by Marcie Martinez
Nature’s Presence is a column that shares its name with my web site and gives a nod first to nature’s presence all around us and, second, to the gifts (presents) that nature has given us for optimal health. Expect to read about various concepts relating to natural healing and tips for looking to nature to enjoy whole health and well being. For a more detailed look into natural healing concepts you may find my blog at http://naturespresence.net. I created this column in the hopes of “getting back to our roots” as well as helping others find ultimate health in this crazy world of pharmaceuticals and fast food. Here’s to your health!
Disclaimer: The information in this column is intended for informational and educational purposes only. If you require medical attention it is imperative that you seek medical advice from a competent practitioner.
VITAMIN D AND KIDNEY HEALTH
As of a few years ago my mom had been seeing a kidney specialist in Santa Fe to treat the decline in her kidney function. I think my siblings and I just always assumed the doctors would take care of her and we didn’t have to worry about it. Eventually it became obvious to me that I should accompany her on the visits to figure out what was going on and if there was any hope for improvement. The doctor she had at the time was very soft-spoken and, judging from her last name and accent, hailed from Romania. On more than one visit it was apparent to me that the doctor did not seem to be treating my mother at all. My mother has a mind of her own and even if the doctor “orders” something she generally will use her own understanding of things to determine whether she should do it or not. One such issue had to do with her high blood pressure (BP).
The doctor recommended she get on medication but my mother refused, understanding that pharmaceuticals generally cause more harm than good and are typically just a Band-Aid to the problem. Doctor did not explain the importance of reducing her BP and how it was necessary for her condition. She also did not explain the importance of things like a healthy diet, exercise and being well hydrated. After the second visit I attended I requested to see her lab work. It was clear that she had a low level of vitamin D. The doctor did not mention this during the visit but did call back and prescribe the activated form of the vitamin to attempt to correct the issue.
When I saw this I embarked on a major research study of this vitamin, and others, to determine their importance in the body and, specifically, the kidneys. What I discovered was profound. Vitamin D is vital to overall health, especially that of the kidneys. The kidney and liver are the organs that convert the vitamin D from the sun to the activated form the body needs. When kidney function declines so does this function and thus no matter how much sun your body is receiving it might not be properly synthesized. Also, vitamin D is vital to regulating BP. High BP can further cause damage to the kidneys. In essence a lack of D and high BP results in a downward spiral for the kidneys.
Unfortunately many people have no idea what their D levels are because it is not typically ordered by doctors and, due to the cost, insurance generally only covers one such test per year. In the meantime the mainstream is constantly harping on people to use sunscreen, which obviously reduces your exposure to sun and thus vitamin D. Also, the so-called optimal range as prescribed by the medical establishment is broad (30 – 100 ng/ml), the low end being very low thus if one is on the low end or the cusp, chances are they are D deficient. Dr. Mercola discusses this at length on his website. It would seem the true optimal level would be closer to 100 ng/ml. To add insult to injury, many pharmaceutical medications are known to either cause kidney (and liver) decline or exacerbate it.
Due to the fact that the doctor was not emphasizing these important issues I began seeking other nephrologists to take over her treatment. I remembered a colleague and friend had told me his son, who was a classmate and friend of mine, went on to medical school to become a nephrologist. I was able to contact Dr. Leonard Romero of Renal Associates in Albuquerque and Mom has been seeing him ever since. He is one of the best doctors I have ever had the pleasure of observing. Between my giving her literature regarding her health and the time he spends explaining things to her my mother has taken more control of her own health.
It was this vitamin D discovery that led my mother to suggest I blog about natural health (I had no idea she knew about blogging!), which I did, and it resulted in a full-fledged passion for natural healing. You can find the blog at http://naturespresence.net, in which I go into much more detail regarding vitamin D and other issues. More on this in the future!