Well. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. I mention in my book recovery from Long Covid isn’t natural – your entire system is being attacked, all at once. It keeps you on your toes – you think, “oh my goodness, it’s my liver!” (and it is!) but suddenly, surprise! it’s your pancreas – then your heart – then your nervous system… etc. Well, now, for me, apparently it’s my kidneys. Very, very serious; as with most vital organs, you don’t want to mess around. But I will say, scary as it is to confront “well, my kidneys are inflamed…” by now I have a method; I have a “how to.”
I start by trying to, as best as I can, understand what’s happening – not necessarily why (if I can understand that, great – then my work would be done!), just what. What’s going wrong – where, and how. In this instance, my kidneys appear to be inflamed. They hurt, sometimes like crazy. They showed up on a sonogram as being inflamed. Not good. And, at this juncture, I’m pretty sure I partly know why – because of the spike and autoimmune poisoning that’s going on and clogging the renal functions.
The short story is that your Liver and Kidneys are the main components to your blood filtration system. Your Liver is stop #1, and filters a bunch of stuff (and sends whatever it filters into your stool), and whatever it doesn’t filter it sends back into the blood stream for your kidneys to pick up and filter (into your urine). Ergo, certain things (e.g. salt, potassium – but we’ll get there) make your kidney “work” harder, because that’s the main filtration junction for those things.
Anyways. Once I seem to be on the right track – it’s not kidney stones, it’s not (fill in the blank) – it’s good ol’ familiar spike and blood platelet-autoimmune poisoning, then it’s time to get to work: what do I have to do to relieve stress on the kidneys and allow my body to reduce the inflammation on them and let them heal?
Just a reminder: this is me, and it’s Long Covid – not kidney stones, or some specific well-known kidney condition. Basically, with Long Covid, it’s just nasty inflammation (as far as I can tell) that, if left uncurbed, could cause nasty lifelong scarring and damage. In other words: some of this may or may not be applicable to other kidney conditions.
Thus far, in no particular order, here’s what I’ve found.
- Dr Ken Berry has some fantastic videos about his experience with diets that help (and other diets that hurt!) kidney failure. Also, some of the more recent research that helps contextualize some of what you might be (e.g. “stay away from proteins!” etc.) Vid 1, Vid 2, Vid 3, Vid 4, Vid 5
- I found this video helpful as well (also this one)
- In terms of brining down blood sugar, this video was helpful for understanding fasting
- This guy’s stuff is always good, although I think honey gives me trouble. But especially with (unrelated) sinus stuff, this guy’s channel is awesome. Also this video (again, to bring down blood glucose – short story is drink ACV 2x daily, right after waking and right before bed [incidentally, case in point about being careful because everything’s injured – I apparently burned my stomach lining by not diluting the ACV enough. Ouch. I’d dilute this stuff pretty heavily.)
- This was helpful as well – but personally I truncated it from 5 minutes to about 30 seconds; for me 5 minutes was too much
- Lastly, this was a good general overview of how Kidneys work
I’m sure you’ll be able to find some other ones that are helpful – but those were the most helpful to me. I’d like to emphasize bringing your blood sugar down – although at first you might not think it’s “kidney” related, it certainly is – more and more I keep stumbling on connections between kidney malfunction/inflammation and excess glucose levels (not to mention other vital organs as well, so there’s that).
Very helpful things thus far:
- Hot pad. I finally just spent $20 for a new hot pad with an auto timed shutoff (30-60-120 minutes, etc), and it’s been HUGE. But, I hot pad especially in the evenings, around 7pm, when the kidneys seem to hurt the most, and it helps alot.
- Hot bath: speaking of 7pm, if I’m not hot padding, it’s because I’m probably hot-bathing instead; helps relieve the kidneys a lot. Especially the “weightless” factor + the heat seems to be great for them, and calm them down.
- Supplements: I’ll get to supplements in a minute, but just know that supplements can be SUPER hard on kidneys – supplements that you’d normally think are HEALTHY (e.g. vitamin C, etc.) I’d personally stop all supplements until you study each one (and I include my assessment below), and careful take only the minimal supplements. More work for the kidneys = more inflammation. Just like you wouldn’t jog on a sprained ankle, you don’t bomb your kidneys with supplements.
- Minimize stress – noise, screens, intense movies, news/social media, etc.
- Fasting: not extreme, but fasting takes down inflammation like a pro. If you’re already fasting, I did 16-18/24 (i.e. 16 hours of not eating) but if you’re not already fasting you’ll definitely want to start at less and ramp up.
- Last but not least: sitting up straight. I’ve noticed that any slouching (or sitting in comfy chairs that curve the back) seems super tough on my kidneys. Sitting on harder chairs that force you to sit up seem to be easier on the kidneys, at least for me. Oh well. It’s good for me.
The basics of Kidney diet, as far as I can tell from studying and trial-and-error, consists of keeping an eye on the following, in the order of most to least important:
- Potassium: For me, this is where I felt the biggest difference. When I accidentally forgot that carrots and spinach are high in potassium – OUCH. Bad kidneys. Here’s the tough part – if you’re used to eating healthy, pretty much anything that’s not meat has high potassium. So. You’re stuck eating about 4 things. Tough. Watch the potassium – but don’t cut it completely. You need some. I don’t know exactly how much I had, but I’d space it out and minimize it – but again, some. Two or three dates. 1/2 scoop of electrolyte powder… and maybe a little bit here and there (balsamic vinegar or whatnot) and that’s about it.
- Supplements: supplements are – can be – super tough on your kidneys. Here’s my chart for supplements that I followed:
Again – just my take based on looking each of them up. Your mileage may vary.
3. Salt: a big one. I started with no salt, and I started to get light headed, etc. – I wouldn’t recommend that. I started to just lightly salt meals, once per meal (sad – I’m a huge salt fan), and that seemed just fine. I’d also stay away from white table salt, as it has additives that are apparently extra-hard on kidneys (aluminum) not to mention other areas.
4. Low Protein: for a looooong time, this was the big shtick, that you needed to stay super low proteins to go easy on your kidneys. Apparently this is no longer the cutting edge – go reasonably easy on protein, don’t go crazy, but in general you don’t need to skip out on protein. I wound up eating chicken for a week or two, because chicken is so low-nutrient, I figured it’d be easy on everyone (I did also eat venison, etc.). Note that although protein in your urine is a bad sign, that doesn’t necessarily mean that protein caused that to happen – which is what they concluded for a while.
So: Until I burned my stomach lining from not-diluted-enough ACV shots 2x daily, this was basically the food pool that I personally ate from:
- Meat (especially chicken, being the lowest nutrient-dense meat – but organic, because you really want to minimize toxins here!)
- No more than 1 can of tuna per day (be careful if you have a histamine problem – also, canned tuna has salt)
- Honey (again, I have to be careful with honey, bc my stomach and gut are ripped up from celiac etc. – honey is great stuff, but it also promotes cellular apoptosis [which is good, but all things in moderation…])
- Brocolli (not too much)
- Fats (grass fed lard, tallow, coconut oil, etc.)
- Sauerkraut (the real stuff, homemade – easy, look it up! Storebought doesn’t even compare; I can tell a huge difference. Also prevents constipation because the enzymes in real sauerkraut rip things up.)
- Mushrooms (especially many and varied kinds)
- I’m pretty limited because of celiac and autoimmune stuff, but even if you’re not, I’d stick to the AIP diet to keep inflammation down to a minimum (this is a great guide).
- Some salt, potassium, electrolytes – you’re (hopefully!) not at stage 4-5 kidney failure, and you still need this stuff!
No-no items to be very careful of:
- Pretty much anything healthy fruit or veggie lol – it’ll be high in potassium, e.g…
- Dried fruit
- Canned anything (salt)
- Supplements (as noted previously)
EXPECT A BORING DIET. Life without salt (for me anyways) is a bit like life without light, it just doesn’t cut it. Oh well.
I might also consider porcine enzymes to give your panky a break if you need that – but again, don’t overdo it.