We believe that your best self begins from the inside out. By supporting the systems that keep us alive and in balance, we are supporting a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life.
Without even needing to think about it, our organs work hard to keep us healthy - as we sleep, eat, work, and play our intelligent bodies are digesting, metabolizing, cleansing, and fighting illness (among a whole laundry list of daily tasks).
Our kidneys are no exception. These small, cleansing organs have a big job to do - filter waste out of our bodies. If our kidneys aren’t in tip-top shape, the repercussions can range from minor discomfort and fatigue to serious health problems.
There are many ways to support kidney health, including detox supplements and kidney cleanses that can refresh and balance the health of our kidneys and other organs. But, are kidney cleanses necessary? And how do they work?
To understand how detoxifying the kidneys can impact health, it’s first important to learn what our kidneys do, and how these organs operate.
How Do Your Kidneys Work
The kidneys are made up of two bean-shaped, fist-sized organs that serve a critical purpose: filtering the blood stream. Every minute, the kidneys filter approximately one half cup of blood, removing excess water and waste from the bloodstream to create urine.
The kidneys are made up of nephrons, which we can think of as tiny filters that regulate what should remain in our blood stream (water, minerals, electrolytes, and nutrients) and what should be filtered out for further processing (excess water, acids, and waste).
These wastes and excess water move through the digestive tract to be dispelled as urine, and our kidneys can then be thanked for keeping our bloodstream clean and healthy.
Our kidneys are responsible for maintaining a healthy balance of minerals, salts, and water the bloodstream and help our internal systems to maintain balance and function normally.
Other important kidney functions include:
- Renin production: this enzyme helps to control and regulate our blood pressure
- Erythropoietin production: a hormone that helps the body create red blood cells, which brings oxygen throughout our body
- Regulation healthy bone growth: our kidneys help us build and maintain strong bones by activating vitamin D in the body
When our kidneys are functioning properly, our bodies are able to produce hormones we need to keep healthy and rid our blood of harmful toxins that can deteriorate our health. Loss of kidney function can lead to serious health impacts, and even death, if not regulated or treated appropriately.
What Causes Poor Kidney Health
The most common causes of chronic kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure. Genetic diseases and autoimmune diseases can also have an impact on kidney health, causing CKD.
Lifestyle habits that negatively impact kidney health can include high alcohol intake, smoking tobacco, chronic exposure to environmental toxins, poor diet with excess fatty animal proteins and processed foods, dehydration, and lack of exercise.
A balanced lifestyle focused on moving your body, eating well, and avoiding toxins can help your kidneys to maintain balance and continue functioning properly.
Signs of Kidney Problems
When our kidneys are not functioning properly, our bodies begin to hold on to extra water, toxins, and chemicals that would typically be filtered from the bloodstream and removed through the urinary tract.
Early symptoms that may indicate your kidneys are not functioning as they should include:
- Fatigue, poor sleep, and overall lethargy
- Swelling of the face and feet
- Muscle cramping, caused by an in balance of electrolytes and minerals
- Shortness of breath
- Dark or “foamy” urine
- Bad breath
- Low appetite
- Elevated blood pressure
While the kidneys are typically capable of detoxing themselves, the above signs may dictate that they are not functioning at an optimal level. Ongoing deterioration of kidney function can lead to chronic kidney diseases (CKD), kidney stones, urinary tract infections, and even kidney failure.
Are Kidney Cleanses Necessary?
As our natural detoxifying agents, our kidneys are typically quite good at detoxifying themselves. However, like any organ, too much strain over time can have its fallbacks and begin to function off-balance, resulting in sub-par performance.
While we would argue that there is no magic “3-day cleanse” that will immediately undo years of toxin intake, there are absolutely daily habits, foods, and supplements that can help to support kidney health and naturally detoxify the body. By helping to reduce strain on the kidneys, you can help to promote optimal balance and function.
The result? Less bloating, more energy, and a generally less toxic you.
A few quick tips for detoxifying the kidneys include:
- Drink water. To help your kidneys properly flush out excess waste from the body, hydration is key. A good indication of whether you’ve had enough water to drink is whether you're passing clear or pale yellow urine with little to no scent, a good sign that your body has a low concentration of toxic wastes,
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Ah, we can’t have it all. During a kidney detox, alcoholic and caffeinated beverages can set you back.
- Mind your diet: reducing your intake of sugars, sodium, animal proteins, artificial sugars, and processed foods or refined carbohydrates can help support an effective kidney cleanse. Think high-antioxidant fruits, veggies, and adaptogens, lean proteins, and supplements for kidney support.
Certain natural superfoods can have an extra beneficial effect on kidney health and support our body’s natural detoxification process. These powerful, medicinal herbs and foods can supercharge your kidney cleanse and provide ongoing support for your hard-working organs,
We’ve outlined some of the best kidney cleanse supplements, supported both in Eastern and Western medicines, to help cleanse your kidneys and support your overall well being.
The Best Kidney Cleanse Supplements
Detox supplements that can help to cleanse the kidneys include:
- Eucommia Bark: Eucommia, also known as du zhong, is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to help restore the function of the kidneys. Derived from the Eucommia tree, this bark is shown to help maintain healthy blood pressure, support kidney health, and help to support our bones and ligaments.
- Horny Goat Weed: As implied in its name, horny goat weed can help to improve libido and sexual health. This herbal medicine is said to help tonify the kidneys and aid in the treatment of prostate and urinary problems as well as support sexual health.
- Cordyceps Mushrooms: These powerful adaptogenic mushrooms have been shown to lower creatinine levels in those with kidney disease, and can help to protect kidneys from toxins.
- Goji Berry: Goji berries help to support kidney and liver functions by helping our bodies to flush toxins. These healthy berries support a kidney detox by reducing strain on the kidneys and helping to protect them from damage.
- Reishi Mushrooms: The antioxidant activity of reishi mushrooms is excellent for cleansing and supporting the kidneys. Studies have shown that reishi can help reverse and repair kidney damage and reduce inflammation of the kidneys.
- Dandelion Leaves: Long used in herbal medicine, dandelion leaves have excellent antioxidant properties that help to support any cleansing routine.
Using natural herbs and supplements to detoxify the body is an excellent measure to stay healthier and prevent disease in the long-term.
The best kidney cleanses are not done overnight - detoxifying the body and supporting our internal organs is a practice best performed over time by incorporating detoxifying supplements into your daily routine, drinking plenty of water, and committing to an active lifestyle.
Trust us, your body will thank you.