Our Healing Bones
Your kidneys are best known for their filtering responsibilities, but one of the functions that gets less attention is the production of hormones that keep the body running correctly. While filtering keeps the body in balance by removing waste and keeping salt levels balanced, hormones from the kidney keep things balanced by helping control our blood itself.
Erythropoietin (eh-ri- thruh-poy-tin)
Erythropoietin(eh-ri- thruh-poy-tin) is one hormone secreted by the kidney. It lets bone marrow know to increase production of red blood cells. This helps keep the supply of healthy red blood cells up - remember, red blood cells carry oxygen through the body to the tissues where it’s needed. If the kidneys fail to produce enough of this hormone, it can cause a condition calledanemia(uh-nee-mee-uh), making you feel tired and weak.
Renin (say it like this: REE - nuhn)
Another important product of the kidney is an enzyme called renin (say it like this: REE - nuhn). Renin helps to constrict your small blood vessels when blood pressure is low. This immediately helps keep your blood flowing, and it also helps to trigger thirst - making sure you know to take in the fluids you need to raise your blood pressure. When kidneys are unhealthy, they sometimes produce too much renin, causing high blood pressure or hypertension - this can cause headaches, nosebleeds, and any number of other serious health issues.
Vitamin D can be ingested in food or produced by the skin with sufficient sunlight, but it isn’t usable by the body right away. It first needs to go through the liver, and then through the kidneys to be ready for action. With only a tiny alteration, your kidneys modify Vitamin D for use throughout the body for a number of purposes - absorbing calcium in the intestine, structuring bones, and helping muscles operate, to name a few. Without a sufficient supply of activated Vitamin D, our muscles become weakened and our bones can’t harden sufficiently.