Q & A Library

Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Preventing Kidney Disease?
I have been told I have a high reading of protein in my urine. My doctor prescribed lisinopril. I don't like the side effects. Is there anything natural I can take to decrease the protein level?
Answer (Published 1/28/2005)

Proteinuria - protein in the urine (determined by urinalysis) - often indicates some type of kidney disease. The first thing you have to determine is what is causing the problem. Normally, the kidneys filter waste products out of the blood so they can be eliminated from the body. Most proteins are too big to pass through the kidneys' filtering system unless the filters have been damaged in some way.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging - Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet! - Everything you need to get started eating a healthful, satisfying diet is here - including eating and shopping guides, over 300 recipes, and an exclusive version of Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid! Start your 14-day free trial now - and start eating anti-inflammatory today!

Among the possibilities: some variety of nephritis, a group of diseases, usually autoimmune, that cause inflammatory damage to the kidneys. Diabetes can also result in kidney damage, as can high blood pressure. In fact, elevated blood pressure often accompanies kidney disease and accelerates it.

If you have proteinuria and high blood pressure, you do need drug treatment to bring it down. The drug you were prescribed, lisinopril, is an ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitor, a type of blood pressure medication that works better than other drugs to reduce the pressure in blood vessels in the kidneys and increase the flow of urine, which helps lower blood pressure. I know of no natural alternative to drug treatment for this problem. Jonathan Dranov, M.D., a nephrologist in State College, PA, tells me that 15 to 20 percent of patients taking ACE inhibitors develop a cough as a side effect. Unfortunately, if this happens to you as a result of taking this medication, you'll likely have the same cough with other ACE inhibitors. In that case, an option would be to try angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB), another type of medication. These two types of drugs appear to work to protect kidney function better than other medications used to treat high blood pressure.

It is very important to work with your doctor to find a treatment that you can tolerate that is effective for the kidney problem causing proteinuria. Otherwise, it is likely that your kidney function will deteriorate, and you'll be in very big trouble, eventually requiring dialysis.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being in just eight weeks! Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe Wellness Guide
Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Food Pyramid

Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you and their corresponding answers from Dr. Weil.

Copyright © 2015 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here