The main function of the kidneys is to excrete toxins and waste products that accumulate in the blood. High blood pressure, diabetes or a family history of kidney failure put one in three Americans at an increased risk of developing kidney disease because this main function is NOT FUNCTIONING at its intended capacity. Even if you don’t have any of those risk categories, it’s important to take care of these critically important organs.
The kidneys perform 7 functions, so they are working hard to keep your body in balance and you healthy. An adult kidney is ONLY from 4 to 5 inches, yet it manages to be the powerhouse of the body, tackling everything that comes it way. An amazing organ, and one that should be taken care on a daily basis.
The protocols at HBH are designed to make sure the kidneys are always supported during any program you select. The MINISTER OF POWER has been formulated to not only support the kidneys but also the adrenals, with added support for the lungs, livers and a boost for the immune system.
Below we list the key functions the kidneys perform and how critical their roles are in being able to excrete toxins and waste products thus cleansing the blood and providing you good health.
- Urine Formation
- Acid/Base (pH) Balance
- Blood Volume and Pressure
- Fluid and Electrolyte (salt) Balance
- Waste Excretion
- Hormone Secretions and Red Blood Cell Production
- Vitamin D Utilization and Bone Health
What the Functions do:
1. Urine Formation
Through the formation of urine, the kidneys are able to one of the most important detoxification organs in the body. The formation of urine involves, filtration, re-absorption and secretion.
Filtration- The kidneys filter water and dissolved substances (sodium, nutrients, glucose) out of the blood.
Re-absorption- Water and dissolved substances are separated from waste products in the urine and then filtered back into the blood system for use.
Secretion- Toxic waste products such as hydrogen ions, potassium ions, and drugs are secreted into the urine for excretion.
2. Acid/Base (pH) Balance
The kidneys play a primary role in maintaining acid base balance in the body by selecting which ions to retain and which ones to excrete. This allows the body's total acid burden to be constant, as the urine's acidity fluctuates to accommodate the balance. If the blood is too acidic, meaning that there is an excess of hydrogen ions, the kidney moves these ions to the urine.
The kidneys help to maintain the blood plasma at a neutral pH 7.4. By regulating the body's pH, the kidneys help to maintain an environment, which prevents diseases from inhabiting the body and promotes the efficient functioning of all bio-systems.
3. Blood Volume and Pressure
The kidneys meticulously adjust the volume and concentration of the urine to accommodate changes in the body, including variations in your daily food and beverage intake. These adjustments on whether to retain or release substances or water come from ADH (antidiuretic hormone), renin, angiotensin and aldosterone. Therefore, the kidneys are a vital component to maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.
ADH and Water Retention: When blood volume or pressure falls too low, or when the fluid outside our cells becomes too concentrated, the pituitary gland releases ADH. ADH tells the kidneys to reabsorb water and increase urine concentration. Consequently, if you are dehydrated, the kidneys will excrete less water.
Renin and Sodium Retention: When blood pressure gets too low, an enzyme called renin is released. Renin causes the kidneys to reabsorb sodium, which causes water retention. This restores normal blood pressure and volume.
Angiotensin and Blood Vessel Constriction: Renin also activates angiotensin, which is a powerful vasoconstrictor. Meaning it will cause blood vessels to constrict, increasing blood pressure.
Aldosterone and Sodium
Retention: When angiotensin is released, it stimulates the release of the hormone aldosterone from the adrenal glands. Aldosterone tells the kidneys to retain more sodium and therefore water, restoring normal blood pressure in the body.
4. Fluid and Electrolyte (salt) Balance
The kidneys control the body's water content through the "water-retaining hormone" ADH (antidiuretic hormone). If ADH is present, the body decreases the amount of urine formed and therefore less water is lost. If ADH is not present, the amount of urine formed increases, and more water is lost. This is a very delicate balancing act.
The control of electrolytes (salt) is monitored through the hormone Aldosterone (salt and water retaining hormone). If sodium is low, aldosterone stimulates the kidneys to reabsorb sodium, therefore increasing water reabsorption, and decreasing water lost from urine. Therefore, any dysfunction in the kidneys can cause symptoms such as water retention and edema.
5. Waste Excretion
The main function of the kidneys is to excrete toxins and waste products that accumulate in the blood. Therefore, the kidneys are a blood cleanser. One of their main jobs is excreting nitrogenous waste products, such as ammonia and urea, which are byproducts of protein breakdown. If the kidneys are not functioning properly, often due to high intakes of animal proteins, their ability to filter out these toxins is greatly reduced. This leads to problems such as gout and kidney stones.
6. Hormone Secretions and Red Blood Cell Production
One very important hormone produced by the kidney is called erythropoietin. It plays a key role in the production of red blood cells in the bone marrow as well as hemoglobin. It also plays a role in smooth muscle fiber proliferation; wound healing and can increase iron absorption.
When the kidney detects that the number of red blood cells in the body is declining, it produces erythropoietin. This hormone is released into the bloodstream and goes to the bone marrow. This triggers the production and release of more red blood cells.
7. Vitamin D Utilization and Bone Health
When the body comes into contact with sunlight, the UVB wavelengths react with 7dehydrocholesterol, a precursor from cholesterol. This reaction forms the provitamin, Vitamin D3. In order for this provitamin to be utilized as Vitamin D, it must go through two reactions, one with the liver and one with the kidneys. Therefore, it is a vital job of the kidney to maintain healthy vitamin D levels in the body. Once vitamin D is activated by the kidneys, it acts as a hormone, promoting bone growth and maintenance by maintaining blood concentrations of calcium and phosphorus.