Natural Prevention and Treatment for Chronic Kidney Disease

Turmeric compounds may help prevent or treat kidney disease, and reduce risk of kidney transplant rejection.

Better with Boswellia serrata? Maybe Not

Results of a clinical study in patients with chronic kidney disease suggest that taking turmeric's curcumin compounds with frankincense may not have any benefit in lowering inflammation. (vii.264)

Chronic kidney disease is a growing concern worldwide. A number of conditions can contribute to chronic kidney disease. These include acute kidney injury from toxins and certain drugs as well as chronic inflammatory conditions such as diabetes. Progression can lead to end-stage renal disease and cause kidneys to fail. (vii.263)

How Can Turmeric Help?

Research suggests that turmeric's curcumin compounds may help prevent the development or progression of chronic kidney disease. In addition, curcumin helps protect the heart from the negative effects of chronic kidney disease. (vii.197265)

How does the turmeric compound work to prevent or counteract chronic kidney disease? In animal models of the condition, studies show curcumin compounds have the following effects: (vii.197265)

Protective Benefits of Turmeric Compounds in Chronic Kidney Disease


  • Natural antioxidants by triggering Nrf2, a protective transcription factor protein.
  • Free radicals.
  • Inflammation.
  • Excess protein in the urine.
  • Hypertension in kidneys.
  • Fibrotic scar tissue in kidneys.
  • Urea nitrogen and creatinine levels in the blood (signs of kidney dysfunction).
  • Kidney damage and dysfunction.


  • Natural antioxidants.
  • Mitochondrial function in heart cells.
  • Enzyme activities that impair heart function.
  • Necrotic areas in heart.
  • Increased blood pressure (caused by kidney failure).
  • Increased risk of blockages in the heart (that could cause heart attacks).

In these studies, the animals were given daily oral curcumin doses of 60 mg/kg of body weight. Lower doses of 15-30 mg/kg of body weight have been shown to be ineffective in Wistar rat models of chronic kidney disease and failure. (vii.197)

Effects in Late-Stage Disease

In animal models of late-stage chronic kidney disease, curcumin significantly reduced dangerous inflammatory proteins and cytokines. 75 mg/kg of curcumin a day for 10 weeks showed comparable effects to the ACE inhibitor drug enalapril. (vii.266)

ACE inhibitors can help inhibit kidney failure. Turmeric has plenty of them, including:

Besides curcumin, many of turmeric's other compounds also inhibit COX-2 and TNF-α; (including some of those above). These are the same inflammatory proteins curcumin and enalapril blocked in this study. (vii.20-22294549)

Turmeric Compounds Reduce Risk of Organ Rejection

Kidney transplants are at risk for ischemia-reperfusion injury. What does that mean? In essence, it's a two-phase injury: (vii.7)

  • Ischemia is cell and tissue injury that happens when blood flow is restricted, causing a loss of oxygen and nutrients.
  • Reperfusion occurs when blood flow returns to the area of the body where it was restricted. Although necessary, initially it can actually cause more damage. This is because the sudden influx of oxygen molecules in the blood initiates inflammatory responses and stimulates free radical formation.

In the case of a kidney transplant, this can also increase the risk of organ rejection. In animal and clinical studies, treatment with turmeric's curcumin compounds show benefits that could decrease cell death and injury after kidney transplant: (vii.267)

Clinical Trial
Preventing Organ Rejection in End-Stage Kidney Disease

Randomized Clinical Trial

43 patients with kidney transplants dependent on dialysis were randomly assigned to take a placebo, a low dose of curcumin and quercetin, or a high dose of the 2 compounds. (vii.268)

480-960 mg/day of Curcumin

20-40 mg/day of Quercetin

(for one month following- kidney transplant surgery)

  • Organ rejection - 0% in the high-dose supplement group; no difference between placebo and group given low doses of the supplements (14.3% rejection). (vii.268)
  • Tremor - 13% in the high-dose supplement group; no difference between placebo and low-dose group (46%). (vii.268)
  • Graft kidney function faster at both dosage levels (better at higher doses). (vii.268)

Turmeric's curcumin and quercetin compounds can help improve outcomes following kidney transplants.

Animal Study

Measured effectiveness against negative side effects from immunosuppressant drug cyclosporin A. (vii.263)

Cyclosporin A is used to help prevent organ rejection after transplant surgery, but it causes kidney damage and dysfunction. Treatment with curcumin reduced these side effects by: (vii.263)

Animal Study

Measured effectiveness of liposomal curcumin in an animal model of renal ischemia-reperfusion. (vii.267)

Primarily due to activation of the transcription factor protein NF-κB. (vii.7)

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