or against the edge of a table. Repeat daily until recovered. It also helps to press into tight muscles at the small of the back and tap the vertebrae in this area. For further details see the article on Reflexology.
Adopt a daily routine of meditation or relaxation exercises followed by guided imagery. Imagine white or golden yellow-healing energy entering the top of your head, filling your body and concentrating in the kidneys. For other mind healing methods see Mind Therapies.
The kidneys are linked through acupuncture meridians to the teeth and jaws in upper and lower positions 1 and 2. Dead teeth, a metal bridge, root, gum or jawbone infections or inflammations in these positions tend to interfere with kidney and bladder functions. While generally all dead teeth should be removed, with kidney diseases it is important to sanitise any problems with the front teeth.
Constipation can contribute to kidney problems. If necessary use more laxative food such as ground linseed and psyllium hulls. Most important is the Ultimate Cleanse to sanitize the intestines and eliminate microbes which are commonly a main cause of this disease.
With kidney failure combine the Ultimate Cleanse with Reflexology, diet, and drinking as much diluted lemon or grapefruit juice or (organic) cider vinegar as possible before meals without causing fluid retention. The citrus juices should be freshly pressed and diluted with water that has a low mineral content. If the body is or becomes too acid see if you can neutralize it with spirulina powder.
To recapitulate: Have a high fluid intake as unpolluted water (rain water, filtered or distilled), diluted herb teas or diluted wheat grass juice and fresh vegetable juices; minimise the intake of meat, sweet food, sodium, calcium and phosphates; use plenty of raw food, especially salads and acid citrus fruit. Have frequent and prolonged fasting periods on apples, citrus fruit, wheat grass and other vegetable juices, try urine fast; do the ultimate cleanse and test for food allergies.
The most important supplements are ascorbic acid, vitamin B6, magnesium and zinc, ground linseed, fish oils, and a mixture of kidney herbs,. Sanitise your front teeth, possibly spinal adjustment and stimulation at the small of the back, experiment with packs, colour therapy, reflexology and mind improvement methods.