Using Protein For The Prevention And Treatment of Kidney Disease

Using Protein For The Prevention And Treatment of Kidney Disease

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The health of our kidneys is not something that should be taken lightly. There are a number of serious diseases and conditions directly related to the kidneys, and some of them are even life threatening. One way to help prevent the onset of kidney disease, or to treat a kidney condition that is already there, is by eating a healthy, well-balanced diet that is rich in protein.

What Is The Role of The Kidneys?

Although they are relatively small organs (only about four inches each in length and weighing less than a pound when weighed together), the kidneys play a vital role in our health, even our survival. The kidneys perform an extremely important function in our bodies: filtering waste and excess fluids from the blood. In fact, the kidneys filter more than half of the fluids digested by the body, releasing as much as two quarts of fluid (urine) each day, and process more than 18 gallons of blood every hour of the day.

Diseases And Other Conditions of The Kidneys

There are a number of serious conditions that affect the kidneys, including kidney stones, hypertension and diabetes. Many of these conditions, if left untreated, can lead to chronic kidney disease (CKD), a condition that affects 26 million Americans. This condition can eventually lead to kidney failure if the patient does not follow the proper course of treatment, which includes eating a healthy, protein-rich diet.

Kidney Stones

One of the most commonly heard of conditions with the kidneys is kidney stones, a very painful condition. There are many ways that kidney stones are caused, and they are formed by a variety of crystals. The majority of patients with this condition are Caucasian men 40 to 70 years of age, and the condition is more common if the patient has a family history of kidney stones and other kidney conditions.

There is a chemical process in most people which prevents crystals from sticking together and forming clumps, which amount to a hard mass located in the urinary tract. As the mass grows, the condition becomes more and more painful, causing the sufferer much discomfort when urinating. Although most kidney stones will pass through the body quite easily on their own, some kidney stones can grow large enough that they will actually block the urinary tract, requiring emergency medical treatment.

There are a number of different types of kidney stones, from the calcium oxalate stone to the phosphate oxalate stone. Rarer forms of kidney stones include the struvite stone and the cystine stone. Conditions that can cause kidney stones include gout, too much vitamin D in the system, using diuretics, and a urinary tract blockage. Some inherited conditions that can lead to kidney disease are:

Hypercalcuria – This is a buildup of calcium in the body, and is the cause of as much as 50 percent of all kidney stones.

Cystinuria – This is a rare, inherited metabolic condition that causes the buildup of cystine, an amino acid that is created when proteins are broken down in the digestive process.

Hyperoxaluria – This is another inherited metabolic condition which is directly related to a calcium oxalate (a salt) buildup in the blood.

Can Protein Help Renal Conditions Such As Kidney Stones?

This is a question that has conflicting answers. On one hand, having enough protein in our diets is obviously a good choice, but, just like anything else, when using protein to treat kidney conditions, moderation is key. In order to maintain good kidney health (and great overall health in general), we need to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet with the proper amounts of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, sugars, etc. When we eat such a diet, we not only lower our risk of kidney disease, but we also lower the risk of developing high blood pressure and numerous other health conditions. Often, having too much protein in our diets (more than 35% of our daily caloric intake) can have adverse effects on our kidneys, and a number of conditions can develop.

Before we discuss how protein can affect CKD, let’s look at what protein actually is. Protein is a macronutrient that is made up of strings of amino acids. There are 22 amino acids that the body must have in order to function, eight essential amino-acids, and 14 non-essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are named so because they are needed by the body, which is unable to produce them on its own. These amino acids are leucine, lysine, valine, tryptophan, threonine, methionine, isoleucine, and phenylalanine.

Getting The Protein You Need

It is a simple thing to make some changes in your diet in order to live a long and healthy life. You need protein, but you also need to know how much protein is enough for your body. This is why you should consult with your physician before beginning a high-protein, or any other type of diet.

There are a number of delicious dietary sources of protein, including meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk products, nuts, and whole grains that are healthy to add to any diet. But, if you are not getting enough protein, you can still get what you need by using protein supplements, either included with your meals, or used as meal replacements. One terrific supplement is Profect, made by Protica. This supplement is less than 100 calories per serving, and comes in great tasting flavors, including Grapefruit-Mango, Orange-Pineapple, and Passion Fruit.

How To Know How Much Is Enough Protein

According to the American Heart Association, the amount of protein digested daily by the average adult should be no more than 35% of their total daily caloric intake. Your physician can advice you how much protein is good for you, and there is also a way that you can make your own estimation.

Most average adults require .8 grams of protein for each kilogram of their body weight daily. This number, when combined with a number of other factors, including age, level of health, and level of activity, can help you figure out how much protein you need in your diet. For example, if you are an active person, you can have a little bit more protein in your diet, because you will work it off. But, if you are more of a couch potato, your body may only require half of what the average person usually needs.

The following is a formula you can use to figure out how much protein you need: divide your weight (in pounds) by 2.2, which will give you your metric weight. Then, multiply this number by .4 if you are a couch potato, .5 to .8 if you are somewhat active, and .8 to 1 if you are quite active. If you are a bodybuilder, you may require 1.2 to 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.


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