The Kidney: An Incredible Organ and How to Protect It

In this video, the speaker discusses the importance of kidney health and how to protect it from damage. The kidneys act as filters, removing toxins from the blood, and can regenerate in response to damage. However, as we age, we may lose up to 20% of kidney function, making it even more crucial to eat a healthy diet and reduce exposure to toxins. The speaker highlights the role of oxalates in the formation of kidney stones and suggests limiting foods high in oxalates, such as spinach and almonds. They also emphasize the importance of potassium in protecting the kidneys and recommend consuming high-potassium foods like leafy greens and avocados. Lastly, they discuss the detrimental effects of sugar and fructose on kidney health and recommend low-carb, ketogenic eating to support kidney function.

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Key Insights:

  • The kidney is a vital organ responsible for filtering blood and removing toxins.
  • Each kidney is composed of a million small filters called nephrons.
  • As we age, we start losing these filters, making it crucial to eat well and minimize exposure to toxins, drugs, and medications.
  • Oxalate stones, including calcium oxalate and uric acid stones, commonly cause kidney stone formation.
  • Foods high in oxalates, such as spinach, almonds, and sweet potatoes, should be limited to reduce the risk of kidney stones.
  • Consuming calcium with oxalate-rich foods or consuming low oxalate foods with cheese can counter the damage of oxalates on the kidneys.
  • Lemons and limes, high in citrates, can bind with oxalates and lower the risk of kidney stone formation.
  • Potassium-rich foods and potassium supplements are beneficial for kidney health and can offset the harmful effects of salt.
  • A high-carb diet, especially with excessive sugar consumption, is the leading cause of kidney damage, particularly in diabetes patients.
  • The ketogenic diet, low in carbs and high in healthy fats, can be beneficial for kidney health.
  • Adequate hydration and consuming phytonutrients, such as those found in microgreens, can protect the kidneys.


Let’s talk about the kidney and how amazing it is and how to protect it and exactly what you should be taking to minimize any type of toxicity or damage to the kidney, especially long term.

The kidney is actually very rugged, similar to the liver, in that it can take a beating but it can regenerate. Each kidney is composed of roughly about a million tiny little filters. These kidneys have to filter all day and all night long, 24/7 constantly. They filter blood, and so where does the blood come from? Well, it comes from what you eat, right? So all the food that you eat, all the junk food, all the alcohol that you drink, all the medications and drugs that you’re exposed to, all the pollution, all the plastics, end up in the blood and then they end up in the kidney. Your kidney just has to be able to differentiate what it wants to recycle and what it needs to get rid of.

There’s a high degree of complexity going on in this little filter called the Nephron. And as you age, you start losing these little filters to the point where you can actually lose up to 20% of your kidney. They can shrink as you age. So it becomes even more important that as you age, you really start eating better and are exposed to fewer toxins, drugs, and medications. Of course, that’s just the opposite as we age; we take more medications. And unfortunately, older people, especially if they end up in some type of home, are not eating the right foods.

The kidneys also make certain hormones, one being to make red blood cells, the other one is for blood pressure. But let’s dive into some things that really destroy the kidney, and there are even so-called healthy foods that are destroying the kidney, and we’ll talk about those as well.

Let’s first talk about what makes up a kidney stone because having a kidney stone can create a lot of damage to your kidney, especially because it has these little crystals that can damage and create scar tissue of the kidney itself, as well as a little tube that connects the kidney to the bladder.

Kidney stones most commonly come from what’s called oxalate stones, like calcium oxalate stones, but you can also get them in the form of uric acid stones as well. One of the most important things to do, especially if you’re prone to kidney stones, is to limit the amount of oxalates that you’re exposed to. And if you’re on the ketogenic plan, chances are you’re probably eating something right now that is very high in oxalates.

So, almonds, spinach, beet tops, peanuts, grains, beans, sweet potatoes, cassava, tapioca, which comes from cassava, kiwi, chocolate, Swiss chard, turmeric has a good amount of oxalates. However, turmeric has a lot of other properties to help decrease inflammation, as well as prevent the binding of calcium and oxalates. But also cinnamon is a bit high in oxalates, as well as clove.

The other point I want to mention about these oxalates is that they can really create some issues that go beyond just problems in the kidney. They can create arthritis as well as something called pseudogout. Gout is normally created by this uric acid crystal that’s developing, but with pseudogout, it’s not uric acid, there are some other types of crystals that are developing from calcium and also can be worsened if you have high levels of oxalates, either in the diet or your body is just making them.

One point about pseudogout is that anything that increases the excretion of too much calcium could worsen it. Interestingly enough, too much salt can cause a release of this calcium from the kidneys. So, if you currently are consuming a lot of salt and probably not enough potassium, you might want to just make a change and see if that doesn’t help you. Because, for most of the population, you can handle a lot of salt, but for a select small group of people, especially if they have gout or even pseudogout, they might do better without excessive salt. I think really the big problem is the ratio of potassium to sodium. If you had enough potassium, your salt level would be fine, but I would just recommend playing around with the dosage and start lowering the salt and raising the potassium and see if you don’t feel better.

By decreasing the salt, you’re going to be excreting calcium a lot less, and it won’t develop into crystals. The other interesting point about oxalates has to do with malabsorption in your gut. If you have malabsorption and I’m talking about damage in the gut, let’s say you have inflammation, you have Celiac or Crohn’s or irritable bowel syndrome, gastric bypass, for example, so there’s a certain level of damage in your digestive tract that doesn’t allow you to absorb certain things, especially fats. And if you’re doing like the ketogenic diet and/or even carnivore, and you have all this fat that’s coming into the gut but you can’t really absorb the fat, some of that fat is going to bind with the calcium. And that’s going to leave the oxalates free to be reabsorbed, going into your blood and ending up in a kidney.

There is this interesting connection between fat binding to calcium and then freeing up this oxalate. If you’re eating foods low in oxalates, you’d have nothing to worry about. Also, another point about that, if you’re eating foods high in oxalates and you take more calcium with it, maybe through the dairy, then you’re also protected. So, if you’re going to do some spinach dish and you had cheese with it, that might be helpful. That’s just another way to counter the damage of these oxalates on the kidney.

Since the kidney can be very sensitive to too much uric acid and oxalates, when they usually do a urine test for people with gout or kidney stones, they usually always find that there’s excessive amounts of calcium in the urine, excessive amounts of uric acid, oxalates, and there are also lower amounts of this other thing called citrates.

Now, what are citrates? Well, your body makes them. Also, you can get them from consuming citrus like lemons or limes. Citrus is really interesting because it actually binds with the oxalates in a way that prevents the calcium from binding. It can lower your risk of getting kidney stones. The thing about consuming lemons is that they’re alkaline. That’s one way to counter gout if you have too much uric acid. So, lemons are really good for the kidneys. They protect the kidney. They have potassium in there. They provide some alkalinity, but they also protect against these oxalates. Another interesting natural remedy would be apple cider vinegar. Take like a tablespoon in your water in the morning as a way to prevent stones.

Let me just kind of circle back to potassium again and talk a little bit more about that. Potassium is probably one of the best minerals to protect the kidney. People are so concerned about taking potassium because they’ve heard something that potassium is bad for the kidney. It’s only bad if you have stage five kidney disease, like end-stage kidney disease, where you would want to take potassium. But apparently, even if there is some kidney damage, potassium can be protective. Since the general population doesn’t consume a lot of potassium foods, potassium in a like electrolyte powder or just high potassium foods are very, very beneficial for the kidney, and they can help balance it.

Leafy greens, large solids, avocados, are very, very high in potassium, but so are beet leaves. Beet leaves are very high in oxalates, so you want to consume vegetables that are high in potassium but low in oxalates. Even though spinach is very high in potassium, you wouldn’t want to do it because it’s high in oxalates as well. But there are other things you can do to counter that damage. You can actually again have a little cheese with that, and that way it’ll give you the calcium to prevent some of those oxalates from binding.

But I probably didn’t talk about the most damaging thing to your kidney, which is sugar. Because the number one cause of end-stage kidney disease is diabetes, and that comes from a high carb diet. You know, it’s so interesting if you look at the flip side of that, the ketogenic diet, low carb. You might hear reports that, „Oh, the ketogenic diet is really bad for your kidneys, so you need to avoid it because you might develop ketoacidosis.“ Well, first of all, we’re always recommending the healthy version of the ketogenic diet, so you’re not going to develop ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis occurs when you’re a diabetic, and you forget to take your insulin, and you have super high levels of acidity and ketones, which you’re never going to see if you’re not a diabetic. Actually, ketones are very healthy for the kidney, and a high carb diet is not very healthy for the kidney because you’re exposing the kidney, the little filters, with so much oxidation, and that’s basically kind of rusting out the kidney. And then what happens is, once you destroy that filter, then you start seeing glucose in the urine because we’re not recycling it anymore.

One test to evaluate what’s going on with the kidneys is actually to check your blood, like your waste product of protein is called urea. So it’s called blood urea nitrogen. With kidney disease, you’ll see excessive amounts of protein in the urine, which is not good, but you also see urea, or a waste product protein, in the blood. But you also see another compound called creatinine in the urine as well in excessive amounts. That just indicates there’s another protein problem with your muscles not being handled by the kidney. But creatinine can also occur from other reasons as well because when you eat a lot of cooked meat, when you cook it, you actually convert creatine to creatinine, and that can show up in the urine as well as consuming just large amounts of protein. But typically, you’re only going to see a problem with that if your kidneys are not healthy. If your kidneys are healthy and you’re eating a lot of protein, I think you’re not going to see any problem. In fact, I really have not found any really good evidence to show that eating too much protein will do any damage to the kidney. It’s usually when someone’s eating a lot of protein and a lot of sugar at the same time.

But creatinine can also show up if there’s liver damage or even as a side effect from taking ACE inhibitors, which are medications for blood pressure, or if you’re doing heavy-duty exercise, it can show up. So, you have to be able to differentiate if it’s a kidney problem or if it’s something else.

Let’s just summarize some of the things that you can do to really keep these kidneys in check. I would do lemon water every morning. Actually, if you can squeeze a lemon, that would be best. Put it in the water, add your apple cider vinegar, drink your liquids. It’s probably a good idea, especially if you’re prone to kidney stones, to consume two and a half liters of water because kidney stones occur because there’s a super saturated amount of urine and you’re getting all these crystals developing. So, if you’re drinking enough liquids, you’re going to be fine with that.

The second point is to avoid high oxalate-type foods, and of course, there’s a lot more to talk about that, but I gave you the ones that are the most important. And if you do eat foods high in oxalates, add some dairy to it or add some calcium to counter that. And of course, a really important point is to go on the low-carb ketogenic plan with intermittent fasting.

And also, out of all the sugars, fructose, by the way, and I want to just add this to the mix, can really spike your uric acid more than a lot of other things. So fructose is really, really bad, as in high fructose corn syrup.

Also, when you’re consuming a lot of vitamin C, and I know there are some benefits of doing high levels of vitamin C for certain things, but if you’re trying to get rid of your gout or your pseudogout and you’re consuming massive amounts of vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid, well, just make some changes, cut that out for a couple of days and see if your pain doesn’t just go away.

I just wanted to include in this video a lot of different links to things that could be aggravating your condition.

Now, let’s say you are a diabetic or you have kidney damage already, there are things you can do to help protect the kidney even more, in addition to potassium. That would be consuming a lot of the phytonutrients or the antioxidants and certain plant foods, especially microgreens.

Microgreens are these little baby plants that grow a little bit more than sprouts. I recommend the ones grown in soil if you can get them because if you’re consuming microgreens compared to adult vegetables, you’re going to get some of these phytonutrients in levels that are 20 to 100 times more than the adult vegetables. So, all it takes is a small amount of these things to create a big effect. And if you’re trying to protect the kidney, this is very doable, it’s very easy, just add it to your salad, and it can help protect you.

I’m talking about the phytonutrients like sulforaphane, flavonoids, carotenoids, even chlorophyll. All of those are really good to protect the kidney. But just one last point about that, turmeric does have high levels of oxalates, so there are mixed reviews on that powerful phytonutrient.

Now that you have that information, if you have not seen my video on the seven warning signs of a toxic kidney, I put that up right here. Check it out.