(NaturalNews) The kidneys truly are the body's "master chemists." They not only remove waste products and excess fluids from the body via the urine, but they also maintain a critical balance of salt, potassium and acid -- not a small feat for such relatively small organs. The kidneys produce a hormone -- erythropoietin (EPO) -- that stimulates the production of red blood cells. Other kidney hormones help regulate blood pressure and calcium metabolism. The kidneys even synthesize the hormones that control tissue growth. When the kidneys become damaged, other organs suffer as well.
Kidney Stones - A Cause of Many Ailments
The main responsibility of the kidneys is to keep the blood pure and healthy and to maintain proper fluid balance in the body. To accomplish this enormously complex feat, the kidneys need to constantly monitor normal blood volume and filter out the right quantity of urine. There are many interfering factors that could disrupt this mechanism and cause congestion in the kidneys. These factors include overstimulation, dehydration, fatigue, overeating, consuming highly processed foods, gallstones, blood pressure disturbance, digestive disorders (especially constipation), prescription or narcotic drugs and vitamin supplements.
When the kidneys are not able to separate the necessary amounts of urine from the blood, part of the urine keeps circulating around the body, thereby depositing urinary waste products in the blood vessels, joints, tissues and organs. This implies that fluids and waste products are trapped in the body and begin to accumulate. The ultimate result is potentially extreme swelling and symptoms of uremia (an overload of toxic byproducts) or kidney failure. Many skin diseases, strong body odor, sweating of the palms and feet, water retention, lymph congestion, abdominal swelling, rapid weight gain, weakness, high blood pressure and other disorders, are all indications of toxic blood caused, to a large degree, by the presence of obstructive urinary deposits, such as sand crystals and stones, in the kidneys.
Stones in the kidneys start off as tiny crystals and can eventually become as large as an egg. The tiny crystals are too small to be detected by x-rays, and since they do not cause pain, they are rarely noticed. Yet they are big enough to block the flow of liquid through the tiny kidney tubules. Crystals or stones are formed in the kidneys when urinary constituents, which are normally in solution, are precipitated. Precipitation results when these particles occur in excessive amounts or when urine becomes too concentrated. The crystalline particles or stones usually have very sharp edges or angles. Once released by the kidneys along with the urine, they may cut and wear away the inner surface of the urinary canal (ureter) during their passage to the urinary bladder. This can cause severe pain in the loins and/or lower back. There may even be blood in the urine, pain running down the legs, numbness in the thighs and difficulty in passing urine.
Most crystals or stones originate in the kidneys, although some may also be formed in the bladder. If a large stone enters one of the two ureters, urinary discharge becomes obstructed. This can lead to serious complications, such as kidney infection or failure. Regardless of where in the kidneys the blockage occurs, it restricts their ability to remove and regulate water and chemicals, causing these delicate organs to suffer injury. The kidneys' various functions may be affected separately, so urine output may seem to be normal despite significant kidney disease.
The Types of Stones and Their Effects
The most common solutes involved in the formation of crystals and stones are oxalates, phosphates, urates, uric acid and the amino acids cystine and cysteine. Eight varieties of crystals or stones can be formed from these solutes, for various reasons.
Foods or beverages that contain large amounts of oxalic acid cause oxalate stones. A cup of regular tea (not green or herb tea) contains about 20 mg of oxalic acid, which is far too much for the kidneys to excrete. Initially, the body uses calcium to neutralize the acid. By doing so, oxalic acid turns to calcium oxalate. If tea drinking becomes a regular habit, any excessive calcium oxalate in the kidneys is deposited in the form of tiny crystals. Chocolate, cocoa beverages and chocolate ice cream are also high in oxalates. Anyone who has consumed or now consumes these foods on a regular basis may be growing oxalate stones in the kidneys, especially children whose kidneys are still very small and delicate. Also, if you ingested over 200mg of Vitamin C per day, some of it would be converted into oxalate. Except for a tiny amount that is actually used by the body, the rest would be excreted in the gut and urine. Vitamin C is not as harmless as many believe it is, especially in its synthetic and isolated form.
Uric acid crystals make up another type of kidney stone. Uric acid is a waste product that is formed from purines in food. Foods with the highest purine content are:
* Calf tongue
* Chicken and Chicken soup
* Sardines, canned
* Meat extract, broths
* Salmon, canned
* Liver sausage
* Meat soups
As you can see from the list, protein foods derived from animals and fish make up the bulk of uric acid-generating foods. Once the proteins are broken down in the liver, the uric acid is passed on to the kidneys for excretion with the urine. If the kidneys are unable to remove all the uric acid, its concentration in the blood rises. As a result, the extra uric acid is deposited first in those areas of the body that have the poorest circulation and oxygen supply, that is, the toes of the feet or fingers of the hands. These deposits of uric acid and other harmful substances in the toes and fingers can make the joints rigid, stiff and unbending. (Check particularly the small toes of your feet, which show the condition of the bladder.)
Naturally, wherever waste products are stored inside or outside the body, specialized bacteria will also be present to help break them down. Accordingly, any deposits of uric acid in the body attract certain aerobic bacteria to decompose this waste product into ammonia. If the bacteria feeding on the uric acid crystals invade these waste-saturated tissues in sufficient numbers, inflammation and pain result. Gout and arthritic conditions are the most common symptoms of this involuntary "cleansing response." The uric acid crystals in the toes are made from the same material as the uric acid stones in the kidneys.
A similar situation may occur in the heels. Heel spurs are due to deposits of uric acid and various phosphates. The uric acid attracts bacteria, leading to pain, and the phosphates are responsible for causing rigid and hard structures. Swelling or edema around the foot or ankle, caused by poor kidney and adrenal functions, may accompany this condition.
As discussed earlier, the kidneys and adrenal glands regulate water and salt levels throughout the body. If their functions are subdued due to stones in the kidneys, your body may thus be holding water in the feet, legs, abdomen, face, arms and organs.
Many kidney stones are formed as a result of insufficient water intake and the consumption of foods or beverages that have dehydrating effects, including meat, artificial sweeteners, sugar, alcohol, tea, coffee and sodas. Also, smoking cigarettes or watching television for too many hours has a dehydrating effect on the body and causes urine to become overly concentrated. This increases the precipitation of urinary constituents.
Eating lots of strongly acid-forming foods, such as meat, fish, dairy products, baked goods, candy, sugar and the like, forces the body to release many of its valuable minerals, thereby altering the pH (acid/alkaline balance) of the urine. This not only causes mineral deficiencies in the body, especially in the bones and teeth, but also turns the normally acidic urine filtrate alkaline. In alkaline urine, other substances may be precipitated, including phosphates.
Phosphate stones are formed, in particular, from eating too many foods that are high in phosphate and low in calcium, such as meat, processed breakfast cereals, breads, pasta and nuts, as well as all carbonated beverages. To neutralize the highly acidic phosphate, which could easily burn the delicate kidneys, the body leaches extra amounts of calcium from the bones and teeth and uses whatever magnesium it can obtain from such foods as green vegetables. As mentioned earlier, it takes over two gallons of water to neutralize the acidity of one can of soda. So be kind to your kidneys and substitute water for any soda you may be in the habit of drinking.
The presence of phosphates generates an acidic environment in the body, which literally dissolves bones, leading to osteoporosis and shrinkage of the body frame. It also causes tooth destruction, coronary heart disease, digestive disorders, cancer, and any other diseases that are related to calcium deficiency. A person who eliminates more than 150 mg of calcium with his or her urine in a 24 hour period -- an emergency measure taken by the body to combat excessive acidity -- is in the process of rapidly dissolving the bones. Some of the calcium combines with the phosphates, forming various calcium phosphate crystals, which can lead to hardening of the arteries and common arthritis.
Please also be aware that excessive sodium chloride (table salt) in the diet predisposes a person to kidney stones. In addition, for every gram of sodium chloride that your body cannot get rid of, your body uses 23 times the amount of water to neutralize the salt, which can lead to fluid retention, unsightly cellulite, arthritis, gout, rheumatism and gallstones. This is primarily an issue for people who mostly dine on prepared foods (90 percent of Americans), which are loaded with table salt (very toxic). The average American eats 4,000 to 6,000 mg of sodium chloride each day. Unrefined salt does not have the same effect, though. In fact, real salt is an essential nutrient without which the body would become seriously ill.
Why Do a Kidney Cleanse?
More than twenty million Americans suffer from kidney problems. These problems include urinary tract infections (UTIs), kidney stones, kidney cancer, polycystic kidney disease (PKD), nephrotic syndrome and genetic disorders. The kidneys make a tremendous effort in their attempts to keep the blood clear of toxic substances such as lead, cadmium, mercury and other heavy metals (although these are difficult to pass). The kidneys also maintain fluid and electrolyte balance and regulate the pressure that the heart creates to force the blood through their filtering system. Kidney stones greatly undermine these vital functions, which may further increase the chance of accumulating heavy metals in the body and raise its general level of toxicity. This may lead to infection, high blood pressure, heart disease, brain disorders, cancer and many other imbalances.
The following signs indicate the presence of crystals and stones in the kidneys or bladder:
* A dark or whitish color under the eyes.
* Puffy or swollen eyes, particularly in the morning.
* Deep wrinkles under and around the eyes.
* Tiny whitish, tan-colored or dark lumps under the eyes, which can be felt or made visible when stretching the skin outward toward the cheekbones.
* Overlapping of the upper eyelid.
* Chronic pain in the lower back.
* Swelling of feet and legs.
* Constant fear or anxiety.
In the proper amounts, a number of herbs, e.g., Marjoram, Cat's Claw, Comfrey Root, Fennel Seed, Chicory Herb, Uva Ursi, Hydrangea Root, Gravel Root, Marshmallow Root, an Golden Rod Herb, can effectively dissolve kidney stones within a period of three to six weeks. (See the updated kidney cleanse protocol in Chapter 7, Employing Nature's Healing Powers, of the author's book, Timeless Secrets of Health and Rejuvenation.) Those of you who follow the author's liver and gallbladder protocol are recommend to do a kidney cleanse every 3-4 liver flushes. (See details in The Amazing Liver and Gallbladder Flush, by Andreas Moritz.) You can mail order/purchase the guaranteed fresh and already mixed kidney cleanse herbs from The Present Moment Herbs & Books in Minneapolis, toll free 800-378-3245 or 612-824-3157 (USA). (Regardless of whether someone has been diagnosed with kidney stones or not, doing a kidney cleanse once or twice a year has tremendous curative and preventive benefits. The kidney cleanse not only improves overall physical health, but also reduces stress, fear and anxieties.)
The above article is an excerpt from the author's bestselling book, Timeless Secrets of Health and Rejuvenation, available at (www.ener-chi.com) and (www.amazon.com) .
About the author
Andreas Moritz is a medical intuitive; a practitioner of Ayurveda, iridology, shiatsu, and vibrational medicine; a writer; and an artist. He is the author of the international bestseller, The Amazing Liver and Gallbladder Flush; Timeless Secrets of Health and Rejuvenation, Lifting the Veil of Duality, Cancer Is Not a Disease, It's Time to Come Alive, Heart Disease No More, Diabetes No More, Simple Steps to Total Health, Diabetes—No More, Ending the AIDS Myth. Feel Great - Lose Weight, Heal Yourself with Sunlight, and Vaccine-nation: Poisoning the Population, One Shot at a Time. For more information, visit the author's website: www.ener-chi.com