Kidneys filter waste products from the blood. If this function is compromised, wastes from the blood remain in the body with negative effects on health. Diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, obesity, kidney stones and smoking are major risk factors associated with kidney disease development.
Kidney disease often has no symptoms and can progress to complete kidney failure, a serious condition that has to be treated by dialysis or kidney transplantation. Thousands of people are currently waiting for lifesaving kidney transplants. Diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and cancer are some of the most common conditions that may require kidney transplants (Organ Procurement & Transplantation Network). Adults with diabetes or high blood pressure (or both) have a higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease than those who are free of these diseases. Approximately 1 of 3 adults with diabetes and 1 of 5 adults with high blood pressure are also affected by chronic kidney disease (National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion).
The maintenance of a balanced diet is fundamental in patients suffering from kidney disease.
Pharmacological treatments, dialysis and the disease itself can lead to micronutrient deficiencies. For instance, a damaged kidney cannot produce an adequate amount of vitamin D. In this situation, supplementation with vitamin D is advisable. It supports bone health and protects against cardiovascular disease. Recent discoveries in the field of natural therapies highlight the relationship between micronutrient intake and kidney problems, including cancer and drug toxicity.
Renal adenocarcinoma, the 17th most frequent cancer worldwide, is associated with a good prognosis – if treated when still localized to the kidney. However, once the cancer has metastasized, prognosis is poor. Recent findings showed that a nutrient formulation, including lysine, proline, arginine and vitamin C, has great potential in the treatment of renal carcinoma.
High dosages of analgesics can also cause severe kidney damage. It was shown that micronutrients can protect the human body against analgesics-induced kidney damage.