Kidneys 101: Kidneys, Carpet, and Cholesterol

As I set out to write the second entry of my new blog, it is brought to light again how much the kidneys and the urinary system as a whole, are swept ‘under the carpet’ and ignored. Not like the ‘sexy’ cardiovascular, hormonal, or immune systems that get all the media attention.

…I really wanted to make this first official ‘educational and informative’ post a great one, one that you would refer to time and time again to understand the inner workings of the urinary system and kidneys. So I blew off the dust and opened up my anatomy and physiology book (I haven’t seen my ‘old friend’ since college) looking to find the urinary system.  Flicking and flicking through the book, I realised I am not going to find what I am looking for without looking at the table of contents, so I jumped to the table of contents page, and began scanning … and scanning … and scanning… Ahhh there it is, near the glossary at the back of the book. What may seem like a silly thing to comment on (as there has to be something that ends up at the back of the book), but it is just a small reminder that the urinary system is an aspect of the human body which goes widely overlooked.

…I am really passionate about making this a thing of the past. I really hope that through this blog I can, together with you, bring more awareness to kidney health on a large scale, to change some of the ingrained views of what it means to have kidney disease, and of course, the awareness that kidneys can be treated successfully time and time again, naturally.

So with that, let’s get started shall we? And start creating some healthy bodies, minds, and lives.

The Urinary System 101

The urinary system is comprised of four core components:
1.    Two kidneys: the kidneys are two fist sized organs that sit towards the back just under the ribcage. These two organs are the powerhouse of the whole operation, they are the doers, and they are responsible for all the life giving elements that are created by this finely tuned system.
2.    Two ureters: the ureters are the channels (long tubes) that take all the kidneys good work (urine) and direct it to the bladder.
3.    The bladder: is our urine storage unit. And thank god we have one. Our kidney’s produce on average 1400-1600mls of urine a day (though can range from 1000ml to 2000ml a day). That is just a tad over one millilitre a minute. Without a bladder I am sure many public situations wouldn’t go down so well without the benefit of conveniently storing it until an appropriate time to ‘relieve’ yourself. The bladder on average holds 500 – 600ml of urine.
4.    The urethera: is another channel similar to the ureters, which transports urine from the bladder to the toilet bowl during urination.

Together these four components come together to create a system that produces far more effects than simply excreting waste products from the blood. These include:
1.    Removal of wastes from the body – such as uric acid and creatinine
2.    Maintain the pH level within the body (acid-alkaline level)
3.    Regulates fluid volume
4.    Regulates electrolyte balance
5.    Maintain healthy blood pressure
6.    Red blood cell production – though the production and excretion of the hormone Erythropoietin (EPO)
7.    Reabsorption of water, glucose and amino acids
8.    Vitamin D production

And that’s just what they do directly. Imagine what you body would be like with just one of the benefits removed.

Your blood MUST maintain a very narrow pH range of 7.365 to 7.369 for your body function correctly, in fact to survive. If not, not one single other bodily process can occur. Because EVERY single biochemical process that occurs within your body is done within a fluid environment (everything from energy production to hormone production), it stands to reason that if this pH is not maintained, then the environment necessary to allow the processes simply will not be possible. Just like a flower without the right soil/drainage system the end result is death, for your body, death of cells first, then the death of your body. Cheery I know.

But simply put the urinary system is crucial, and just as much attention ought to be given to your kidney health as you do for your next cholesterol reading. But I guess that is why you are here reading this because you know this, or because you now have to know this, right? However I have some good news for you, we will be going through this together, and we will be covering a lot of content, a lot of good solid wellness content for your entire body, because your kidneys are just a reflection of your whole body health. They are one.

To YOUR Outstanding Health,
Duncan

Filed Under: Anatomy & Physiology

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About the Author: Hello, my name is Duncan Capicchiano, I am the owner and creator of KidneyCoach.com. My professional background is Naturopathy, and I am also an International Author and Researcher that specialises in the treatment and management of kidney disease. My most famous work in kidney disease is The Kidney Disease Solution Program. Lastly - but most importantly - I am the loving "father" of my two dogs Ruby and Pebbles, my horse Cossie, and husband to my beautiful wife, Fiona.

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  1. Fiona says:

    Great post, my grandmother has kidney disease and I found your blog, so I will stay posted as this info looks great. I look forward to reading more.

  2. Julie L. says:

    This is a terrific post … I found your site when I was researching the link between cholesterol and kidney disease … and discovered that it is actually better to have higher cholesterol if you have kidney disease … because this is an indication that you are not malnourished …

    Do you agree that it is not a bad sign to have elevated cholesterol when you have kidney disease?

    • Duncan says:

      Hi Julie,

      Thanks for your comments. Yes to some degree you are definitely right, one of the consquences of kidney disease it that one can become malnourished. However, there still needs to be an awareness on total cholesterol and overall health of the cardiovascular system, as this can be a contributing factor in the cause of kidney disease. Try and keep your cholesterol under 200 mg/dL (or 5.5 mmol/L), krill oil is great for this!

      Regards,
      Duncan

  3. Julie L. says:

    Thanks heaps Duncan … will check out the Krill oil when I’m done with the salmon oil capsules 🙂

  4. John says:

    Thanks for the informative site devoted to kidneys. I found your site while studying my gout symptoms. here’s my story ..

    After a very stiff awaking after Thanksgiving (for non Americans it’s a day when we eat tons of turkey and dressing laced with organ meats) I finally tied my joint pains to food, and after a web search or two I was innitiated into the world of uric acid and gout. I have read, I think, just about everything I could find about gout, interestingly the most informative comes from England. With guidance, since that day, about 8 days ago now, I have made many changes ..

    2,000 mg of vitamin C a day (not something I ever take too much of before)

    a water glass with water where I frequent in the house and office (self employed at home so that was easy)

    about once or twice a day taking about 6 oz unsweetened cranberry juice with lemon juice

    In that short period of time I’ve gone from where I would always wake up with sharp right side shoulder pain (previous injury) to that pain being almost gone entirely now! I had been having that shoullder pain for months. I think I had my first full night of relaxing sleep in ages last ngiht. So I’m cured right? ha ha.

    I haven’t seen a doc yet but I did examine my past blood tests .. uric acid was never tested so I have no idea what the reading is .. all my norms are good to great .. low blood sugers, pressure, cholestrol, etc. But I wonder if my problem wasn’t/isn’t more of a kidney/vitamin C deficency rather than purely gout. Of course, presenting any of this to my doc – he hates it when I self diagnose – will just leave him rolling his eyes.

    I have had a history of some toe pain and leg twitches I wrote off to “restless leg syndrome” (I treated with Iron supplements at the time .. ha ha) and my wife says I’m always aching somewhere and I toss and turn all night long. All that I wrote off to age. As an aside I rarely drink alcohol and never to excess, I eat pretty healthily .. not much meat .. but could always stand to eat more veggies and fruit than I do.

    So in the world of serious gout, I’m at the very bottom of the scale I guess. Pre gout which I can manage via vitamin C, water, and making sure I get enough acidic-s? But my real problem behind it all is poor kidney function even though my blood readings are acceptable. As an aside I also have had dry, itchy, flaky skin for years.

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