What Are Kidney Supplements?

S. Berger
S. Berger
Kidney supplements.
Kidney supplements.

The term kidney supplements refers to several herbs and dietary supplements that are meant to promote the general health and functioning of the kidneys. These supplements may be used in order to keep these key organs working well, or to provide symptom relief in the event of kidney disease. Manufacturers may sell single formulations that contain several of these components, but taking these supplements separately usually works equally well. Caution and a doctor's permission should be used when taking kidney supplements, however, since some herbs, plants, and chemical compounds can actually be harmful to the these organs, even when marketed as being safe, or even beneficial.

Horsetail is an herb that assists in urination and may help the body clear kidney stones.
Horsetail is an herb that assists in urination and may help the body clear kidney stones.

Carnitine is an amino acid compound normally made in the kidneys, and is stored in various sites in the body, where it assists in the process of converting fat into muscle tissue. Kidney disease can lead to insufficient carnitine levels in the body, and doctors may recommend taking this supplement in order to restore the body to proper functioning. This compound helps to reduce damage to the body from free radicals, which can also serve to promote kidney health.

Fish oil can help promote good kidney health.
Fish oil can help promote good kidney health.

Another one of the important kidney supplements that have been assessed by the medical community is eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). EPA, a type of fish oil, can help to reduce inflammation from some disorders, and promotes healthy blood vessel function. Doctors may recommend taking it in capsule form, at doses of around 220 milligrams (mg) per day, or by eating cold-water fish two to three times every week. Some levels of EPA can interact with other medications, however, and can cause loose stools.

Grape seed is one of the more popular kidney supplements. This has traditionally been used to treat pain and inflammation, along with other kidney disease symptoms, and may also help to reduce oxidative damage from free radicals. It may be obtained by eating grapes, or by taking extracts approved as dietary supplements.

Other types of kidney supplements that could prove helpful include horsetail, zinc, and lemon juice. Horsetail is an herb that assists in urination and may help the body clear kidney stones. Zinc, an essential mineral, may help to alleviate some kidney disease symptoms. Lemon juice, direct from the fruit, may help prevent kidney stones from forming, as well as break down stones that have already formed. Finally, a diet rich in vitamins such as B, C, and E can do much to ensure that the body functions well even in the presence of organ problems.

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Discussion Comments

umbra21

@bythewell - I agree with you about the diet, and I think people do take too many supplements sometimes, but I don't think they are all bad. There are some, like fish oil, which have been shown to work and you don't need to ask your doctor to know that.

For the kidneys, I would argue that cranberry remedies are worth taking if you know you get infections. There are also some teas that can be good for the kidneys.

They are mostly for bladder infections I think, but they definitely help with the kidneys as well. There's nothing shady about it, just a natural remedy that's been shown to work over thousands of years. As long as you pick and choose and act with skepticism, you should be all right with kidney supplements.

bythewell

@Mor - I would argue that it's better to just follow a balanced diet, possibly take a balanced vitamin supplement (if you must, although a balanced diet will usually provide everything you need) and if you seem to have any specific problems with your kidneys, to see a doctor about it.

I think people get caught up in the idea of a quick and easy, all natural fix. But, doctor medicines aren't any different from herbal supplements, they work in the same ways and in some cases, come from the same plant. The only difference is, a doctor is more trustworthy than the guys who are giving you sugar pills and taking your money.

Mor

I would be very careful about using supplements that have not been proved to help by scientific testing.

Fish oil, for example, has been shown to help all kinds of systems in the body, including the kidneys.

But there are others which can be offered, particularly online with no testing at all.

At best, these might help only a little, or not at all. At worst, they might actually damage your kidneys, which are particularly vulnerable to poisons and toxins that enter the body.

And even with vitamins and supplements that have been tested, be sure to follow the instructions. More is not always better, and in some cases you can easily overdose on your supplements.

Just be careful and make sure you do a lot of research.

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    • Kidney supplements.
      Kidney supplements.
    • Horsetail is an herb that assists in urination and may help the body clear kidney stones.
      Horsetail is an herb that assists in urination and may help the body clear kidney stones.
    • Fish oil can help promote good kidney health.
      Fish oil can help promote good kidney health.