by Dr. Graeme Shaw MD
Abnormalities in a person’s kidney and spleen energy can be the cause of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) according to Eastern Medicine philosophies. From a nutritional perspective, there are many healthy food recommendations that a licensed dietitian can recommend for those concerned about CKD, high creatinine levels or proteinuria (excess of serum proteins in the urine) – all of which can be signs of kidney dysfunction. In this article, I provide the Eastern Medicine perspective, along with recommendations for good nutrition and lifestyle changes.
Organ Energy & Eastern Medicine
In the following ways kidney and spleen energy can relate to your kidney function and overall kidney health:
1. Kidney energy is believed to control the kidney, heart function, fluid balance, cellular energy, 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. Changes in blood pressure and diabetes, two important causes of CKD, also implicate abnormal kidney energy.
2. Spleen energy controls nutrition, absorption, allergies, autoimmunity and detoxification. Pollution and chemicals often adversely affect Spleen Energy, so it’s not surprising that there is an ever rising occurrence of allergies, autoimmune disease and nutritional deficiencies in our population. Phase I liver detoxification also involves Spleen Energy – the initial processing of toxins by the liver. Emotions can also weaken spleen energy, particularly anxiety and worry.
When we look at kidney disease, it is most often the result of hypertension and diabetes, but can also be caused by viral infections, autoimmune disease and toxicity. “Millions of Americans are at risk of developing CKD because they have diabetes, high blood pressure, or both” says the National Institute of Health. Since these conditions are so prevalent in our society, it becomes even more important for those concerned with kidney dysfunctions such as kidney disease, glomerulonephritis, high createinine, proteinuria, CKD 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. Putting better nutrients into your body can be very helpful to support your body’s ability to reverse disease. The more natural and fresher the food, the more nutritional value it has. Containing potentially harmful preservatives and added chemicals, processed and packaged food also 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. Eating too much protein however, can also burden the kidneys and speed up the progression of chronic kidney disease, leading to problems such as proteinuria. Therefore, moderation is very important. I generally caution my patients about consuming the three worst categories of foods, those that contain refined sugars, grains and dairy, all of which can increase inflammation, sugar imbalances and autoimmune disease.
Organ Energy is Affected by Lifestyle
Spleen energy responds to lifestyle changes. Drinking plenty of fluids, exercising, a healthy diet and adequate sleep make a big difference, as does 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. This habit is, sadly, one that too many of us have.
Seafood and fish among several others are particularly good foods for kidney energy. Because of the increasing levels of mercury, arsenic and other heavy metals in seafood, I recommend that my patients moderate their consumption of larger fish such as tuna, swordfish, etc. 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 according to diet, sex, and health factors.
The biggest factor for maintaining healthy kidney energy is to control the emotions of fear and insecurity, something we’re all subject to these days.
There are myriad ways to benefit from stress reduction techniques. Both relaxation and energizing can be derived from excersize. The problem with imbalances and deficiencies of energy â€“ whether they are related to diet, lack of exercise or negative emotions â€“ is that they result in decreased function of organs like the kidneys.
Enhancing Organ Energy Naturally
Much of what we do in natural medicine attempts to improve the energy in organs and cells. Get Well Natural’s Kidney Well II, Phyto Antioxidant, Cardio Well and Metabo Well products and many combinations of herbs and nutrients are used to enhance both kidney and spleen energy as well as kidney function. Other supportive nutrients for healthy function are probiotics, enzymes, antioxidants, minerals, CoEnzyme Q10, essential fatty acids, and other kidney and spleen herbal tonics.
In Western Medicine, 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.For example, Western doctors rarely pay much interest to the digestive function when evaluating kidney disease.
Eastern Medicine is particularly good at identifying and treating the underlying cause of chronic disease which is one of the things I appreciate most about Eastern Medicine. This is done by looking at a person’s organ imbalance or balance, environment, diet, lifestyle, etc.
I implement this integrative philosophy by advising my patients to look at factors such as stress levels, exercise, diet, digestion and detoxification, for ultimate kidney health and 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.
© 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