Bits & Bites #208 - Health: TCM: Kidney (and Western Medical Tests) and Liver (and Eye Colour)

Sunday, 5 August 2018

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Main functions of kidney:

1. Filter the blood and remove wastes such as BUN and creatinine (refer below).

2. Control body's fluid balance and regulate balance of electrolytes:

(a) Calcium : Phosphorus should be in the ratio of 2 : 1.
If the presence of calcium is too high, it will cause calcification and hardening of arteries, leading to strokes or heart attacks.

(b) Natrium (Sodium) : Potassium
When the level of potassium is higher, it can eliminate excessive sodium and thus keep the blood pressure down.

(c) pH value is maintained at 7.35 - 7.45.

3. Produce renin to regulate blood pressure.

4. Produce erythropoietin (EPO) hormones which promote the formation of red blood cells by the bone marrow.


Causes of kidney damage:

Drugs/medication, including usage of viagra.
Cold drinks. Drinking tap water (even though it is filtered) contributes to weakening the kidney (because it is yin in nature). It is better to drink boiled water.
- Too much sex.
Salty food.
High blood pressure is one of the most common causes of kidney failure. That's because it can damage the arteries leading into the kidney and the glomeruli within the kidneys. Damage to either results in the kidney unable to effectively filter waste from the blood. As a result, dangerous levels of fluids and wastes can accumulate, ultimately requiring dialysis or kidney transplant.
- Infection or inflammation and auto-immune diseases e.g. SLE.
- Obstruction of urinary tract due to enlarged prostate or kidney stones.


Some symptoms of weakening kidney:

Purplish coloured tongue.
Blood pressure reading is high, but the person feels normal. This is not due to hypertension disease. Rather, when the body is cold, the blood vessels constrict, hence blood pressure shoots up. ACE is the enzyme that controls our blood pressure. When you are cold, adrenal glands release ACE, which alerts your body to preserve the warmth by constricting the blood vessels, which increases blood pressure.
Needle-like pain at the sole of the feet.
- Body feels very cold or very hot. Under TCM theory, kidney is the body organ that adjusts the body temperature. When the kidney weakens, the body temperature can fluctuate out of control and you will suddenly feel too hot alternating with too cold.
- Reduced amount of urine despite drinking a lot of water, due to water retention problem - causing swelling of the legs, ankles and feet.
- Unexplained shortness of breath.
- Excessive drowsiness or fatigue.
- Persistent nausea, confusion, pain or pressure in the chest.
- Darker skin tone on the face.
- Limbs are weak - cannot stand for long.


Western medical tests on kidney usually focus on checking:

(i) The kidney's ability to filter urea nitrogen (blood urea nitrogen (BUN) test). The liver produces ammonia (which contains nitrogen) after it breaks down protein. It forms urea (a chemical waste product) which travels from the liver to the kidney. A healthy kidney will filter the urea and remove it from the blood and pass out through urine. A BUN test indicates a person has kidney problem if the BUN reading is high. Normal range is 7 - 20 mg/dL (2.5 - 7.1 mmol/L).

(ii) Creatinine is a waste product from protein in your diet and normal breakdown of muscles in your body. People with kidney disease will have a higher level of creatinine in the blood. If creatinine is not eliminated, you will start to feel muscle aches. Normal range is 0.7 - 1.3 mg/dL for men and 0.6 - 1.1 mg.dL for women.

(iii) GFR (glomerular filtration rate) test estimates how well the kidney is filtering blood (through glomerulus) to remove wastes and extra water. If the filtration capability good, your kidney function is considered good. A GFR over 60 mL/min/1.73m2 is adequate. GFR below 15 indicates kidney failure.

(iv) Uric acid test. People with weak kidney should not eat too much high uric acid food such as anchovies, peanuts, beans and internal organs. Normal range is 3.4-7 mg/dL for men and 2.4-6 mg/dL for women.


When your HDL cholesterol level is high, it is a positive sign.
It means your blood vessels are clean, and
- It is easier for the blood to carry oxygen and nutrients to all the body organs.
- When the organs are healthy, they can fully absorb all the nutrients.
- The kidneys don't have to work so hard to filter out the waste materials.
- Your blood pressure is lower.
- You will have a longer life.


Your health from your Eyes:

a) Clear demarkation between the black and white of eye - liver is healthy.
b) Bluish rim around black of eye - arteriosclerosis (hardening of arteries).
c) Lines all along iris - stress.
d) Yellowish layer on top of black of eye - high cholesterol. Feel heat on top of scalp when under the sun. Tend to doze off easily.
e) Blood stains on white of eye - liver heat and cannot sleep well.
f) Yellowish on white of eye - liver not healthy as cannot metabolise bilirubin. Also indication of fatty liver problem (liver is losing its function to eliminate oil).


The liver plays a critical role in metabolising uric acid, calcium etc before the kidney can pass them out through urine. If the functions of either the kidney or liver deteriorate and they have problem processing these chemicals, the uric acid will build up inside the body causing gout whereas calcium build-up in the blood will cause stones. Hence it is critical to maintain the detox ability of the liver and kidney.


If the liver is damaged, it is easier for Lingzhi to help repair the damage and generate new liver cells. Yung Kien Ganoderma has been accredited with liver protection ability by the Taiwan's Ministry of Health.
However, if the kidney is damaged, it is more difficult to rescue. It is harder for Lingzhi to help regrow new kidney cells.

This post is part of a weekly series sharing Bits of mishmash on health, my business and life in general, which I find inspirational, enlightening or enriching. And Bites of delicious food I have enjoyed.

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