The kidney’s role in detoxification is a vital one.
It’s the job of the kidneys to flush toxins from your blood by turning them into urine. They rid the body of waste products of our body’s natural metabolism, & directly excrete industrial toxins that we ingest daily, such as heavy metals (cadmium in cigarette smoke, aluminum in vaccines, mercury & lead in tap water, etc.), pesticides, non-stick coating in cookware, flame retardants, etc. These toxins can accumulate in our tissues & kidneys, contributing to poor health.
Symptoms of kidney dysfunction are:
-infertility & difficulty conceiving
-hearing issues (ex. tinnitus)
-premature greying of the hair or hair loss
-soreness & weakness of the lower back or knees
-urinary or sexual dysfunction
-anxiety & worry
The kidneys are very powerful organs in Chinese medicine. Their season is winter (making now the perfect time to help them), their element is water, & their sense is hearing. Emotionally, the kidneys are damaged by fear. Therefore any anxiety condition or chronic worrying will cause the kidneys to need more support & will worsen the physical symptoms listed above. Pain relievers also wreck havoc here.
A very common test for kidney function is eGFR. This tests how well the kidneys are filtering toxins out of the body. We know that a woman’s eGFR should be at least 115 until age 45, with an approximate 13-point decline every decade being “normal”. Men have a starting point of 125. So if your eGFR is 80 but you’re only age 50, you essentially have a kidney age of 70 – that’s 20 years older than you! This means a significant decrease in ability to rid the body of many toxins & helps explain why almost everyone becomes sicker with aging. We can do better.
What can be done? Courage, faith, & rest strengthen the kidneys. Some of my favorite kidney tonifying herbs: nettle, juniper & dandelion leaf. Cranberry is very restorative. Sometimes a low protein diet is recommended. I frequently use acupuncture to tonify the kidneys. And I always teach patients what to watch out for & how to reduce their exposure to toxins. Lasting kidney health & overall vitality can be achieved.