( By Dr. H.K.Bakhru )

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Nepthritis refers to an inflammation of the kidneys. It is a serious condition and may be either acute or chronic. A synonym for nepthritis is Bright’s disease, for Bright (1789 -1858) described examples of many different disease which can be included under the term.

This disease most often strikes in childhood or adolescence. It can become progressively worse and result in death, if not treated properly in the initial stages. In the alternative, it may subside into a chronic stage where the patient gets better but not well.


The main symptoms of acute nepthritis are a pain in the kidneys, extending down to the ureters, fever, dull pain in the back and scanty and highly coloured urine. Often the urine, may contain blood, albumin and casts consisting of clumps of red and white cells which come from the damaged kidneys. The patient suffers from puf- finess in the face and swelling of the feet and ankles.

In the chronic stage of nepthritis, which may drag on for many years, the patient passes large amounts of albumin in the urine. Later, there may be a rise in the blood pressure and the patient may develop uraemia. There may be frequent urination, especially during night.


Nepthritis usually follows some streptococcus infection of the throat or an attack of scarlet fever or rheumatic fever. The underlying causes of nepthritis are the same for diseases of the kidneys in general, namely wrong food habits, excessive drinking, suppressive medical treatment of some former diseases, the habitual use of chemical agents of all kinds for the treatment of indigestion and other stomach disorders and frequent use of aspirin and other painkillers.

Nutritional deficiencies can also lead to nepthritis. The disease has been produced in many species of animals by diets deficient in the B vitamin choline. Animals lacking in essential fatty acids and magnesium also develop nepthritis. When vitaminB6 and magnesium are under supplied, the kidneys are further damaged by sharp crystals of oxalic acid combined with calcium. Nepthritis also occurs if vitamin E is deficient.

Dietary Treatment

The safest treatment for acute nepthritis is fasting. By means of the fast, the toxins and systemic impurities responsible for setting up of the inflammatory kidney conditions are removed rapidly. The patient should resort to juice fasting for seven to ten days till the acute symptoms subside. Mostly, vegetable juices such as carrot, celery and cucumber should be used during this period. A warm water enema should be taken each day while fasting to cleanse the bowels of the toxic matter being thrown off by the self-cleansing process resulting from the fast.

After the juice fast, the patient may adopt an all-fruit diet for four or five days. Juicy fruits such as apples, grapes, oranges, pears, peaches and pineapples should be taken during this period at five-hourly intervals.

After the all-fruit diet, the patient may adopt a fruit and milk diet. IN this regimen, milk, preferably raw goat’s milk, may be added to the fruit diet mentioned above for further seven days. The patient may, thereafter, gradually embark upon a well-balanced low-protein vegetarian diet, with emphasis on fresh fruits and raw and cooked vegetables.

In case of chronic nepthritis a short juice fast for three days may be undertaken. Thereafter, a week or ten days may be spent on a restricted diet. In this regimen, oranges or orange juice may be taken for breakfast. Lunch may consist of a salad of raw vegetables in season, with olive oil and lemon juice dressing and dinner may consist of one or two vegetables steamed in their own juices and a few nuts. Thereafter, the patient may gradually adopt a well- balanced low-protein vegetarian diet.

Further short juice fast followed by a week on the restricted diet should be undertaken at intervals of two or three months until the kidney condition has shown signs of normalisation.

The patient should avoid vegetables containing large quantities of oxalic acid such as spinach and rhubarb. Chocolate and cocoa also contain oxalic acid and must not be taken. Garlic, asparagus, parsley, watercress, cucumber and celery are excellent vegetables. Best fruits are papaya and bananas. Both have a healing effect on the kidneys. A small amount of soured milk and home-made cottage cheese can be included in the diet. All salt should be eliminated from the diet. Five or six small meals should be taken in preference to a few large ones.

The diet should be adequate in all essential nurtrients. Supplements should be given to furnish the nutrients not obtained from food. The supplements may include one tablespoon of lecithin, 30 mg. of vitamin B6, 25,000 Ius of vitamin A , and 300 to 600 Ius of vitamin E.

Smoking and drinking where habitual must be completely given up. Studies have shown that smoking impairs kidney function. The patient should avoid white bread, sugar, cakes, pastries, puddings, refined cereals, greasy, and fried foods. He should also avoid tea, coffee, all flesh foods, condiments, pickles and sauces.

All measures should be adopted to relieve the kidneys of work by increasing elimination through other channels. A hot Epsom salt bath should be taken every alternate day to induce elimination through the skin as much as possible.

Fresh air and outdoor exercises will be of great benefit in all cases of nepthritis and where possible, the patient should walk for at least three kilometers once or twice daily. The sufferer from chronic nepthritis should never exert himself when doing anything. He should avoid all hurry and excitement. He should also avoid late hours.

If the above treatment is faithfully carried out, the patient of acute nepthritis will soon be on the way to recovery. Even in advanced cases of chronic nepthritis a great deal can be done to improve the sufferer’s condition by perseverance, with the treatment outlined above.