How an Alkaline Diet + These 4 Nutrients Can Save Your Kidneys
Study Establishes Link Between High-Acid Diets & Kidney Failure
Your kidneys are remarkably hardworking organs – they filter about 200 liters of blood a day and help regulate blood pressure and red blood cell production!
An estimated 26 million Americans have chronic kidney disease, and 1 in 3 Americans is at risk because of factors such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
A recent study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology found that among people with chronic kidney disease, those who ate a high acid diet were three times more likely to experience kidney failure than those on a low acid diet.
The study examined the link between dietary acid load and progression to end-stage renal disease in patients with chronic kidney disease. By the end of the study, 20.9% of the subjects developed end-stage renal disease (ESRD). They also consumed diets higher in acid than those who did not develop ESRD.
This study builds upon the same researcher’s earlier work, which established a link between diets high in meat and a higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease.
Why are high-acid diets to blame? Researchers aren’t sure, but they think it may have something to do with the role that the kidneys play in regulating body pH. When the kidneys aren’t functioning properly, they can’t metabolize or excrete acidic residue efficiently, and the body environment becomes too acidic. Acidic internal environments have been linked to all sorts of health problems, including cancer.
What is an Alkaline Diet?
People are often confused by the term alkaline and the type of foods it refers to since some of the most alkaline foods taste acidic, such as lemons and grapefruits. But just because a food is acidic doesn’t mean it is acid-yielding. It’s what happens after the body metabolizes the food that matters. For example, some of the most acid-yielding foods are meats, unhealthy fats, dairy, sugar and other refined carbohydrates.
As we mentioned, alkaline foods are categorized based on what they leave behind after digestion and fall between 7 and 14 on the pH scale. In a healthy state, the body generally fluctuates between a pH of 7.35 and 7.45, a slightly alkaline state.
Researchers suggest that about 80% of the diet should consist of alkalizing foods like dark leafy greens, broccoli, artichokes, cauliflower, lemons and limes, asparagus and onions.
The A, B, C, D,’s of Kidney Health
A: Apple Cider Vinegar
One of the best tools for promoting an alkaline environment in the body is this amazing (and super cheap) solution. Apple cider vinegar not only tips the body balance toward alkaline, it also has been found to help dissolve kidney stones. It does so by helping to flush harmful toxins out the body, including excess mineral deposits that often become kidney stones.
B: Vitamin B6
Our friends at the Linus Pauling Institute reported on a large prospective study that found vitamin B6 helped reduce the incidence of kidney stones in women. Over 14 years, researchers studied more than 85,000 women with no prior history of kidney stones.Those who consumed at least 40mg of vitamin B6 daily had a 33% less chance of developing kidney stones than those who only consumed 3mg/day. Experts suggest that vitamin B6 may help prevent the buildup of calcium oxalate and reduce urinary oxalate levels to inhibit the formation of kidney stones. This mighty vitamin also promotes red blood cell production, a function of the kidneys.
C: Vitamin C
As you’re probably well aware, vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that plays a vital role in protecting cells from oxidative damage. Delivering adequate vitamin C to your cells has been found to help fend off kidney disease by preventing cellular oxidation and resulting endothelial dysfunction. One 2011 study established a link between low vitamin C levels and kidney disease in non-diabetic patients.
D: Vitamin D3
Vitamin D deficiency is known to contribute to a mineral imbalance in patients with chronic kidney disease and even speed up the disease’s progression. Recently, researchers discovered that Vitamin D may have the power to reduce a residual symptom of kidney disease, proteinuria, or excess protein in the urine. Recent large randomized clinical trials have demonstrated that vitamin D prevents injury to podocytes, or epithelial kidney cells and helps maintain the integrity of the glomerular filtration barrier, which is a highly specialized system that filters unwanted particles out of the blood.