Natural Therapies for Kidney Disease
Studies suggest that kidney disease can start to reverse in a significant number of people. Even in the later stage of disease, kidney function can improve. Dr. Baker (ND) spent nearly a decade in school studying to become a naturopathic doctor, learning hundreds of nutritional and herbal therapies. He collected research from across the world and and created a protocol based on the natural therapies that have been shown to improve kidney function.
Using Diagnostic Testing to Guide Approach
For every patient, Dr. Baker (ND) tests dozens of compounds and nutrients in the blood to help tailor your plan and the therapies used. Correcting blood abnormalities can make a significant impact. For example, a 2020 study found that correcting blood acidity nearly halved the risk of end stage renal disease. A 2009 study found that those with corrected blood acidity had an additional 4% higher kidney function every year compared to the placebo group (no treatment group). They also found those in the treatment group had less than a quarter of the risk of end stage renal disease.
Example of Therapies
There are several botanical extracts that have been shown to help improve kidney function. A 2014 study on a therapy we use, found a 60 point drop in creatinine (an indicator of kidney function). In a stage 3 patient for example, that would equate to approximately a doubling of kidney function (using the CKD-EPI equation). A 2014 study on another therapy we use found improved kidney function and about a 17 point drop in blood pressure improved (this is essential because blood pressure is a leading cause of kidney disease).
Kidney Nutrition Protocol
Dr. Baker (ND) uses his own nutrition protocol that is based on a database that he has been building for over five years and integrates over 30,000 nutrient values and a 1000 studies. Studies have found that levels of certain nutrients in the blood can significantly affect kidney health. By adjusting the diet we can decrease harmful nutrients that the kidneys can no longer handle And increase nutrients that help the kidneys health.
Current Status of Kidney Care in Canada
In Canada, if you have been diagnosed with early stage kidney disease, it is unlikely that you will be referred to see a nephrologist (a kidney specialist) until kidney function has dropped to around 30%. According to the College of Family Physicians of Canada, nephrology referral wait times are longer than 80% of all other medical specialties in Canada, with a quarter of individuals waiting up to one year according to a 2020 Canadian study.
The point is - it’s only once kidney function is significantly reduced that a person gets the chance to see a nephrologist and begin implementing specialized preventative strategies. Meanwhile, there are a multitude of lifestyle, dietary and natural therapies available that have been shown in research trials to delay progression and reduce risk of end stage kidney disease.
Research on Natural Therapies for Kidney Disease
Evidence suggests that to help delay or prevent progression of kidney disease, nutrition and preventative therapies should be addressed in the early stages based on your health status and blood test results. Many of the preventative recommendations suggested by kidney organizations, such as the National Kidney Foundation, are also targeting early stage disease.
In the context of kidney health, nutrition therapies can get complicated quickly. A 2017 review found that addressing protein intake alone can make a very significant impact in early stage kidney disease.
For example, one of the studies in the analysis found a 1.2% decrease in kidney function for every 10 grams of animal protein consumed per day.
The right amount of protein depends on the person's health status, the stage of kidney disease and whether any other forms of kidney disorders are present.
The above mentioned is just the tip of the iceberg of information available, there are also a wide range of kidney tests and therapies available (read more about our therapies and testing here). Nutrition and testing aside, there are over 100 different natural therapies that have been studied in kidney diseases and disorders. That being said, only a handful of them have been shown to significantly and consistently improve kidney function across studies. Other therapies in the wrong contexts either have no impact or have been shown to even possibly worsen kidney function. Due to the complexity of the kidneys, it is very important to talk to a regulated healthcare professional before considering any natural therapies. If you would like to learn more about how a Naturopathic Doctor can address kidney disease, you can reach out to Dr. Baker (ND) here. You can also learn more about his approach for those on dialysis here.