If the idea of a probiotic for kidney health sounds like a stretch, take comfort that most of us do not associate good bacteria in the gut with healthy kidney function.
In fact, as common as chronic kidney failure is, conventional therapy offers little beyond laboratory testing and supportive pharmaceuticals to slow down the progressive deterioration of the kidneys.
Chronic kidney disease affects 17% of adults 20 years and older and could require long-term dialysis as treatment. But consuming more good bacteria in probiotics and fermented foods will help to flush waste products from your bloodstream to support your kidney health!
Chronic kidney failure is typically something known as a secondary illness. This means that it is the result of a primary disease, commonly:
- Cardiovascular disease
Currently, the leading cause of death in those with chronic kidney failure is cardiovascular disease. (2)
Because the kidneys are a filtering system full of blood vessels, it makes sense that we see an association with the vascular system. This is because the vascular system is about vessels and blood flow.
The benefits of good bacteria go beyond the gut.
Good bacteria not only affect our digestive health. The microbes in our gut interact with the immune system, the nervous system, and the endocrine system. They are able to cool down an inflammatory flare-up, and they even generate their own neurotransmitters that our brain can pick up and use!
The more that the medical community learns about beneficial gut bacteria, the more we realize just how symbiotic our relationship is with the microorganisms that we harbor.
And as it turns out, when it comes to kidney health, good bacteria are pretty useful.
Good bacteria in the digestive tract will consume nitrogenous waste products. Otherwise, this job belongs to the kidneys.
As these waste products are consumed (and removed), more waste gets pulled out of the bloodstream and into the intestines. This process is called diffusion.
Ultimately, as diffusion continues, good bacteria are able to reduce waste load by passively filtering creatinine and other nitrogenous byproducts out of the bloodstream.
Hemodialysis is a process that uses a machine to filter waste and water from the blood. When the kidneys are healthy, the body is able to naturally maintain a balance of water and minerals, such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
Healthy kidneys also remove the acidic waste from blood. Acidic waste is most often the result of muscle metabolism or the digestion of protein.
Like bacteria, hemodialysis also uses the principle of diffusion to remove waste from the blood. However, with conventional hemodialysis a patient is hooked up to a large machine that does the filtering for the patient. This process is done on an average of three times a week, and treatment can last as long as eight hours.
According to Pari Rangananathan, Director of Clinical Affairs at Kibow Biotics, naturally occurring bacteria can “metabolize targeted toxins and incorporate them as nutrients for growth.”
Kibow Biotics calls this approach enteric dialysis. Enteric (which refers to the intestines) dialysis harnesses the natural activity of gut bacteria to clean out the acidic waste from the blood.
2 Easy Ways to Support Kidney Health with Your Diet
1. Follow the Principle of 80/20. When we consume mostly non-starchy land vegetables and ocean vegetables, with only 20 percent of our meal dedicated to animal proteins, we reduce the toxic load that our kidneys must manage.
2. Consume fermented foods and probiotic beverages often. Because we know that beneficial gut bacteria have a knack for transforming waste products, it is a good idea to frequently eat fermented foods and drink probiotic beverages, especially when eating animal proteins. When we regularly eat fermented foods, we encourage a robust community of helpful gut bacteria.
What to Remember Most About This Article:
Although you may not associate beneficial gut bacteria with healthy kidney function, good bacteria can cool down inflammation in the body and flush excess waste to support kidney health.
Given the fact that chronic kidney disease is the ninth leading cause of death in the US, it's more important than ever to support waste removal with friendly bacteria in the digestive tract. This process is known as enteric dialysis, which will metabolize toxins and use them as nutrients in the body to support growth.
Here are 2 quick ways you can support your kidney health with your diet today:
- Use the Body Ecology Principle of 80/20 to eat 80% non-starchy land vegetables and ocean vegetables at every meal. This will relieve the burden of toxic waste on your kidneys.
- Consume more fermented foods and probiotic beverages to support gut health with beneficial bacteria and remove excess waste from the body.
- Prevalence of chronic kidney disease and associated risk factors—United States, 1999–2004. MMWR Morb. Mortal. Wkly. Rep. March 2007; 56 (8): 161–5. March 2007.
- Perazella MA, Khan S. Increased mortality in chronic kidney disease: a call to action. Am. J. Med. Sci. March 2006; 331 (3): 150–3.