Dangers of Dehydration and The Importance of Kidney Cleansing
By Andreas Moritz
The human body is composed of 75 percent water and 25 percent solid matter. To provide nourishment, eliminate waste and regulate all the functions in the body, we need water. Most modern societies, however, no longer stress the importance of drinking water as the most important “nutrient” among all nutrients. Entire population groups are substituting water with tea, coffee, alcohol and other manufactured beverages. Many people don’t realize that the natural thirst signal of the body is a sign that it requires pure, plain drinking water. Instead, they opt for other beverages in the belief that this would satisfy the body’s water requirements. This is a false belief.
It is true that beverages such as tea, coffee, wine, beer, soft drinks and juices contain water but they also contain caffeine, alcohol, sugar, artificial sweeteners or other chemicals that act as strong dehydrators. The more you drink these beverages, the more dehydrated you become because the effects they create in the body are exactly opposite to the ones that are produced by water. Caffeine containing beverages, for example, trigger stress responses that have strong diuretic effects (causing increased urination, at first). Beverages with added sugar drastically raise blood sugar levels, which uses up large quantities of cellular water, too. Regular consumption of such beverages results in chronic dehydration, which is a common factor in every toxicity crisis.
There is no practical or rational reason to treat an illness (toxicity crisis) with synthetic drugs or even with natural medications and methods unless the body’s need for hydration has been met first. Drugs and other forms of medical intervention can be dangerous for the human physiology largely because of their dehydrating effects. Most patients today are suffering from “thirst disease,” a progressive state of dehydration in certain areas of the body. Unable to remove toxins from these parts due to insufficient water supply, the body is faced with the consequences of their destructive effects. The lack of recognition of the most basic aspects of water metabolism in our body can be held responsible for seeing a disease when it really is the body’s urgent cry for water.
Those who have lived for many years without proper water intake are the most likely to succumb to the build-up of toxins in the body. Chronic disease is always accompanied by dehydration and, in many cases, caused by dehydration. The longer a person lives on a low water ration and/or on a high ration of stimulating beverages or foods, the more severe and long lasting is the toxicity crisis. Heart disease, obesity, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, stomach ulcers, hypertension, cancer, MS, Alzheimer’s, and many other chronic forms of disease are precipitated by years of “body drought.” Infectious aDgents such as bacteria and viruses cannot thrive in a well-hydrated body. Drinking enough water is therefore one of the most important preventives for any disease.
People who do not drink enough water or unduly deplete their body’s water reserves through overstimulation for a period of time gradually lower the ratio of the volume of water that exists inside the cells to the ratio of volume of water that is found outside the cells. Under dehydrated conditions, the cells may lose up to 28% or more of their water volume. This certainly undermines all cellular activities, whether they occur in skin cells, stomach cells, liver cells, kidney cells or heart cells. Whenever there is cellular dehydration, metabolic waste products are retained, causing symptoms that resemble disease but in truth are nothing but signs of disturbed water metabolism. Since more and more water begins to accumulate outside the cells, the dehydration may not be apparent to the afflicted person; he may in fact notice that he retains water, leading to swelling of his legs, feet, arms and face. Also his kidneys may begin to hold on to water, markedly reducing urinary secretion and causing retention of harmful waste material. Even the enzymes and proteins living in the dehydrated cells become so inefficient that they are no longer able to recognize the dehydrated state of the body; they fail to set off the “thirst alarm.”
Demetria, a 53-year-old Greek woman consulted me to find relief for a painful condition of gallbladder disease. Her skin was dark gray, indicating a high concentration of toxins in her liver and throughout her body. Seeing how dehydrated (and swollen) her body was, I offered her a glass of water. She said: “I never drink water, it makes me sick!” I told her that her natural thirst signals no longer worked because of cellular dehydration and that without drinking water her body could not return to balance. Any water she would drink would instantly be used to remove some of the toxins lurking in her stomach, giving rise to nausea. In her case, any other therapy than drinking water would have been a waste of time and money.
A dehydrated person may also suffer from lack of energy. Due to the shortage of water inside the cell the normal osmotic flow of water through the cell membrane becomes disrupted or severely disturbed. Like in a stream, the movement of water into the cells generates “hydroelectric” energy, which is subsequently stored in form of ATP molecules (the main source of cellular energy). Normally, the water we drink keeps the cell volume balanced and the salt we eat maintains the balanced volume of water that is held outside the cells and in circulation; this generates the right osmotic pressure necessary for cellular nourishment and energy production. During dehydration, this basic process is undermined.
The Pain Connection
Another major indicator of dehydration in the body is pain. In response to increasing water shortage, the brain activates and stores the important neurotransmitter histamine, which directs certain subordinate water regulators to redistribute the amount of water that is in circulation. This system helps move water to areas where it is needed for basic metabolic activity and survival (from drought). When histamine and its subordinate regulators for water intake and distribution come across pain-sensing nerves in the body, they cause strong and continual pain. These pain signals, as they manifest, for example, in rheumatoid arthritis, angina, dyspepsia, low back problems, neuralgia, migraine, and hangover headaches, etc., are necessary to alert the person to attend to the problem of general or local dehydration.
Taking analgesics or other pain relieving medications such as antihistamines or antacids can cause irreversible damage in the body. They not only fail to address the real problem (which may be dehydration) but they also cut the connection between the neurotransmitter histamine and its subordinate regulators such as vasopressin, Renin-Angiotensin (RA), prostaglandin (PG), and kinins. Although the action of the pain killing drugs can relieve local pain for a while, they nevertheless stop the body from knowing the priority areas for water distribution, adding confusion to all its functions. Antihistamines — also known as allergy drugs – effectively prevent the body’s histamines from ensuring balanced water distribution.
In addition to jeopardizing the water regulating mechanisms, after reaching a certain pain threshold, painkillers become ineffective because the brain takes over as a direct center for monitoring pain perpetuation (unless of course the body is hydrated again). If the body produces pain out of its own accord (not caused through an injury), this should first be interpreted as a cry for water. The use of painkillers, which suppress this cardinal signal of chronic and local dehydration in the body and which “short circuit” its emergency routes, sabotages waste elimination and sows the seeds of chronic illness.
There is enough documentation to show that these drugs can have fatal side effects. They can cause gastrointestinal bleeding, killing thousands each year. Yet the body’s natural pain signals are perfectly normal responses to an abnormal situation, which may be simple dehydration. In the case that a pain is simply unbearable, the use of painkillers, however, may be unavoidable. At the same time, the pain-afflicted person should drink plenty of fresh water and discontinue all energy-depleting factors, as these tend to have a strongly dehydrating effect.
“Body Drought” – The Strongest Form of Stress
Our brain, working round the clock, requires more water than any other part of the body. Under normal conditions, it contains about twenty percent of all the blood that circulates through the body. It is estimated that brain cells consist of 85 percent water. Their energy requirements are not only met by metabolizing glucose (simple sugar), but also by generating “hydroelectric” energy from the water drive through cell osmosis. The brain depends greatly on this self-generated source of energy to maintain its complex processes and efficiency.
Water deficiency in the brain tissue cut downs its energy supply and thereby depresses many of its vital functions – hence the word depression. With a low level of brain energy, we are unable to meet our personal and social challenges and subsequently succumb to fear, anxiety, anger and other emotional problems. We may feel drained, lethargic, stressed and depressed. The chronic fatigue syndrome, which is commonly known as CFS, is mainly a symptom of progressive brain dehydration and subsequent retention of metabolic toxins in the brain. The syndrome may disappear on its own when the afflicted person stops stimulating the brain with caffeine, tobacco, drugs, animal products, etc., and begins a consequent program of re-hydrating the body.
The Stress Response
When dehydrated, the body has to put up the fight of a lifetime — similar to the one experienced in a “fight or flight” situation. The body meets a crisis situation by mobilizing several powerful hormones, including adrenalin, endorphins, cortisone, prolactin, vasopressin, and Renin-Angiotensin (RA). Endorphins, for example, help us to withstand pain and stress and allow the body to continue most of its functions. Cortisone orders the mobilization of stored energies and essential raw materials to supply the body with energy and basic nutrients during the crisis. In other words, this hormone allows the body to literally feed off itself. This in itself is a very stressful and damaging situation for the body and is expressed by such emotions as, “I can’t cope anymore” or, “I feel this is eating at me.” Many patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis, MS or other degenerative diseases take cortisone drugs, which often give them a boost of energy and morale for a relatively short period of time. The “success” of the drug, however, only lasts as long as there are still reserves left in the body that can be mobilized for energy and nutrient distribution. Once the body has used up its emergency reserves the organism can barely function anymore and the symptoms of disease become worse than ever.
Constriction of blood vessels
When the cells in the body are under-supplied with water, the brain’s pituitary gland produces the neurotransmitter vasopressin, a hormone that has the property of constricting blood vessels in areas where there is cellular dehydration. During dehydration, the quantity of water in the bloodstream is reduced. Vasopressin, as its name suggests, squeezes the vascular system, i.e., the capillaries and arteries, to reduce their fluid volume. This maneuver is necessary to continue having enough pressure to allow for a steady filtration of water into the cells. This gives vasopressin a hypertensive property. High blood pressure is a common experience among people who are dehydrated (for more information on hypertension and heart disease, see chapter 8 of Timeless Secrets of Health and Rejuvenation, www.ener-chi.com). A similar situation occurs in the liver’s bile ducts, which begin to constrict in response to restricted availability of water. Gallstone formation is a direct result of dehydration.
A person who drinks alcohol suppresses the secretion of vasopressin and thereby increases cellular dehydration (if alcohol consumption is excessive, cellular dehydration may reach dangerously high levels). To survive the body “drought,” the body has to secrete ever more stress hormones, among them the addictive endorphins. With regular consumption of alcohol, meaning every day for several years, dehydration increases even further and endorphin production becomes an addictive habit. This may lead to alcoholism, a disease that has devastating consequences on a person’s personal and social life.
Water Retention and Kidney Damage
The Renin-Angiotensin (RA) system is activated when there is a water shortage in the body. This system is used to direct the body to hold on to water wherever possible. It instructs the kidneys to inhibit urination and tightens the capillaries and the vascular system, particularly in areas that are not as vital as the brain and the heart muscles. At the same time, it stimulates an increase in the absorption of sodium (salt), which helps the body to retain water. Unless the body returns to its normal level of hydration, the RA system remains activated. But this also means that the pressure of the blood against the walls of the blood vessels remains abnormally high, causing the damage that is known as cardiovascular disease.
Hypertension and the retention of urine in the kidneys lead to kidney damage. Conventional treatments for this condition consist mostly of diuretic (urine forming) drugs and restricted salt consumption. Both may have severe drawbacks. Diuretic drugs, which are used to normalize the blood pressure, as well as reduced salt intake strongly undermine the body’s emergency efforts to save the little water it has left for cell functions. The resulting stress response causes a further increase in dehydration and the vicious cycle is complete. There are so many kidney replacements made today that result from chronic dehydration, caused by something as simple as not drinking enough water or overstimulation of the nervous system.
The Caffeine and Alcohol Drama
The caffeine contained in such beverages as tea, coffee and soft drinks not only stimulates the central nervous system and immune system but also acts as a strong diuretic. For every cup of coffee or tea you drink you relinquish approximately three cups of water, which the body cannot afford to give up without suffering damage. The caffeine containing soft drink beverages work in a similar way. Caffeine, being a nerve toxin, stimulates the body’s stress hormones and triggers a strong immune response that may give a person the (false) impression that his level of energy and vitality has suddenly increased. To remove the nerve toxin caffeine, the body has to come up with extra water, which it takes from its cells. Hence there is an occurrence of cellular dehydration.
Caffeine, which is a major component in most soft drinks, removes water from the body faster than the body can absorb it again, thereby generating constant thirst. People, who frequently take soft drinks, can never really quench their thirst because their bodies continually and increasingly run out of cellular water. There are college students who drink as many as 10-14 cans of cola a day. Eventually, they confuse their bodies’ never-ending thirst signal with hunger and they begin to overeat, causing swelling and excessive weight gain. Apart from its diuretic action and its addictive effects on the brain, regular caffeine intake overstimulates the heart muscles, causing exhaustion and heart disease.
Alcohol has a similar diuretic effect as caffeine containing beverages. For every glass of beer, for example, the body is forced to sacrifice about three glasses of water. A hangover results when due to alcohol abuse the brain suffers severe dehydration. If this occurs repeatedly, a large number of brain cells become damaged and die. Many important brain functions slow down or become depressed. Recovery is possible to a certain extent if alcohol consumption is discontinued.
The main functions of the kidneys are to keep the blood pure and healthy and maintain proper fluid balance in the body. To accomplish this difficult feat, the kidneys constantly monitor normal blood volume and filter from the blood the right quantity of urine to keep it balanced. There are many influences that can disrupt this mechanism and cause congestion in the kidneys. They include overstimulation, dehydration, fatigue, overeating, gallstones, blood pressure disturbance, medical or narcotic drugs, vitamins, digestive disorders, etc. When the kidneys are incapable of sufficiently separating the urine from the blood, part of the urine continues to circulate throughout the body, depositing urinary waste products in the blood vessels, joints, tissues, and organs. Skin diseases, strong body odor, sweating of palms and feet, water retention, intestinal swelling, high blood pressure, etc. are all signs of toxic blood caused by crystals and stones in the kidneys.
Stones in the kidneys begin as tiny crystals and can eventually become as large as an egg. The tiny crystals are too small to be detected by X-rays and since they do not cause pain, they are rarely noticed; yet they are big enough to block the flow of liquid through the tiny kidney tubules. Crystals or stones are formed in the kidneys when urinary constituents, which normally in solution, are precipitated. Precipitation occurs when these particles occur in excessive amounts or when urine becomes too concentrated. The crystal particles or stones are usually full of sharp angles, which may cut and wear away the inner surface of the urinary canal (ureter) during their passage from the kidneys to the bladder. This causes severe pain in the loins or lower back. There may even be blood in the urine, pain running down the legs, numbness in the thighs and a difficulty in passing urine.
Most crystals or stones originate in the kidneys, although some may also be formed in the bladder. If a large stone enters a ureter, urine flow becomes obstructed. This can lead to serious complications, such as kidney infection or kidney failure.
The Types of Stones and Their Effects
The most common solutes involved in crystals and stone formation are oxalates, phosphates, urates, uric acid, and the amino acids cystine and cysteine. There are at least eight varieties of crystals or stones that can be formed from these solutes for various reasons.
Foods or beverages that contain large amounts of oxalic acid cause oxalate stones. A cup of regular tea (not green or herb tea) contains about 20 mg of oxalic acid, which is far too much for the kidneys to excrete. Initially, the body uses calcium to neutralize the acid, which then turns to calcium oxalate. If tea drinking becomes a regular habit, excessive calcium oxalate is deposited in crystal form. Chocolate and cocoa are also high in oxalates. Anyone who has consumed or consumes these foods or beverages regularly has oxalate stones in the kidneys, especially children whose kidneys are still very small and delicate. Eating too many nuts can pose a similar problem.
Uric acid crystals are another type of kidney stones that are formed when you consume excessive amounts of animal protein such as meat, pork and poultry. Uric acid is a waste product that results from breaking down protein in the liver. The strongest uric acid producer among all food products is regular tea, followed by red meat. If the kidneys do not remove all the uric acid, its concentration in the blood rises. As a result, excessive uric acid is deposited first in those areas of the body that have the poorest circulation and oxygen supply, i.e., the toes of the feet. The precipitation of uric acid and other harmful substances in the toes can make the joints rigid, stiff and unbending (check particularly the small toes of your feet, which show the condition of the bladder). If the bacteria feeding on these toxins invade the tissues in sufficient numbers, inflammation and pain may result. Gout and arthritis are the most common symptoms. The uric acid crystals in the toes are essentially made from the same material as the stones formed in the kidneys.
A similar problem can occur in the heels. Heel spurs are due to deposits of uric acid and various phosphates. The uric acid invites bacteria, leading to pain, and the phosphates are responsible for causing rigid and hard structures. Swelling or edema around the foot or ankle, caused by poor kidney and adrenal function, may accompany this condition. The kidneys and adrenal glands regulate water and salt levels throughout the body. If their functions are subdued due to stones in the kidneys, you may “hold” on to water in the feet, legs, abdomen, face, arms, organs, etc.
Many kidney stones are formed as a result of insufficient water intake and/or consumption of foods or beverages that have dehydrating effects, including meat, artificial sweeteners, sugar, alcohol, tea, coffee and sodas. Also smoking cigarettes or watching television for too many hours have dehydrating effects on the body and cause urine to become concentrated. This increases precipitation of urinary constituents.
Eating lots of acid-forming foods such as meat, dairy products, sugar, etc., forces the body to release many of its valuable minerals, altering the pH (acid/alkaline balance) of the urine. This does not only cause mineral deficiency in the body, e.g., in the bones and teeth, but also turns the normally acidic urine filtrate alkaline. In an alkaline urine, some substances may be precipitated, e.g. phosphates. Phosphate stones are formed particularly from eating too many foods that are high in phosphate and low in calcium, such as meats, cereals, breads, pastas, and nuts, as well as from drinking carbonated beverages. To neutralize the highly acidic phosphate, which could easily burn the delicate kidneys, the body extracts extra amounts of calcium from the bones and teeth and uses whatever magnesium it can obtain from such foods as green vegetables.
The presence of phosphates generates an acidic environment, which effectively dissolves bones, leading to osteoporosis, teeth problems, coronary heart disease, digestive trouble, cancer and any other diseases that are related to calcium deficiency. A person who eliminates more than 150 mg of calcium a day (24 hours) with the urine – an emergency measure of the body to combat excessive acidity – is in the process of rapidly dissolving his bones. Some of the calcium combines with the phosphates, forming various calcium phosphate crystals, which can lead to hardening of arteries and common arthritis.
Why the Need for a Kidney Cleanse?
The kidneys make a tremendous effort in trying to keep the body clear of toxic substances such as lead, cadmium, mercury and other impassable pollutants. They also maintain fluid and electrolyte balance and regulate the pressure from the heart that forces the blood through their filtering system. Kidney stones greatly impair this ability, which consequently increases the amounts of heavy metals and raises the body’s general level of toxicity. This can lead to infection, high blood pressure, heart disease, brain disorders, cancer and many other diseases.
The following signs indicate the presence of crystals and stones in the kidneys or bladder: A dark or whitish color under the eyes; puffy or swollen eyes, particularly in the morning; deep wrinkles under and around the eyes; tiny whitish, tan-colored or dark lumps under the eyes, which can be felt or made visible when stretching the skin outwards towards the cheekbones; overlapping of the skin of the upper eyelid; chronic pain in the lower back; swelling of feet and legs; constant fear or anxiety.
There are 9 herbs that can effectively dissolve kidney grease and kindey stones within a period of 20-30 days (see the updated kidney cleanse protocol in the book, The Amazing Liver and Gallbladder Flush, by Andreas Moritz; you can mail order/purchase the fresh and already mixed 9 herbs from The Present Moment Herbs & Books in Minneapolis, toll free 800-378-3245 or 612-824-3157. Ask for the “Moritz Kidney Tea.” Whether someone has been diagnosed as having kidney stones or not, doing a kidney cleanse once or twice a year produces tremendous curative and preventive benefits. The kidney cleanse not only improves physical health but also reduces stress, fear and anxieties.
Andreas Moritz is a writer and practitioner in the field of Integrative Medicine. He is the author of 13 books on various subjects pertaining to holistic health, including The Amazing Liver and Gallbladder Flush, Timeless Secrets of Health and Rejuvenation and Cancer Is Not a Disease. His most recent book is entitled, Vaccine-Nation: Poisoning the Population, One Shot at a Time.
Moritz is also the creator of Ener-Chi Art (ener-chi.com) and Sacred Santémony.
Much of his life’s work has been dedicated to understanding and treating the root causes of illness, and helping the body, mind, spirit and heart to heal naturally.
Copyright © 2004 by Andreas Moritz