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Most people think that if you have kidney disease, it can’t be reversed anymore, but that is not always the case. Dr. Devin Miles, a Naturopathic Physician specializing in gastrointestinal disorders and kidney disease, joins us to share more information about kidney health. She enumerates different types of kidney stones and provides information on how to prevent kidney stone formation as well as how to treat kidney stones.
Hello, true health seeker and welcome to another exciting episode of the Learn True Health podcast. I can’t believe it’s already June. Can you believe that? Time really flies. I’m so excited for you to listen to today’s episode because we focus on kidney health. Prevention is the most important thing, so if we can adjust our lifestyle and diet now to support kidney health, we can encourage our body to have a longer, healthier life. By supporting healthy kidneys, as what’s discussed in today’s episode, you’re actually supporting every organ of the body, so prevention is one thing. But if you have kidney disease right now, regardless of what stage you’re in, you can do things to support optimal health. No matter what, you can do things naturally to support yourself in achieving optimal health, and we discuss that in today’s interview.
There are a few exciting things happening this month because Father’s Day is coming up. I’ve talked to my favorite health companies, and we have some really exciting sales for you for Father’s Day. One really exciting sale is from my favorite sauna company, Sunlighten. I talked to them and talked to them and talked to them and whittled down a really, really great deal, so I’m very excited for you. For the month of June, right now they’re running some kind of special sale, but for Learn True Health listeners, on top of their already current sale price for their saunas and their solo systems, you’re going to get as a Learn True Health listener $200 off your sauna and free shipping. Shipping for a sauna system like a big wooden sauna system is over $500. They’re going to give you free shipping, and they’re going to take $200 off. If you get a solo system, they’re going to take $100 off.
Usually, in addition to that, for the Learn Truth Health listeners, they throw in some things like their bamboo towels and stuff like that. I really like the special, non-toxic pad that you sit on in the wooden sauna. I love their 3-in-1 system. I’ve had several episodes about it. I’ve interviewed a cardiologist that uses saunas for heart health. I’ve interviewed the founder of Sunlighten. She talks about why she started the company. I’ve interviewed an employee of theirs that shares some really cool stories of success. The reason why I chose Sunlighten out of all the other sauna companies in the world, for me to buy my own personal sauna from them, is because they have a 3-in-1. It’s a full spectrum of light whereas most saunas are just the far-infrared. The Sunlighten is the near-infrared, the mid-infrared, and the far-infrared. There are benefits to healing the skin and actually reducing wrinkles, reducing scar tissue, decrease in chronic pain, and decrease in inflammation on all layers through the skin and into the soft tissue.
You can sit in it at a lower temperature and get a really great sweat, so it increases your core temperature while still breathing comfortable air instead of breathing stuffy hot air. There are general benefits that everyone gains from using sauna therapy such as decreasing stress, decreasing inflammation and pain, and stabilizing blood pressure into a more normal range. All these things are great for overall health, but specifically about the kidneys.
There are many articles in PubMed and other studies that you can find that healthfully using sauna therapy can benefit those with liver and kidney disease. One particular study showed that the concentration of ammonia in the body was released through sweat. That we also release urea through sweat as well as high levels of nitrogen. Using sauna therapy in the study, they were able to take the load off the kidneys by allowing us to sweat through the skin instead of having to have the kidneys do all the work.
The reason why I bought a Sunlighten two years ago is because my doctor told me to. She said that my liver was having problems and that I should support my body in detoxifying, especially heavy metals. I’ve been using a Sunlighten to detoxify heavy metals, but also support my body in releasing these metabolites like ammonia and urea through my sweat. Lots of nasty byproducts of our metabolism can sweat it out, and then we’re giving our kidneys in our liver a break.
Of course, if you’re under the care of a physician for a disease like a kidney disease, you should definitely work with your doctor, but add to your team. Find a naturopathic physician, find a functional medicine practitioner, and find more doctors and experts to add to your team to give you different opinions and of course all science-based. Dr. Andrew Weil, who’s a very famous medical doctor that specializes in holistic medicine, is quoted as saying that he regularly tells his patients with liver and kidney disease to sweat in a sauna two to three times a week. That the increase in blood flow is so good for those organs—the detoxification that happens in the sauna but also that it lowers blood pressure and that’s really great for the kidneys as well.
There are several reasons why sauna therapy is great for the kidneys. I love the Sunlighten is a very gentle form of sauna therapy. But of course, work with your doctor and make sure that sauna therapy is right for you if you have a disease. There are some cases where sauna therapy is incredibly beneficial, and there are some cases where it’s not recommended, so make sure it’s right for you. There are many reasons why I love Sunlighten. If you go to learntruehealth.com and type Sunlighten or type sauna into the search bar, you’ll find several episodes where we’ve gone in greater detail but why I love Sunlighten.
I wanted to let you know that this Father’s Day sale is going on right now, and it’s such a perfect gift to give to your whole family, but especially give to your father or your husband for Father’s Day. The smallest wooden system is like a phone booth. It looks quite small on the outside, but you can actually sit in it with your spouse. My husband and I can sit in it comfortably and then our five-year-old comes running in sometimes. He likes to be in there for a few minutes, and it’s safe for a few minutes for children to be in there. Typically, it’s one minute for every year of age. He gets to be in there for about five minutes and then he jumps out, but my husband and I can sit in there comfortably together. It fits in the corner of one of our rooms.
You can get the wooden system, but if you don’t have a lot of space, you get the solo system. The solo system is ultra-low EMF and non-toxic. It’s very comfortable to lie on. Then you wipe it up and put it away in the closet when you’re not using it, so that’s very exciting that you have those two options. Then of course they have larger systems and they have different kinds of wood. I got the cedar because I love the smell of cedar, but if you’re hypersensitive to smell they have different types of wood depending on that.
Give them a call. Just google Sunlighten and give them a call. Mention Learn True Health with Ashley James and they will give you that discount. They know that this discount is for you guys, the Learn True Health listeners, and they’re more than happy to answer your questions. It’s a wonderful company that’s based in the United States. I just really, really love the quality of their products and their customer care.
If you have any questions for me about my experience with them, I’ve been working with them and using their system for about two years now, you can always reach out to me in Facebook or you can email me email@example.com. Stay tuned for the other Father’s Day sales that I’m going to be letting you guys know about. Medterra CBD, which is my favorite CBD company because of the quality of their CBD. I’ve had them on the show twice to talk about that. Of course, my favorite magnesium soak and there’s going to be others that I will be letting you guys know about. I’m going to let you know about it in the intros of the next few episodes, but I’ll also be letting you know more details in the Learn True Health Facebook group. Go ahead and join the Facebook group by going to Facebook and searching Learn True Health, or you can go to learntruehealth.com/group and that’ll take you straight to the Facebook group.
Thank you so much for being a listener. I’m so excited that you get to learn more about how you can reverse and prevent kidney disease. That includes kidney stones. That includes even if you have scar tissue in the kidneys, we talk about how to reverse that, which is really exciting. Please share this episode with those you love especially those you know who have high blood pressure, have diabetes. These are conditions that harm the kidneys and that could lead to kidney disease later on. We really want to do everything we can to support our kidney health as much as possible. If you’re healthy now let’s stay healthy, and if you have some health problems now, if you have symptoms now, let’s get you back on the road to health. Have yourself a fantastic rest of your day and enjoy today’s interview.
[00:10:01] Ashley James: Welcome to the Learn True Health podcast. I’m your host, Ashley James. This is episode 434. I am so excited for today’s guest. We have Dr. Devin Miles on the show who is a Naturopathic physician that specializes in gastrointestinal disorders and kidney disease. I’m really excited actually to talk about kidney disease today. Out of the 400 and something episodes we’ve had, we’ve never done a whole episode on kidney health, and that’s something I’ve been really excited to discuss. I’m very excited to have you on the show today. So many people are on dialysis needlessly that we could support everyone’s kidneys now to prevent dialysis. I have heard Naturopaths helped people get so healthy that they no longer need dialysis. I’m very excited to have you on the show. Welcome.
[00:10:57] Dr. Devin Miles: Thank you, thank you. Good to be here.
[00:11:00] Ashley James: This is going to be a lot of fun. Before we jump into kidney health, how to reverse kidney stones, and prevent them and all the different kinds of kidney disease that we can reverse and prevent, I’d like to get to know you a little bit. What happened in your life that made you want to become a Naturopathic physician?
[00:11:16] Dr. Devin Miles: I started having digestive issues in my senior year of college, I was 21 years old. For me, it was just out of the blue. I had not had any digestive issues. Just one day, I noticed my lower abdomen was just bloated, then I had constipation, then I had more constipation, more bloating, more gas, and then it was foul gas. I started noticing I was having food sensitivities that I never had before. Fast forward, I was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome. There wasn’t much of a resolution in terms of cure or even understanding what it was. I was introduced to this health food store in my neighborhood at the time and told the guy what I got diagnosed with and he had had the same thing. He was the first person that really gave me hope about what to do about it.
It really started as trying to figure out things for me. Then I started to realize that I was way more into researching about health than I was at my job at the time. I was like okay I think I want to make a career out of this. Eventually, I found naturopathic medicine. That’s when I was like yeah that’s it, that’s what I’m going to do. Then I went for it.
[00:12:55] Ashley James: I love it. You just dove right in and never looked back.
[00:13:00] Dr. Devin Miles: My body spoke to me in such a way that I had to listen. It was too much. When I found out about Naturopathic medicine, it was from a book that my parents gave me that they were reading at the time. That was significant because that was the first book, probably since the first grade, that I wanted to come home and read every evening. Outside of that, I was not somebody who read for leisure. My only time of reading was for educational and work purposes, that was more than enough. The fact that I actually wanted to come home and read that book every night, that really spoke to me.
[00:13:43] Ashley James: That’s so cool. I know exactly what you mean. I’ve got one right here I can’t put down. It’s called the Encyclopedia of Healing Juices. That’s not like a book you’d read like a novel but it does. I can’t put it down. Like you said, when your body speaks to you and when you’re really into health, when you’re really on the right path everything aligns. I just love that you couldn’t put that book down. What was the book?
[00:14:14] Dr. Devin Miles: It was called 21 Pounds in 21 Days. That was written by Roni DeLuz. She is actually on Martha’s Vineyard. She has her own retreat up there, which actually does incorporate a lot of juicing. She’s a Naturopath as well.
[00:14:35] Ashley James: I imagine her program isn’t about just losing weight but about losing the inflammation.
[00:14:41] Dr. Devin Miles: Yeah. It really can apply to everyone. My mom picked it up of course because she was trying to lose weight. Dr. DeLuz’s people from all walks of life are not just weight loss.
[00:14:54] Ashley James: Very cool. As you went to the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, what times blew your mind? As you’re going through it, did you have these aha moments? Like oh my gosh, I couldn’t believe that we can reverse this disease or we can reverse this. Because we’re raised to believe, if our family traditionally went to an MD, we’re given drugs, we saw our family members given drugs for diseases and told that they’re just going to have them for the rest of their life. That’s just the way it is.
We’ve watched Hollywood and mainstream media and we’re told this is just the way it is. Then you go to a Naturopathic school and you realize my gosh, we can reverse these diseases naturally? Did you have any of those aha moments?
[00:15:45] Dr. Devin Miles: I’m guessing that whatever I read prior to going to school made me walk into school with the expectation that I would find out how to reverse those. It wasn’t so much an aha. Reading Dr. Roni’s book, going to see her, and talking with her was very pivotal for me to believe that I could probably find the solution to anything. It was more so an expectation, but I will say the first quarter of school was very majestic for me. I was very much like ohh, wow, ahh type of thing. It wasn’t an aha moment, but I was just enjoying what I was learning that first quarter.
[00:16:39] Ashley James: Can you share with us something that you just really, really, really enjoyed learning in Naturopathic school?
[00:16:46] Dr. Devin Miles: I feel like the philosophy of Naturopathic medicine. I feel like that first quarter we went into that quite a bit. Just understanding how the body works and how connected it is, I really started to harness that mindset when I was in school. I realized that what we have is we’re trained to have a certain mindset that is understanding that the body is connected, that it works as a whole, but it’s not a rigid framework.
I was recently quoted by the Institute of Natural Medicine about that that I have, what I consider, an open-minded framework. There’s some structure but there’s a way for you to be open to other things that you may learn that could also be pieces of the puzzle. I think it helps you to know where to put those pieces. First, you can accept them, and then second, you can figure out where to put them in the puzzle that you have already started to create.
For instance with carpal tunnel syndrome. I remember learning that, I think it was, vitamin B6 was helpful for that. Then there was something within acupuncture that was also really helpful for carpal tunnel, and I linked those two things together in such a way that I understood why both of them worked for a carpal tunnel because I knew one and then I could put in the other one after that. Just being able to link things like that and be open to how it works and that it does work I think is what’s been really, really nice.
[00:18:45] Ashley James: Awesome. I also know that there are certain minerals that when we’re deficient in can exacerbate carpal tunnel, can help when we supplement with certain trace minerals, and can help to alleviate, I’ve seen that before. The fact that you are not closed off like this is the only way. What’s the difference in terms of philosophy? Because this is really the key to healing our bodies is our mindset about what direction we’re going to take when it comes to our health protocol. What’s the difference between seeing an MD, a medical doctor, and seeing an ND, a Naturopathic doctor? What’s the difference in the philosophy of healing?
[00:19:30] Dr. Devin Miles: Medical doctors, MDs, have a standard of care that is I think quite rigid. It’s more rigid, it’s more strict than a Naturopathic doctor. Naturopathic doctors have standards, but as I mentioned before, they have a framework that they can really build upon and branch out from. It allows them to be more receptive to learning new things, in my opinion.
There are more tools in our toolkit for addressing different things. When you go to a Naturopathic doctor, if you go to one and then another you might notice that they use different approaches to get to the same result. That’s really why I think Naturopathic medicine came about because this German guy named Benedict Lust who put all of these pre-existing therapies together because he saw the synergy of them being put together. In other words, these therapies were around because he saw that they were effective, but they may not always be effective by themselves and different people need different things.
I think naturopathic medicine allows you to have a broader framework from which to choose what is going to work for that person. It helps you to figure them out better. We use things that the body better understands them. We as human beings are of nature. When we use things that are from nature, the body understands that better because it works with it versus if it’s something synthetic, the body knows it’s synthetic. The body is probably missing something that it needs for that to fully work. When we use things in Naturopathic medicine, we’re helping to resolve the issue versus forcing one piece of it to just work better.
For instance, if it’s hypertension, if I put somebody on hypertensive medication yeah their blood pressure would probably come down right, but if you take that person off of a blood pressure medication, the blood pressure’s going to go right back up. Versus if you adopt a lifestyle that is conducive to reducing hypertension and you use different herbs, homeopathy, and some other nutrients that can keep the blood pressure down, the body is very understanding of that and it’s getting what it needs to keep the blood pressure low.
You could say well if you get off of all those things of course the blood pressure comes back too. That can be true, but the reality is the difference is that your body has what it needs to be in balance. It’s not that the drug is restoring total balance to your body, it’s balancing you for the sake of your blood pressure. But is your whole body in balance? Probably not.
That is the difference when we are working with a Naturopathic doctor. It’s not just about your blood pressure, it’s also about getting your whole body in balance. If you come to me with one condition, you probably have eight other symptoms that you may or may not be telling me that you might notice go away when you start to work with me because I work on the body as a whole.
[00:23:21] Ashley James: I love how you put that restoring total balance. Using the example of high blood pressure, the body is speaking to us in symptoms. So many Naturopaths who have come on the show have said that we need to listen to the language of the body, and the body is speaking and symptoms. If someone has high blood pressure and they just take medication for it, it’s kind of like if your car was making a really loud noise like maybe a belt is about to go or something and your mechanic gives you earplugs. You’re like here this is going to stop the noise. You put these earplugs in and then you’re not going to hear that noise. The car is still going to break down.
I believe there are statistics, and maybe you could speak to this, but there are statistics that for people who are on high blood pressure medication long-term they have shorter lifespans. All cause mortality. For those on high blood pressure meds will not live as long as those who figured out how to naturally support the body’s ability to heal itself and maintain optimal blood pressure.
[00:24:31] Dr. Devin Miles: I was going to say I think that applies to a lot of different medications even outside of blood pressure.
[00:24:36] Ashley James: Right. There are certain medications. We always have to say this, certain medications save people’s lives, certain medications are really necessary. I’ve even talked to Naturopaths who say they would prescribe blood pressure medication in the short-term while they’re helping the person to make lifestyle changes, nutrient changes, and figure out more in-depth. My husband had out-of-control high blood pressure a few years ago. He’d always had borderline high blood pressure but then it went through the roof. We figured out it was—and this is going to lead to kidney issues.
We had done the ketogenic diet under a Naturopath’s care for three months. After that, we did blood work and my liver was very damaged. It took me years to recover and my husband’s kidneys were incredibly damaged. We had to do several tests to find out. As a result, we ended up going whole food plant-based and focusing on herbs and supplements to support his kidneys. He was temporarily put on two blood pressure medications. It was a water pill and a blood pressure medication in order just to bring it down, but it only brought it down eight, nine points.
Then the Naturopath worked with him. At that time, we were seeing one that specialized in cardiology, a very interesting guy. He figured out that my husband just runs in stress mode. He’s always stressed out. He had him on Carditone and that immediately dropped his blood pressure, which is really interesting. By that time, his kidneys were healed, he got off of his blood pressure meds very quickly. Everything’s good now. His blood pressure is totally fine. But it’s interesting though if he gets stressed out or starts worrying about something he can raise his blood pressure.
For him, even though yes he has to eat a healthy diet that’s conducive to kidney health and heart health. It’s just as important as his diet to lower his stress levels and to do that internal work to not work himself up, so it’s interesting to see. If we had gone to just an MD then he would have just put him on meds. Whereas the Naturopaths we went to address his stress levels, his lifestyle, his emotional mental health, his sleep, his energy, his kidney health, his heart health, and his diet. There are so many more facets of his life that have been enriched by Naturopath care than an MD would have.
MDs have their place, they’re one piece of the pie of medicine, but they’re not the whole pie. In the mainstream media, we’re taught that MDs are the whole pie, that allopathic medicine is the whole pie, and everything else is like this alternative dessert. It’s not the case, right? It’s not the case.
One Naturopath I’ve worked with calls it allopathic reductionism. He says that MDs are trained in philosophy as reductionistic thinking. If you come to them with a kidney problem, they’re just going to look at the kidneys and focus down on that, reduce it to that, and not look at all the other symptoms of the body. Whereas a Naturopath, like you said, you’re looking at all the other symptoms.
When you’re supporting someone in that vitamin deficiency they might have had for their carpal tunnel, you’re actually supporting them in their sleep, in their energy, in their mood, and their stress. You’re supporting them in all those other areas of their life because a mineral, a nutrient, or a vitamin deficiency will create hundreds of potential symptoms. You’re not treating a symptom, you’re treating the body as a whole and what the body needed. I
I feel like Naturopathic medicine should be the main medicine that we go to, and we should go to MDs for emergency medicine because that’s where they shine. Go to Naturopaths for prevention and for chronic illness because that’s where you guys shine.
[00:28:59] Dr. Devin Miles: Right. I am in full agreement with you that yes, sometimes medications are helpful. Sometimes Naturopathic medicine and conventional medicine do need to get used at the same time. It also depends on their stage of life, what they know, what they’re exposed to, and what answers they have. That’s also why I like to be on different media platforms so that I can expose people to what is out there, to what is possible. I know what it feels like to be on a journey of knowledge. You’re doing the best that you can at each point.
There was one guy, when I was in clinical rotations, who had schizophrenia. He was better managed, not just on his medications, but on medications plus acupuncture. That is what finally got him to a much more stable space. Even with my clients, I would say maybe half of them are on medications. I don’t tend to touch the medications.
On top of that, I am in a state where—there’s about 22 states that are licensed where Naturopathic physicians can practice medicine. I’m in a state that is not that. It’s pre-license. I definitely don’t touch their medications, but I tell them that—especially if it’s something like blood pressure—you need to be taking your blood pressure every day. Being mindful of that, what I’m doing may drop your blood pressure further. We have to be mindful of episodes of hypotension because you can get symptomatic of course if you have hypotension.
These are times when you need to start going back to your physician to be like hey, can we reduce the dose? The goal, of course, is for you to eventually not need the medication, right? Everybody’s in their own path and they got to find what works for them, what keeps them stable, and all of that. I respect that.
[00:31:13] Ashley James: That’s actually progress because when I first got into working with Naturopathic doctors, I was being mentored by Naturopath as a health coach. Back in 2011, only 17 states were licensed. I know that Naturopaths have been fighting for being able to be licensed in other states. That’s great, that’s progress to go from 17 to 22 in the last few years. That’s great. I’d like to see, obviously, all 50 states. I’d like to see all the provinces of Canada. I’d like to see every country in the world recognize Naturopathic medicine. It’s going to be one state at a time. The fact that there are 22 states that recognize Naturopathic physicians as doctors that could prescribe drugs and are at the same level and be able to use insurance with Naturopaths for those states. It’s good. It’s growing, it’s growing. This is what we want. Absolutely.
[00:32:15] Dr. Devin Miles: I enjoy what I do here in—I’m in Texas right now. Austin, of course, is a city that I think is much more receptive. That’s where most of the Naturopathic doctors. I am in Houston at the moment. So It’s a different dynamic, but I enjoy it when I get to educate people. When I first got here most people were like what? Wait, what’s the word again, Naturopath? I feel like now, for whatever reason, not as many people are responding in that way. They’re like oh, okay, okay. Cool. That’s good.
[00:32:59] Ashley James: Very cool. Back in 2011, I started working with a Naturopathic doctor and he was training me. One of my friends, who is in his early 30s, had kidney stones—chronic. He, for five months straight, was urinating kidney stones, passing kidney stones. For a man, that’s more painful for a woman just because they have a little longer urethra, so he was in agony. He couldn’t leave his house. He said the only thing that helped was to sit in the shower with the hot water beating down on him, and that’s just what he did all day for five months.
I called him up and I said, “I am working with this Naturopath. He has a protocol for kidney stones.” My friend said, “Sign me up.” He got on these supplements, specifically very bioavailable minerals including bioavailable calcium, and his kidney stones immediately stopped and they have not come back.
The Naturopath that I worked with explained that, and of course, there are different kinds of kidney stones and you’re going to go into this today that there’s not just one kind. This Naturopath, actually, he’s 80 years old now and he’s still practicing. He’s really cool. I just had him on the show, Dr. Joel Wallach. He said that when we are deficient in calcium in our diet our parathyroid glands, which are the four little dots in the thyroid, the parathyroid glands will continue to release this hormone telling our bones to release minerals, like calcium, to the soft tissue.
Over time, those will just do too much because we’re not getting enough from our diet and then it would collect in the kidneys. By supplementing with a bioavailable calcium that has all the other mineral cofactors, then the parathyroid gland stops doing that. That supplementation satisfies the soft tissue—the calcium and all the minerals the soft tissue needs. The kidneys stop creating the stones. I know this is very simplified—what I’ve said is very simplified. I’m sure he has a more medical explanation.
It worked. My friend never had kidney stones again, and I’ve since heard many other stories of people who have had the same result. But if you go to an MD, if my friend had gone to an MD at the time, the MD might have checked his calcium levels in his blood, seen that it was high, and would have told him to stop eating things that contain calcium because he has too much calcium. The MD sees it under the reductionistic lens and says you have too much calcium, not looking at the whole picture. Whereas the Naturopath understands the whole picture and would say, no, you actually need more calcium.
There’s a big difference. If he had gone to an MD, he might have gone on drugs, and surgery whereas the body was crying out for a balance of nutrients, and that’s what it needed. Have you experienced that? Obviously, you had great success with reversing kidney stones, but I’d love for you to dive in and explain the different kinds of kidney stones and speak maybe about my experience with my friend and his kidney stones that were actually a mineral deficiency.
[00:36:28] Dr. Devin Miles: I haven’t seen that particular story but it brings to mind something that I have seen in a different form. I won’t go too in-depth because we’re talking about kidneys and that’s digestive issues, but the theme of deficiency and overcompensation due to deficiency. I’ve seen that in different walks of life in different behaviors. That’s the theme that I pick up from that if you have a deficiency of calcium and then the parasite just over supplies calcium because of that.
I would love to get into the kidney stones and talk a little bit more about some of the different types. It sounds like that might have been, of course, coming from too much calcium in the body from the parathyroid. I want to talk about what a kidney stone feels like first. You talked about it a little bit but I wanted to mention that a kidney stone is going to feel like back or loin pain radiating down into the groin or the side. It’s excruciating pain. You would probably know that it was a kidney stone because it’s that type of picture that goes with it.
You can also have blood in the urine as well as an urgency to urinate. The way that this can be discovered is through an ultrasound. Your story that you mentioned before about the guy that was dealing with for five months, anyone who’s listening I would definitely urge not to wait that long.
I’m glad he didn’t have complications from it but you can definitely have complications from having a kidney stone. You can definitely have a blockage of urine and that could of course go further up and cause problems. Anyone who is listening and is thinking that they may in fact have a kidney stone, please go get that checked out right away.
Some risk factors for having kidney stones. There could be a bone disease as you mentioned with the one guy, hyperparathyroidism, there could be hypercalcemia. That’s of course too much calcium in the urine. You could have too much cystine in the urine. There could be some sort of low-grade infection and I’ll talk about that in a little bit. There could be some abnormalities in terms of the structure of your body that creates poor urine flow. Then there could be different components that are in the urine that are in larger amounts in it that they should be. It creates a supersaturated urine and that can form crystals, and that can form kidney stones.
A couple of ways that this might happen could be changes in your urinary pH. If you have acidic urine, and we’ll talk about that more, that could be a reason why you create kidney stones. Decrease urine volume. This is why if you are prone to having kidney stones you want to drink a lot of water on a daily basis to keep the urine from getting too saturated to where it would form crystals. If you think about salt for instance, if you put a lot of water in the salt and you stir it up it dissolves, but if you only put a few drops and water in the salt it’s going to mainly just stay crystallized.
That’s a good analogy for understanding why you need water to keep things dissolved so that they can pass instead of forming a crystal. Again, if you only put like a few drops in that salt, you can easily make a clump of salt because you’d only have enough water.
Bacteria could also form it. Inflammation or scarring within the urinary system. Another risk factor is being elderly, being sedentary. Sedentary, of course, can apply to any age, it’s not just the elderly. Cadmium exposure. One of the top reasons someone might be exposed to cadmium is through smoking. High intake of alcohol, oral contraceptives, and then long-term use of diuretics. Diuretics is any substance that can make you have to go to the bathroom more.
Some medications are considered diuretics especially if you just have a lot of water on your body that’s not supposed to be there. A diuretic is what would be used to get the water off. Of course, going back to hypertension, some of those are in fact diuretics too. Not all of them but certain classes are diuretic medications.
Calcium oxalate stone contributors. This is one type of kidney stone—it’s calcium oxalate. This is the one that I think is more well known by the public is calcium oxalate stones. That can come from when your body is in a state of hypercalcemia, so there’s a lot of calcium in the blood. This could be from a bone disease, as well as sarcoidosis, and tuberculosis. This is called primary/enteric hyperoxaluria secondary to bone disease. Because of the bone disease, you can have too many oxalates within the body. When they say enteric they’re talking about the intestine. It could also be high calcium in the urine without high calcium in the blood. This could be a hyper absorption, so too much absorption of calcium happening in the intestines. There is a compromise in the amount of calcium that the kidneys absorb.
Your kidneys are filters and they’re also absorbers of certain things at different processes along with their function. There could be an issue in terms of how the calcium gets reabsorbed. Also, increased uric acid excretion. The uric acid crystals themselves can form different calcium oxalate compounds. That could happen within what’s called the collecting ducts of the kidneys. There could also be more oxalates in the urine. This could either be genetic or caused by enteric or intestinal diseases resulting from intestinal over-absorption of oxalate.
There is in fact a link between the gastrointestinal system and how well your kidneys function. I think sometimes this can be missed again when you’re only looking at the reductionism factor. There’s a particular test that I run on my clients with digestive issues. It’s a urine metabolite test. Within that test, you may see that you have a high oxalate count. It doesn’t mean that you have kidney stones but there’s something about your body that is producing a very, very high oxalate count. In that case, it can be important to address that then before you even have something like an oxalate kidney stone. Actually, I have noticed that people with autism can also have very high oxalate counts.
Hypocitraturia is also a cause and that can come from chronic diarrhea as well. That’s considered idiopathic. For me, as someone who focuses on digestive health, I’ve had clients come to me with chronic diarrhea. That will be also in the setting of bloating, food sensitivities, and all of that. When we work on those things diarrhea can slow down and they can have better-formed stools.
I’ll probably say this later but I’ll say it also now, one of the things that I hope you’re that you’re picking up as you’re listening is the fact that it is important to figure out why you are in fact forming kidney stones. This is like Dr. Wallach did with the guy that you mentioned. He figured out it had to do with the deficiency of calcium and it was causing hyperparathyroidism. You have to figure out what type of stone it is and then why you’re creating that stone to be able to get to a solution that works for that person.
On to the next type of stone is the uric acid stones. That essentially, going back to what I said before with the crystals, it’s because you have high uric acid in the blood. That can prosper of course in acidic urine. Lastly, there are the ones but I just wanted to focus on a couple, cystine stones. This is more genetic and it also forms in acidic urine. The first client I had with kidney disease he has cystine kidney stones. That’s actually a more rare type. Most people, as I mentioned before, have the oxalate type of kidney stones. For cystine kidney stones, what can be really helpful is alkalinizing the urine, but we’ll go into that as well.
In general, when you’re dealing with kidney stones, the pain treatments that are usually prescribed by physicians in terms of medication would be antispasmodics. That is designed to help keep you from spasming. When a kidney stone is in there you want to try to loosen up everything so that it will be able to pass better. The antispasmodics can be helpful in that regard. Hemostatic is another type of medication that’s designed to help stop the blood.
A hot soak bath, as you mentioned with your friend, is that the hot soak baths may be also helpful for pain. A few other things to keep in mind, going the more Naturopathic route, is to reduce large amounts of meat. If you’re having a lot of meat, it can create a very acidic environment. If you’re having way too much of it can cause a lot of problems and it’s not the best thing for your kidneys, especially if you already are having kidney disease, that is a very common thing for me to tell someone is you definitely need to reduce your protein. Particularly animal protein, in large amounts, can be quite damaging for kidneys. If it’s already damaged, it’s even more important for you to reduce it, but if they’re not damaged you want to only have a moderate amount. You can’t be meat, meat, meat all day long.
[00:48:10] Ashley James: It also depends on the type of meat. Dr. Wallach was a pathologist. He was given diseased kidneys after they were removed for patients who had kidney transplants. He looked at the kidneys and said why did you send me a healthy kidney? The doctor said what are you talking about? I removed the diseased kidney. He said there’s nothing. I can’t find anything wrong with this. He ended up getting the strongest microscope he could and looking at the nephrons of the kidney. What he figured out was that the kidneys were being clogged by nitrates and nitrites. These preservatives that are in deli meats and smoked meats—the molecules are large enough that they actually clog the kidneys, the nephrons in the kidneys.
The kidneys are kind of similar to the eyes in that they’re incredibly vascular. Kidneys and eyes are the first to go. If we have a vascular breakdown, people will lose their eyesight, they’ll start losing their night vision, or they’ll need stronger glasses. Same with the kidneys because they’re very vascular. So vascular that only one blood cell can pass through at a time. That’s how narrow it is. If those passageways are inflamed or damaged by certain chemicals like sodium nitrite, potassium nitrate, or however—it’s the nitrates and the nitrites. The bacon is the most common example but hotdogs and any kind of smoked meat, that, Dr. Wallach found, will absolutely over time, not only damage the eyes but will damage the kidneys and damage the vasculature in the body where the capillaries are so thin that only like one blood cell pass through at a time.
That’s where the nitrates and the nitrites do their damage to us. They’re not needed for preserving meat, they actually just prevent the meat from looking gray. When someone goes to buy hotdogs or bacon, if they see the hotdogs are gray, we think oh it’s gone bad. That’s actually what meat normally looks like if it’s sitting there for a few days or if it hasn’t been frozen. So many meats have been preserved with these chemicals that are harmful to the body to make them look appetizing.
That’s what Dr. Wallach does. The first thing he does with someone who has kidney disease is he says no nitrates or nitrites, no fried food at all, 100% remove fried food. There are about 12 foods that he removes from the diet that cause damage to the vasculature of, not only the kidneys but the whole body, but it’s most important in the kidneys because of the concentration of vasculature. Then he focuses on high amounts of antioxidants and then he gets them on certain nutrients to make sure that they get the 90 essential nutrients—all vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids. That’s his protocol no matter what. No matter what kind of kidney stone the person has, no matter what kind of kidney disease because he’s looking at supporting the kidney’s health overall.
It’s very interesting when you start to see how an experienced Naturopath treats someone’s kidney disease versus how an experienced medical doctor would treat someone’s kidney disease because the medical doctor is not trained to heal the person to the point where they no longer need medication. The medical doctor is trained to manage someone’s disease state. Manage them, make them comfortable, obviously, make sure they don’t die and get them on dialysis that kind of thing. But a Naturopath’s goal is to get them to the point where they’re disease-free. It’s a totally different philosophy. It’s very interesting.
I like that you brought up alkalizing the body, drinking plenty of water. Depending on which kind of kidney stone or kidney disease they’re going to see more benefit, but in general, wouldn’t everyone across the board, wouldn’t all kidneys benefit from a more alkalized urine or alkalized diet and drinking enough water? Is there a time when a kidney wouldn’t benefit from that?
[00:53:02] Dr. Devin Miles: In general, the body does better when it’s—I wouldn’t say just so far alkaline. At one point I saw alkaline urine but the person was still having a lot of problems. I wouldn’t use the urine as a marker to say everything’s good because my urine is alkaline. There are other things that can be out of balance. It depends on what the person is dealing with, but yes, in general, if you stay in a more alkalinized way of life compared to what the standard American diet is, you’re bound to see some improvements in your health. Because the standard American diet is very, very acidic. That’s why this push into a more alkaline diet can bring you back to the balance that you need to be at.
[00:53:58] Ashley James: We have to understand that kidney disease or kidney stones is actually a symptom and not the problem. It is a problem but it’s not a problem. All the symptoms we’re experiencing are not the root cause. The body is speaking to us, my body is out of balance, something’s going on. We have to go deeper and find the root cause and the root cause is always going to be how do I support the body to balance itself out? Because the body knows how to heal itself when we remove the things that are hurting it, give it the nutrients it needs and it’s important needs so that it can do its own work the body does its own healing. We have to figure out what we’re doing to hinder that healing and how we can support that healing. That’s why I love how flexible Naturopaths are because that’s what you’re looking for. How can I support this body to heal itself?
[00:54:53] Dr. Devin Miles: Yeah. Going back to what you said about the nitrates and nitrites, chemical and heavy metal toxicity is a significant obstacle that needs to be removed. That I think is a huge piece as to why Americans and I suppose Canadians as well, I can’t speak to Canadians, but in general, I think why our world is getting sicker and sicker. Because it’s in addition to I talked about with medications being synthetic, chemicals themselves are foreign to the body. They’re not supposed to be there. When we’re consuming them through our food, our water, and our air all of these things also need to be looked at.
Not too long into when I started my business, I’m on Instagram @drdevinmiles, and another organization reached out to me. They were advocating for farmers. I think it was Central America, but apparently, there was something about the practices that were going on down there that was giving people kidney disease. It was a chemical within the crop that they were farming.
[00:56:15] Ashley James: It was probably glyphosate which is in Roundup. I’m only saying this because in Sri Lanka, the whole country banned glyphosate which is in Roundup. At the time it was Monsanto, they banned Monsanto’s Roundup because the farmers who are working in the rice paddy field so if you’ve ever seen rice fields it’s like a marsh and the farmers— their skin is exposed to the water. Before they used Roundup they were using arsenic as a way to combat pests. That was working, I guess. I don’t know how they didn’t have arsenic poisoning but that was working, and then they used glyphosate.
The problem with glyphosate is that it’s a chelator. It binds to certain heavy metals and then it will release them when pH changes in the body. When pH changes in the body it’s when fluids change from one to another so blood to cerebral spinal fluid, blood to urine. That’s why, all of a sudden, all farmers in Sri Lanka developed kidney disease because the glyphosate which had bound to the, I believe it was arsenic, metals in the water and then was releasing them quickly into the kidneys. If you can imagine running a country and all of your farmers who are working in the rice fields become sick you want to take action.
Luckily, they detected it was that and they got rid of it. Unfortunately, Monsanto or now Bayer has been pressuring the country to let them use it again. I don’t know where that stands, but that’s the problem with glyphosate. I’m sure there are other ones but glyphosate in particular is a nasty chemical that is put into our crops because it is a chelator that will bind to heavy metals and then deposit them into our brain and into our kidneys. Kidneys more so than the brain, from what I’ve heard. I’m imagining that’s what it is. Like you said, chemicals are man-made are foreign to the body. We did not evolve for hundreds of thousands of years with these chemicals.
[00:58:36] Dr. Devin Miles: Right. I would just like to also say when it came to these farmers these are like 28-year-old men. Sometimes we look at kidney disease as something that may happen to people later, and that’s not necessarily the case. It is important to keep a diet that is conducive to kidney health and also to be mindful of the different chemicals like the nitrates, the nitrates, and glyphosate to make sure that you’re avoiding those things as much as possible.
Of course, if you can have more of an organic diet you’re going to reduce the amount of chemicals that you’re exposed to even through eating things that are per se from scratch or fresh produce. Because, of course, there’s going to be higher amounts of pesticides, fungicides, and all of these, there’s going to be higher amounts if you are in fact eating non-organic produce. I particularly tell people who like to juice, when you’re juicing juice organic because you’re getting a higher amount of everything—the good and the bad. Just make sure when you’re juicing that you’re juicing organic.
[00:59:48] Ashley James: Absolutely. That’s very important. Even go so far as to grow your own produce and juice it or a friend or a farmer locally that you know that you can get to know the quality of the produce. That’s awesome. Are there any other? I know we got side-tracked there. You’ve got a list, you’ve got a list. Okay, let’s continue on your list.
[01:00:15] Dr. Devin Miles: In addition to large amounts of meat, restricting alcohol, coffee, and black tea. One thing that I would say about coffee is that coffee is in fact a diuretic. When you drink coffee, you have to make sure that you’re balancing it out with even more water because coffee is going to make you lose water. If you’re trying to protect your kidneys and you’re trying to avoid kidney stones you have to compensate with drinking more water if you’re in fact going to drink coffee. But in general, it’s better to get off of having too much coffee in your life. Again, you would have to figure out why someone’s drinking. I’ve seen some clients drink like half a pot of coffee, that’s way too much. Helping you to get off of coffee is going to be really important for you, as well as black tea.
One of the things that can be helpful for calcium oxalate stones is magnesium, and the reason for that is because it increases what’s called the solubility of it. Getting back to making sure that it does not clump and form a crystal in the urine. Magnesium helps to decrease that chance of that happening. Also, potassium can do essentially the same thing. It helps to reduce the saturation of calcium oxalate and it helps to decrease crystal formation.
Stopping smoking. As I mentioned before, if you are a smoker you’re getting in more cadmium and that can increase your chances of forming stones. Of course, that’s easier said than done but starting that path. This is another reason why it would be worth starting that path. Reducing caffeine intake and in general, hydrating to the point of two liters per day of output. That’s what I mean when I’m saying drinking a lot of water.
I have a lot of clients who when they first start coming to me they’re only drinking about two glasses a day. You hear everybody say drink water, make sure you hydrate yourself, but there’s a lot of people on a day-to-day basis who are not doing that. I would just encourage everyone, not just people who have kidney stones or kidney disease, to drink a good amount of water every day. I try to make sure people are getting at least eight glasses a day, it just depends on what they’re coming in for, but particularly for kidney stones, kidney disease you need to be drinking a lot more water.
[01:02:45] Ashley James: Could we stop there for a sec? How much is enough? I’ve heard drink ½ of your body weight in ounces. If you’re 200 pounds you should drink 100 ounces a day. I’ve also heard you could drink 1/3 of your body weight in ounces but then add 8 ounces for every vice. Every time you’re stressed out, exercise, smoke, or drink caffeine or alcohol. What’s your philosophy on how much water we should drink?
[01:03:17] Dr. Devin Miles: I usually try to get people to do half their body weight in ounces. If it’s somebody who’s overweight, that can be an astronomical number for them. I just try to get them to drink as much as possible. When I say half your body weight in ounces, I find that to be something that has to be worked up to. I’m always just trying to get my clients to get to that level. I mainly just keep it at half your body weight in ounces. I try to talk to them about the type of water that I would like them to drink.
If they have like a reverse osmosis filtration system I’m going to suggest adding more minerals, or at the very least, adding some sea salt to the water you drink or some lemon juice, cucumber, or lime juice to put minerals back in the water. Because when you drink just water that is reverse osmosis, it’s less nourishing to your system because water is not just something to help with solubility and increasing filtration, it’s also supposed to be very nourishing to the body. It supplies some of these minerals, right? Having something like spring water, alkaline water, or putting things in your water to increase the mineral content is something that I do suggest and just making sure that they’re drinking half their body weight in ounces. At a minimum, eight glasses a day.
I’m somebody who needs about eight glasses or so in terms of my body weight, I’m a smaller person. When I put that rule out there, I know that that’s roughly the minimum. That’s why I’m always trying to just get people even to that point.
[01:04:59] Ashley James: It also depends on someone’s diet. Someone who eats a carnivore diet versus a paleo diet versus a whole food plant-based diet, it’s going to get different levels of fiber. I’ve known people who’ve switched over to eating more fiber and all of a sudden they became more dehydrated because they didn’t realize that fiber binds to the moisture. If you’re going to start eating more fiber eating more fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Especially chia or flax, you definitely want to add a lot more water to it.
If you don’t get enough fiber, there’s a whole separate discussion on the long term damages that the body will undergo if we don’t get enough fiber. Of course, not enough fiber and not enough water combined—you’re setting your body up for disease. We want to increase fiber and increase water. If you increase fiber you’ve got to increase water even more.
[01:06:00] Dr. Devin Miles: Another way that some men might be able to gauge their water intake is by their ejaculation fluids. Sometimes it can be very, very clumpy if they’re not drinking enough water, and other times it’s more fluid if they’re drinking enough. That could be another quick way to tell.
[01:06:24] Ashley James: That’s interesting. I didn’t know that. I learned something new.
[01:06:31] Dr. Devin Miles: The other thing that I wanted to mention was some things that can be helpful for the cystine stones because that is more rare, as I mentioned before, alkalinizing the urine is important. I had a client who was forming kidney stones every single year for the past 30-something years. He had to get lithotripsy to dissolve them and break them up. That’s a procedure you would go in the office to get the skinny stones broken up.
He would notice that every time he would get those procedures done his kidney function would go down. Now that he’s very focused on keeping his urine alkaline, which he does test through the pH strips, through his diet he does this. Ever since he’s done that he has significantly reduced how often he gets kidney stones. At one point he was not getting them at all. Just recently he had a little pinch of something but nothing compared to what he used to get every single year.
For people with kidney stones that are cystine, just know that if you are very committed to alkalinizing the urine you can see some results that way from preventing the formation of kidney stones. Of course, just restricting the amount of sodium that’s less formation of different crystals within the body as well. I was just going to talk about a few herbs that can be helpful for kidney function as well, is that where you like me to go next?
[01:08:22] Ashley James: Yeah.
[01:08:23] Dr. Devin Miles: Okay. All right. Cool. Of course, the next step is how are your kidneys in general? If you’re somebody who’s forming kidney stones a lot there may be a propensity to do kidney damage. One of the things that I implement with my clients who have high-risk factors for kidney disease and then I also would implement it for clients who also have kidney disease are herbs that can be protective of the kidneys and also help to restore function to the kidneys.
When I said to address the cause, hypertension and diabetes are two top reasons that people might have kidney disease or get kidney disease in the United States. Just remember that, in general, you have to look at the cause of kidney disease. Kidney disease usually happens because of something else going on in the body. Even if it’s very much kidney related, there’s some sort of imbalance going on in the body that needs to be addressed.
Milk thistle is an herb that most people know about for the liver, but milk thistle is also very beneficial for the kidneys. It helps to reduce blood glucose. It also helps to reduce your HbA1c as well as serum creatinine. Creatinine is a marker that you can look at to assess kidney function. It’s often looked at when you get routine blood work. It could also reduce uric acid in urine volume, and it does help to regenerate the kidneys. Milk thistle itself is an antioxidant. I do want to mention what you said about what Dr. Wallach said about increasing antioxidants. In my studies of kidney disease, the main theme that I pulled from that was you have to reduce the inflammation and you have to improve the antioxidant status of the person’s body.
Inflammation can feed free radical damage, free radical damage can feed inflammation. It’s important to reduce the inflammation and boost the antioxidants at the same time. Milk thistle can be helpful with improving antioxidant status within the body. Secondly would be cordyceps. Cordyceps isn’t actually an herb, it’s more like a fungus but it could also help to reduce blood urine nitrogen.
Again, another marker that is often used to assess the kidney function, reduces creatinine, and increases protein in the urine. Protein in the urine is a common sign that people look forward to assess if the kidneys are damaged. When I talked about kidneys being a filtration system, the kidneys are not supposed to be filtering out protein in such a way that it would be picked up on a urinalysis. If there’s protein in your urine, there’s some sort of compromise going on with the kidneys.
Cordyceps also, just overall, improves the immune system, it can help with improvement in anemia, and also is good for kidney regeneration. When we talk about kidney regeneration I highlight that on purpose because in conventional medicine, if there’s not that idea that the kidneys can regenerate themselves is non-existent. The liver is very well-known to regenerate. It has the capability to regenerate itself.
In modern conventional medicine, that belief system is not there unless you’re at extremely early stages of kidney disease. They may see that oh you’re having some protein in your urine. It may be something having to do with your blood pressure is too high. If you start to correct things very quickly in that moment like an MD, you can see some reversal and get out of kidney disease. But if you’re at kidney disease stage 3, they’re not trying to tell you that we can get you out of kidney disease because they have this idea that the kidneys cannot regenerate.
This is where Naturopathic medicine can come in and help to start to bring back function to the kidneys. A lot of people do call me when they’re at kidney disease stage 4 or stage 5. I want to bring that to people’s attention as well. I launched a free ebook for people to start to learn how to monitor their own kidney function because it’s like there’s some sort of disconnect between the position telling them hey you’re at kidney disease stage 1, 2, or 3. It’s like they don’t really tell them until they’re at stage 4 or stage 5. Even before that, even if they know they have kidney disease, the physicians are saying things like oh you’re fine, it’s not that bad.
Around stage 4 or stage 5 they’re like hey you’re at stage 4 or stage 5, you need to be considering dialysis. I think that the educational piece is not there. I find it important to put that back on the public to be like hey this is what you need to be looking at when you get your routine blood work and it’s only a few markers that I educate people on to look at and to look at it regularly, especially if you are at higher risk for getting kidney disease [inaudible 01:14:13] thing because you have something like hypertension, lupus, or diabetes so that you can bring that to your physician and be like hey what do we need to do about this? This is what’s going on. That’s really important.
The milk thistle can be helpful, cordyceps can be helpful, and then flaxseed can also be helpful as well. It helps to reduce the inflammation and can be very helpful in the case of lupus nephritis. Any other questions you have, Ashley?
[01:14:47] Ashley James: Yeah. I’ve definitely heard of herbs being used to soften the kidney stones and herbs used to support the kidney function and decrease inflammation. These are all tools that MDs have no training in. Of course, Naturopaths, this is where you guys shine. What about homeopathy or other forms of therapies or therapeutic interventions to support kidneys? Have you seen homeopathy be successfully used?
[01:15:19] Dr. Devin Miles: I have not used homeopathy for kidney disease. I’m aware that it has been used, I just haven’t used it myself yet. I’ve been more focused on the herbs for helping with kidney disease. Unfortunately, I can’t speak too much to that, but I do know that in some cases like homeopathic mustard seed might be helpful for kidney disease.
[01:15:43] Ashley James: Interesting. That’s cool. Awesome. Do you have any stories of success you’d like to share?
[01:15:53] Dr. Devin Miles: The main one is the guy with the cystine kidney stones. As I mentioned before, when we alkalinized his urine, he stopped having kidney stones. In addition to that though, when he did start to have more of an alkalized diet, he also was someone who was dealing with hypertension and high uric acid. He has not had to take as much hypertensive medication. His uric acid also went down. Of course, by the time I started working with him he was already at like stage 4 kidney disease. I did put him on a blend of herbs that also included cordyceps.
Another one that can be helpful is nettle seed. We hear about nettles more so from the standpoint of seasonal allergies but that is nettle’s leaf. When it comes to herbs, you have to also know what part of the herb that you need to bring about the result that you’re looking for. Nettle seed is also helpful for improving the function of the kidneys. It was that as well as gotu kola can also be helpful for reducing the scarring of the kidneys. That’s something else to keep in mind is that when the kidneys are scarred, that is another area where conventional medicine does not have a solution for. Once it’s scarred it’s scarred. But with herbal medicine, you can in fact start to see a reduction of scarring within the kidneys.
[01:17:44] Ashley James: Gotu kola is not a type of soda pop.
[01:17:48] Dr. Devin Miles: No, no. It is not a type of soda pop.
[01:17:50] Ashley James: It sounds like a delicious drink, gotu kola. It’s an herb, right?
[01:17:57] Dr. Devin Miles: Yes, it’s an herb. Kola is spelled K-O-L-A. This is an herb with multiple benefits—as most herbs are. Most herbs have multiple different things that they are capable of doing. In school, we had a garden of herbs in the back. Some of the students would just chew some of the gotu kola leaves before they went for an exam because it can be helpful with cognitive function. It’s also helpful for situations like venous insufficiency. It’s a good toner for the vessels. When we’re talking about kidney disease, of course, we’re also talking about the blood vessels as well. It may be indicated in that way as well, but I particularly use it if I am looking to help reduce the scarring of the kidneys.
That would be my main one where I saw not just the blend of herbs that I used on that client did help to increase kidney function. It was at a point where he was very concerned about going on dialysis. This was somebody who really wanted to avoid dialysis. He had a commitment to staying on the herbs, sticking to his diet. That would be a big thing that I would tell people with kidney disease is that you have to be very, very proactive about it because, for years, this client was not.
He ate a lot of meat. He took his blood pressure medication but at one point he wasn’t taking it the way he should and all of these things. You just have to make sure that you’re very committed to helping make sure that your body stays in balance and taking the different herbs that people are suggesting or the different minerals and being consistent with that.
Just speaking up, if for some reason something is not working for you, particularly with men. I have noticed that sometimes they will stop taking something and not tell you something about it—I felt sick or something like that. You have to be able to voice that so that the doctor can adjust things because there’s a lot of different herbs that can be helpful for kidney disease. It’s not like I’m just sticking with just one. It’s just important that you are very much communicating what you need with your doctor so that you can get to the goal of restoring kidney function.
[01:20:27] Ashley James: I love it. It is possible. It’s possible to support the body’s ability in healing itself. Just to come at it from a different angle, my cat who is 16 years old has kidney disease. I was seeing a traditional vet and there were very little resources she had. Then I went to a holistic vet. I guess this is kind of like the Naturopath of vets. He’s been a vet for over 30 years, and he uses natural medicine for animals. I know him because a friend of mine, he reversed a chronic disease in her cat. Her cat lived, I think something like 21, very healthfully.
I brought my cat to him and he immediately found so many issues. He found a parasite that was actually never seen in cats, it’s only ever seen in dogs, so we treated that. He adjusted our cat’s food and gave him a supplement. He said I don’t expect it to completely go away, but I definitely expect us to go back to like early, early stage. That’s what’s happened for our cat, who’s a senior—as a 16-year-old, he went from almost end-stage kidney disease to very, very beginning kidney disease. Our vet believes that now he’s going to live a very long and healthy life.
We are animals. Our bodies are just like animals. If we can do that, if we can reverse and prevent disease in animals, we can do it to our own body. Bringing back up Dr. Wallach, his background is on a farm. He was raised on a farm. He saw as a child, he asked his parents why do we give supplements to the cows but we don’t take supplements. Our cows don’t wait to get sick and then go to a doctor and then get put on a bunch of medication. His farm wasn’t like a factory farmer; those cows got to go outside, get exercise, and eat grass.
They were also given supplements. He read the ingredients and he saw well there are vitamins, there are minerals in here. They make sure the calves are given all these pellets with all these minerals. He thought it was really odd that the system of medicine for animals was to prevent disease because preventing disease is cheaper than waiting to get sick and then having to pay for medication.
Can you imagine if our animals were in the same medical system as all of us, right? A burger would be $5,000 because the animal would have to wait to get sick and then be put on all these medications and have all these surgeries. It’s kind of ridiculous but it’s because it’s for-profit. Because it’s for-profit, it benefits the farmer to make sure they prevent disease in animals. Why isn’t our focus in medicine to prevent disease in humans? Because it’s for profit.
We have to remember that the funding that these universities have, and have had for over 100 years, are from the pharmaceutical industry. That there’s a lot going on in the background that has the system set up in a way that is for-profit. I’m not saying that individual doctors are evil and looking to profit from our sickness, but that the system as a whole is set up to profit from people being sick and not profit from preventing illness.
If we can look at that, how do farmers keep healthcare costs down on the farm? Again, I’m not saying factory farms because those are incredibly sick and damaged animals, but the farms where the animals roam free. What are the farmers doing to keep animals healthy and prevent disease, and why don’t we adopt the exact same philosophy? Have access to clean water, get plenty of outdoor exercise, get really healthy, eat lots of plants, and also take supplements when needed to fill in those nutrient gaps.
That’s what farmers do to prevent disease on the farm is to make sure that there are no nutrient deficiencies in the animals. When there is, there are documented cases of the disease. That’s the same as humans. It’s very clear that the philosophy of health and medicine make a difference when it comes to seeing a Naturopath versus any other kind of practitioner.
[01:25:23] Dr. Devin Miles: Just kind of an overall thing that I think our society, the way that it’s built, is that there were things built upon that needed adjustment. When you build something and you’re not flexible in the building of it to create an environment that allows for adjustment, I think that is maybe where some of the problem lies especially if it’s lucrative in how it’s built. When we’re talking about the system of health in this country is not what it should be, it’s a system that was built. You have to be able to break that down and to adjust it. When people are finally willing to break it down and do it again, I think that’s when you’re going to really see some change.
[01:26:22] Ashley James: Those that are listening right are those who their thinking is in the right place. They want to do everything they can to support their body’s ability to heal itself, they want to nutrify their body. The 37.2 trillion cells in their body are crying out to be detoxified, filled with nutrients, hydrated, and treated with love. That’s what we want to do, it’s what our listeners want to do. They’ve learned so much from you today. I’d love for you to give us some homework. Set us up with some homework that we can do every day to optimize our kidney health and prevent kidney disease.
[01:26:59] Dr. Devin Miles: A few things that have been helpful for alkalinizing the urine—one of them is pomegranate juice. Making sure that you’re getting a very high-quality pomegranate juice is where you’ll see the most benefit from that. Cantaloupe is another one. Pinto beans, which was like oh really. Pinto beans can also be another one that can be helpful for alkalinizing the urine. Getting pH strips if in fact you do have kidney stones or kidney disease and regularly testing your urine to make sure that it’s staying in the alkaline range.
You will be able to start to notice what acidifies your urine, what makes it more alkaline. Through that process, you’ll be able to have a more balanced diet. I’m not saying that you can’t eat meat, but it needs to be most likely more moderate if you have very acidic urine. That’s the same with, of course, coffee, which is in addition to being a diuretic it’s also very highly acidic. Looking at the things that cause acidity, it’s not just about knowing what alkalinizes the body, it’s also about knowing what makes it acidic and having a better balance between those.
Pomegranate juice, cantaloupe, and pinto beans are three foods that you can start incorporating more to achieve better alkalinity. Water, water, water. I cannot stress that enough because I really feel like most people take that part for granted like it’s not that important but it is very, very important. Just remembering that magnesium can also help increase the solubility of these different compounds that can form crystals.
Magnesium can be helpful for constipation. It’s also helpful for reducing muscle spasms. When we were talking about the prescription medications that are called antispasmodics, magnesium can also help to be an antispasmodic. The three alkalizing foods: pomegranate, juice cantaloupe, pinto beans. Remember to drink half your body weight in ounces with water, and then keeping in mind that magnesium can be very helpful if in fact you have a kidney stone, or if in fact you have constipation.
Again, remembering if you have a digestive issue you have some sort of intestinal problem, that also needs to be addressed so that you can reduce forming different types of kidney stones.
[01:29:47] Ashley James: Before we hit record, you had alluded that there’s a connection between gut health, maybe in the microbiome, and kidney health. Can you go into that a bit?
[01:29:58] Dr. Devin Miles: If there is an imbalance within the intestinal tract, sometimes you can have increased absorption of certain compounds like intestinal over-absorption of oxalates. When you have that happening, then the kidneys have to filter that out. If you’re putting too much in the kidneys in terms of different compounds that are conducive to forming kidney stones, again, that’s another situation where it’s too saturated. It’s important from that standpoint, in terms of understanding where this excess amount of compounds going to the kidneys is coming from, it may in fact be coming from a compromised intestinal mucosal layer.
In that case, I would be concerned about okay, do you have good digestive health? What’s your secretory IgA levels? Do you have food sensitivities? Do you have gas and bloating? What’s your mental health like? If clinically, something is a little bit imbalanced mentally, that could also be something simple as you need to stop eating gluten because gluten and mental health have been very much linked, and of course gluten and digestive issues have been very much linked. It’s about figuring out okay do you have a digestive component to kidney stones? Do you have a digestive component to kidney disease?
[01:31:37] Ashley James: You mentioned earlier oxalates, should everyone monitor their oxalates and reduce them, or only those with kidney disease? Do oxalates cause kidney disease? How can some people eat pounds of spinach and be totally fine, and other people barely look at spinach and get a kidney stone?
[01:32:02] Dr. Devin Miles: I think some of that could in fact be genetic. Going back to maybe someone has a deficiency of the calcium and so they’re forming calcium oxalate stones. Maybe it has more to do with the calcium versus the oxalate. If they have digestive issues, I do think getting tested to see if you have high oxalate amounts could be a good idea, especially if kidney stones were running in your family, there’s a chance that you might be more prone to making them.
So no, I don’t think everyone needs to be monitoring their oxalate levels, but I think people who might have conditions where there’s a propensity to monitor oxalates, then yes, it would be a good idea for you to monitor them. As I mentioned before, if it’s increased uric acid excretion that’s forming the calcium oxalate stones, then decreasing the uric acid would be really important as well. B6 is another vitamin that can be helpful for reducing calcium oxalates as well.
[01:33:15] Ashley James: Excellent. You mentioned magnesium and I got to say, my favorite magnesium—my favorite source, is Kristen Bowen. I’ve had her on the show a few times. She has a magnesium soak that is from the Zechstein Sea and it also has other cofactors in it. You absorb 20 grams of magnesium when you soak in it for an hour.
The first time I soaked in it I felt drunk. I actually felt like I was getting a Myers push. I felt like I was getting IV magnesium, and I couldn’t believe it. I felt it in my body. I’m like whoa, this is amazing. If anyone’s ever had like a Myers push or had like an IV magnesium, you kind of feel drunk. You feel high, you feel very happy, and very relaxed. That’s exactly how I felt in my first time doing her foot. It’s easy just to put your feet in it and soak, but you can also soak in a whole bath. That was probably about two years ago. I’ve had her on the show.
It’s very interesting, she’s done thousands of labs with her customers over the years, over the last I think 13-14 years, and she has people test their magnesium RBC levels before starting and then they do a 30-day challenge where they soak every day for 30 days in the magnesium and then they test their magnesium RBC levels again. 76% of people reach full cell saturation of 5.0, which that’s not the ideal number. Ideally, you want to be more closer to 7.0, but being at 5.0 is good. We’re out of the deficiency. We’re no longer magnesium deficient. The other percentage just takes longer and take more time in soaking.
What she finds is that then when people—through the skin, when you’re absorbing through the skin, they’re obviously bypassing any digestive issues with absorption. Those people then, they’re sort of burning their magnesium faster than they can absorb either through chronic fatigue, or there are other things going on that their body’s sort of using up more magnesium than it can take in and it just takes them longer to soak in it to get to full cell saturation. It helps them to understand underlying issues.
That’s been my favorite source of magnesium. If you want, I’ll send you some information on it. I’ve had over 2,000 listeners use her magnesium soak and absolutely love it. Many of them have shared in the Learn True Health Facebook group their experiences with it, that it’s been life-changing.
My whole family, including our son, loves it. It really helped him with his sleep because we had a really hard time getting him to sleep until he started soaking and putting the magnesium in his bath. He now goes to sleep much easier, which is great. Any parent who struggles with a child that won’t go to sleep it’s like a lifesaver. It’s a magnesium soak and it can be found at livingthegoodlifenaturally.com and then use coupon code LTH for the listener discount. I know that’s like the world’s longest URL, livingthegoodlifenaturally.com. Coupon code LTH.
Your website is easy to remember, however. It’s drdevinmiles.com. Of course, the links to everything you do—your Twitter, your Instagram, your Facebook, and your YouTube—it’s all going to be in the show notes of today’s podcast at learntruehealth.com.
It’s been great talking to you about kidney health. Everything that you talked about, in terms of supporting kidneys would support the whole body. Drinking more water supports the whole body. Focusing on making sure digestion is optimal. Making sure we’ve got the right vitamins, the right minerals. Making sure that we’re adjusting the diet to include more plants, more fiber. Taking some herbs that not only support the kidneys but support other functions of the body.
In terms of taking those herbs, I would hate for someone to take too much of it. Is there a dosage or a way? Would you rather have them take it as a tea, a tincture, or a dried herb in a capsule? Could you get into that?
[01:37:43] Dr. Devin Miles: That’s varied per person, to be honest. There’s definitely such a thing as too much of an herb. When it comes to dosages, it really is dependent. It’s like what you were saying before with people with digestive issues, they sometimes may need more, sometimes they may need less. It really does depend. When you’re talking about the magnesium, one thing that can be helpful for people with digestive issues is instead of a tablet, having more of a capsule, a powder, or a liquid [inaudible 01:38:18] so much further with them versus something that’s like one more thing that’s hard for them to digest because the powder or the liquids are going to get into their system much quicker.
But when it comes to kidney disease, usually what I try to do is the tinctures, which is a liquid so that it can get into their system much quicker. Especially when you’re doing herbal combinations and you’re doing at least five herbs, doing it in the liquid form is going to be much easier for them to take versus five different capsules of herbs. It just depends on the person though because I could say that and then they may be like no, I’d rather capsules. It’s also about listening to the person in what they need. In terms of dosages, it really just depends on the person.
[01:39:10] Ashley James: Got it. It’s best to work with a Naturopathic physician who’s experienced in working with supporting the kidneys.
[01:39:18] Dr. Devin Miles: Yes, yes, yes.
[01:39:20] Ashley James: Like yourself.
[01:39:21] Dr. Devin Miles: Yes, you know what I mean? It brings to light the hope that things can change. We’re more educated in this realm of possibility. It’s that yes, these things can in fact help your kidneys. You don’t have to just wait until dialysis happens. You can be doing something in the interim to support kidney health.
That’s one thing that I’m always trying to help people to understand is that what I do is empowering. I’m not just here to help per se fix you. It’s not just about that. It’s about teaching you how to help yourself, and that’s really what I’m doing. I’m a teacher, and I like being able to teach people.
[01:40:10] Ashley James: Right. The root for doctor is doceri, which means teacher, so you take that very seriously. You can’t come home with us, make us take our supplements, cook our food for us, make us go for walks, and make us drink our water. You have to teach us so that we go do it ourselves. The hope needs to be installed, needs to be shared. We really need to believe. The first thing we need to do is believe the body can heal itself.
The things I’ve seen the body heal are so miraculous. Using Dr. Wallach as an example, he has helped thousands of people get off of dialysis—no longer need dialysis when they were told they would be on dialysis for the rest of their very short life. We can heal our body to the point where it recovers even when we’ve told it won’t ever recover. So who are they to say you can’t heal yourself.
We first have to decide that yes, there’s always a point of bifurcation, there’s always a point of no return, right? There’s always that, but are you there yet, and who’s to say that you’re at that point? We should never give our personal power over like that. We need to fight right to the very end. Doing things like supporting the body’s ability to heal itself, even if you’re on dialysis, change your diet. Work with a doctor that knows kidneys and know dialysis and so that you can take the supplements that are in alignment with you right now, but take the herbs. Change the diet, change the lifestyle, and do it in a way to support your kidneys. Maybe your body will get so healthy you no longer need dialysis, or maybe you get so healthy your dialysis gets cut in half. Either way, you’re supporting the body as a whole.
It’s just so important that we don’t give up and give our personal power over to someone and just say okay whatever this doctor says this is just the way it’s going to be. It’s ludicrous. We’re giving over our personal power when we do that. We need to fight, keep educating ourselves, and keep learning from doctors like you who have alternative information that is science-based and that empowers us.
We have to question, why is it that not all doctors have this information? We have to advocate for ourselves and go to different doctors. Go to different holistic doctors, go to all sorts of different professionals who have different perspectives and different pieces of the pie so that we can help our body heal, but never, never take no as an answer. Never believe that our body is just breaking down and we’re done.
It upsets me when I hear someone with type 2 diabetes was told they’ll always have type 2 diabetes. They just have to be on this medication for the rest of their life, they’ll always have it. That should be a crime. It should honestly be a crime to be told that when it’s reversible and easily reversed all the time under the care of the right physician, under the care of a Naturopath or under the care of a doctor that practices holistic medicine. Under your care, you’re supporting your clients and your patients in having optimal kidney function at any stage.
[01:43:40] Dr. Devin Miles: To second what you just said, the theme that I want the listeners to keep in their minds is stay curious. If somebody says no this is not possible—just stay curious and go look somewhere else because you’ll probably find the answer that you’re looking for. This world is a very, very large world with a lot of different opinions.
The US is not God when it comes to healing information, they’re certainly not. There are different things that are great here, but if you’re not finding the answers that you’re looking for—stay curious. That would be the thing I would definitely want you to keep in mind because that has really been helpful for me.
I think a lot, and I was curious, and so I just went for it. I didn’t even think about it, honestly. When I was doing all these things in my 20s, I just did them because I saw the possibility. As I learned more, I realized there’s more and there’s more. Just stay curious.
[01:44:51] Ashley James: Stay curious. I love it. Awesome. Thank you so much Dr. Devin Miles for coming on the show today. It’s been such a pleasure having you here.
[01:44:59] Dr. Devin Miles: You’re welcome. Thank you for inviting me to be on the show. I just want to mention to everyone that I am doing telehealth consultations. Even if you’re not right here in Texas I am reachable.
[01:45:15] Ashley James: Fantastic. That’s great information especially nowadays when we can’t even see our doctor in person. Might as well call you up.
[01:45:25] Dr. Devin Miles: That’s what I mean. Go find the answers that you need even if they’re not right in your neighborhood, they’re somewhere else.
[01:45:35] Ashley James: I hope you enjoyed today’s interview with Dr. Devin Miles, holistic Naturopathic physician, and how you can support your overall kidney health. I did mention the supplements that Dr. Wallach created. The mineral supplements that have the very bioavailable form of calcium that’s really supportive of the kidneys, and in some cases, helps to even prevent stones especially when the person has a mineral deficiency.
If you’d like to try those supplements and talk to an expert on them please go to takeyoursupplements.com. You will definitely love those supplements. I’ve been on them since 2011, and they have helped me to reverse my health issues and conceive our child naturally. I have a whole story I’ve shared in the past.
I’m going to be publishing very soon my interview with Dr. Wallach who just turned 80 years old and is still a very active and practicing Naturopathic physician. He is my hero, he’s my mentor, and he is the creator of the supplements that I take and the supplements that we sell at takeyoursupplements.com. Please go to takeyoursupplements.com and check them out. I absolutely love them. I highly recommend them. They are bioavailable, all-natural supplements so that we can make sure that you have all 60 minerals in your life, in your body so you don’t have a mineral deficiency.
Excellent. Thank you so much for being a listener and sharing this episode with those you care about. Let’s help as many people as possible to learn true health.