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Kidney Health

1 in 11 people will develop a kidney stone in their lifetimes; that’s 600,000 people forming new stones each year. Once you have a kidney stone, there is a 50% chance you will develop more stones within five to seven years.Once thought of  as a men’s issue, women are the fastest growing group of stone formers. High temperatures and loss of fluids can potentially lead to the formation of kidney stones. More than $4 billion is spent annually on kidney stone management and growing. There are no over-the-counter (OTC) products to help prevent the formation of kidney stones… Until Now.

YOUR KIDNEYS

Your kidneys aren’t very big—each is about the size of your fist—but they do important work. They keep you healthy by maintaining just the right balance of water and other substances inside your body. Unfortunately, if your kidneys start to malfunction, you might not realize it for some time. Kidney disease usually doesn’t make you feel sick until the problem becomes serious and irreversible.

Kidney Function

The main job of your kidneys is to filter your blood—each kidney contains about a million tiny filters that can process around 40 gallons of fluid every day. When blood passes through the kidney, the filters sift and hold onto the substances your body might need, such as certain nutrients and water. Harmful wastes and extra water and nutrients are routed to the nearby bladder and flushed away as urine.

Your kidneys also produce several hormones. These hormones help to control your blood pressure, make red blood cells, and activate vitamin D, which keeps your bones strong.

Naturally, we all lose a little of our kidney function as we get older. But when kidney function drops because of an underlying kidney disease, it’s something to be concerned about. Toxins and extra water can build up in your blood. Falling hormone production can cause other problems. About 1 in 10 adults nationwide, or about 20 million people, have at least some signs of kidney damage.

DIET TO SUPPORT HEALTHY KIDNEYS

“Most Americans eat more sodium and protein than the body needs. It’s your kidneys’ job to filter and get rid of the leftovers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Healthy kidneys can generally handle the workload. But if you have kidney damage, too much sodium and protein can have a negative effect. We generally recommend eating less sodium and more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. To reduce fats, choose lean meats and low-fat or fat-free dairy products.”

Theresa Kuracina
Registered dietitian and advisor to NIH on kidney health and nutrition

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