Our kidneys are two bean-shaped structures, which are placed right below the rib cage, on the two sides of the spinal cord.

The kidneys act as a filter and filter the blood to collect all the wastes and excess fluid.

The filtering function of the kidneys is derived from its functional unit, known as nephrons.

The kidneys are packed with millions of these tiny nephrons, which filter small amounts of blood.

Each nephron consists of a structure known as the glomerulus, which prevents RBCs, proteins and other large molecules from passing through, and sends the remaining fluids into the next structure known as the tubule.

The tubule filters out the wastes and the extra fluids and sends the essential minerals back into the bloodstream.

The waste and extra fluid from the urine, which flows to the bladder, where it is stored and excreted through the urethra.

The primary aim of the kidneys is to cleanse the blood of all waste and through this, it helps in keeping the levels of blood electrolytes stable.

It also produces hormones which keep blood pressure in check, produces RBCs and maintains bone health.

Kidney disorders arise from malfunctioning of the nephrons. Because of this, the body becomes incapable of discarding wastes, which over time, starts accumulating in the system.

Kidney disorders are usually chronic, that is, they develop over time, due to other disorders like high blood pressure and diabetes.

Whereas, kidney damages which occur suddenly due to injury or illness are termed as acute kidney injury and this can happen to anyone.

Early on, kidney disorders do not show any evident signs or symptoms and it is primarily detected only during blood or urine tests.

Commonly occurring kidney disorders include kidney cysts, kidney stones, urinary tract infections, and chronic kidney disorders.

Coconut oil is extracted from coconuts, scientifically, Coccus nucifera. The oil is extracted by drying of the coconut. The wet process of coconut oil extraction allows extraction of the oil without drying.

Virgin Coconut oil is extracted from coconut milk or even the meat. The oil itself is a lauric acid and is widely consumed all over the world. It is a source of saturated fatty acids.

This article highlights the role of coconut oil in avoiding and reducing the impact of kidney damage.

Please feel free to use the Table of Contents below to jump to the relevant section –

Coconut Oil for Kidney Disorders

Coconut oil has been found to have numerous health benefits, which has massive potential in the prevention and control of the damage caused by kidney damage.

Coconut Oil Benefits in Kidney Problems

1. Coconut oil has antioxidant property

The kidney tends to produce numerous oxygen free radicals like superoxide, peroxide, etc. The formation of these free radicals is mediated by an enzyme known as Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate or NADPH oxidase.

These free radicals, also known as reactive oxygen species (ROS) controls a wide range of cellular functions including growth factor signaling, cell death, cell division, protein oxidation, mutation and cleavage of DNA, etc.

Under regular circumstances, our kidneys produce some antioxidants which combat these free radicals and alleviate the body of oxidative stress.

Superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, ascorbic acid, and catalase are examples of such antioxidants.

In patients suffering from Diabetic Nephropathy, this system of free radical scavenging enzymes fail to function, and the effect is seen in the kidneys.

Patients with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus and Nephropathy were observed to have low levels of antioxidant enzymes.

An animal study was conducted in 2013 to understand the effects of consumption of Virgin Coconut Oil on the antioxidant levels as compared to Copra Oil, Sunflower Oil, and Olive Oil.

The study went on for 45 days.

Levels of antioxidants like catalase, superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, and reductase were measured after 45 days and it was found that the animals fed with virgin coconut oil had greater levels of these antioxidant enzymes as compared to the animals which were fed the other oils.

What does this mean?

Consumption of a diet rich in coconut oil allows greater production of antioxidant enzymes and thus ameliorates the problems caused by excessive free radical production in patients suffering from diabetic nephropathy.

2. It has anti-inflammatory activity

Inflammation is the natural response of the body to injury. It stimulates the process of healing. Inflammatory agents in our body include complementary proteins, cytokines, etc.

It has found that chronic kidney disease is associated with inflammation.

Here, inflammation is caused by beta-glucans, L-fucose, eso-toxins etc.

Another factor which contributes to inflammation related to kidney damage is the formation of Advanced Glycation End products. AGE products react with blood vessel cells causing inflammation and atherosclerosis.

In 2010, an animal study published in Pharmaceutical Biology investigated the anti-inflammatory properties of Virgin Coconut Oil.

The results concluded that Virgin Coconut Oil inhibited the spreading of chronic inflammatory response.

This activity of Coconut oil was attributed to its ability to decrease the levels of an enzyme called Alkaline Phosphatase in granuloma.

What does this mean?

In patients with chronic kidney disease, inflammation is common and consumption of coconut oil helps reduce the progression of the inflammation.

3. Coconut Oil benefits in Kidney Infection

The kidney infection occurs as a consequence of a type of Urinary Tract Infection is known as Pyelonephritis.

The major causative organisms of Pyelonephritis are bacteria like E coli, and
viruses.

Patients with bladder infection are prone to this disease.

The infecting microorganisms tend to travel from the bladder, which is the original site of infection, to the kidneys.

This may lead to further, more serious conditions in the kidney like chronic kidney disorders, high blood pressure and kidney failure.

Coconut oil has been found to have several antimicrobial and antifungal properties which can be exploited to keep kidney infections under control.

In 2002, a study tried to observe the antimicrobial effects of coconut extract. The antibacterial activity was tested on Staphylococcus aureus, which is a bacterium commonly associated with Urinary Tract Infections.

Observation showed that the coconut extracts had successfully inhibited the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, thus making it an effective antibacterial agent.

What does this mean?

Coconut oil can be used as an effective antimicrobial agent.

4. Coconut Oil helps control cholesterol levels

Cholesterol is a type of fat, which when present in the body in large quantities can cause serious damage in the form of strokes, heart disease, etc.

There are two types of cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.

Out of these two, LDL is known as bad cholesterol and must be carefully avoided to prevent cholesterol build up in the body. One of the main causes of unhealthy cholesterol levels in the body is kidney damage.

An animal study conducted in 2004, observed the capacity of coconut oil to lower the LDL levels over a period of 45 days.

Assessment of the lipid levels in the rats revealed that Virgin Coconut Oil reduced the levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, phospholipids, LDL and very low-density lipoproteins.

On the other hand, it was also instrumental in increasing the levels of High-Density Lipoprotein in serum.

What does this mean?

Coconut Oil plays a very important role in preventing kidney damage induced by high cholesterol levels.

5. Coconut Oil helps in the prevention of kidney stones

Pyelonephritis is a condition which causes inflammation in the kidney and renal tissues.

It develops due to infection by certain microbes like E. coli, which form biofilms in the bladder. In more severe stages, this disorder can cause kidney failure and death.

These microbes reduce the Renal Urokinase enzyme and this favors the formation of kidney stones.

A study was conducted which analyzed the ability of coconut oil to restore the Renal Urokinase activity in patients with Pyelonephritis.

Analysis of the results showed a significant increase in the Renal Urokinase Activity when treated with coconut oil This reduces the chances of occurrence of kidney stones.

What does this mean?

Coconut Oil consumption can help in the prevention and cure of Pyelonephritis and kidney stones.

6. It can protect the kidney from high blood pressure

Hypertension is common among patients with kidney disorders.

This can be due to the involvement in the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone arc, which plays a very important role in the management of blood pressure.

Hence, control of hypertension is necessary to prevent the malfunctioning of the kidneys which may cause renal disorders.

A study aimed to study the antihypertensive effects of Virgin Coconut Oil. Analysis revealed a significant reduction in blood pressure when treated with coconut oil.

This property can be attributed to the high polyphenolic content of Coconut Oil.

The phenolic compounds give the oil a very potent antioxidant activity which scavenges the free radicals generated due to high blood pressure.

Additionally, increased reactive oxygen species in the kidneys lead to the formation of excessive renal nitric oxide which leads to further kidney damage.

Hence, the removal of these free radicals is very important.

What does this mean?

Coconut oil can be used as an effective agent for the prevention of Renal Damage due to high blood pressure.

7. It can protect the kidney from drug-induced toxicity

Administration of certain drugs causes toxicity in the kidney.

This causes malfunctioning of the kidneys and ultimately severe kidney damage. Some of these drugs like antibiotics are known to cause renal damage, acid-base imbalance, interstitial nephritis etc.

Such disorders lead to further complications like cardiac diseases, chronic kidney damage and sepsis. Hence, early detection and treatment of drug toxicity are essential.

A study conducted in 2014, tried to establish the ability of coconut oil to reduce the toxicity caused by a certain antibiotic.

Several tests were conducted to examine the ability of coconut oil in reducing the drug-induced toxicity.

It was observed that the toxicity induced by the antimicrobial drug was reduced with Virgin Coconut Oil treatment.

This activity of Coconut Oil has been attributed to its ability to restore the levels of several essential enzymes.

Virgin Coconut Oil is able to control the increase in blood urea and creatinine due to the administration of drugs. The antioxidant property of Coconut Oil has a major role in this function.

It increases the levels of the catalases present in the kidney, superoxide dismutase, which scavenge ROS and other essential enzymes, thus protecting the liver from drug-induced toxicity.

What does this mean?

Consumption of Coconut Oil by patients who are taking certain drugs can help reduce the toxicity of the drugs and the damage caused to the kidneys.

8. It can benefit in glomerulonephritis

Glomerulonephritis is an autoimmune disease which causes the formation of immune complexes.

These immune complexes attack the cells of the glomerulus in the kidney and cause death.

Patients with this disease tend to lose blood through urine and the disease must be treated immediately.

A certain study tried to examine the effects of a diet consisting of coconut oil in the reduction in the damage caused by glomerulonephritis.

In an experimental animal study, Coconut Oil was found to improve lifespan and also reduced the occurrence of Glomerulonephritis. Coconut oil is deficient in essential fatty acids.

This property of the oil plays a key role in the prevention of Glomerulonephritis.

What does this mean?

A diet rich in Coconut Oil reduces the chances of occurrence of Glomerulonephritis.

Dosage of Coconut Oil

On an average, an adult is recommended to take around 1-2 tablespoons of the oil. This dosage is recommended to avail maximum of its nutritional benefits. The oil can be used in daily cooking or incorporated as a condiment.

Side effects of Coconut oil

Coconut oil has a high-fat content; hence the consumption must be carefully monitored.

High dose coconut oil consumption may cause gastric side effects. Use food grade virgin coconut oil.

Conclusion

Consumption of Coconut Oil can be beneficial in avoiding kidney damage. It can also aid in the treatment of patients suffering from kidney stones.

Nutritionally, coconut oil has many benefits. Since it is easily available, it can be easily incorporated into daily diet.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.