Friday, January 25, 2008

I've Discovered a Natural Treatment for Nephrotic Syndrome that REALLY Works!

*Make sure to read the comments section. There's been lots of conversation about the specific way I use garlic, rather than the general way I posted originally.*

**Please do NOT DISCONTINUE PREDNISONE once started. Doing so can cause great damage to your child!  Garlic is to be used as an alternative to prednisone at the beginning of a relapse to prevent the need for prednisone, not a replacement when prednisone is actually REALLY needed.** 

My six year old son, Jack, has kidney disease. It's called Nephrotic Syndrome. A simple explanation: when his immune system is challenged by a bug, his kidneys begin to allow protein to exit the body through the urine. This damages the kidney and can lead to renal failure. When he begins to have sustained elevated protein counts, he needs a two and a half month course of prednisone.

We found out about his NS one month after his second birthday. I had noticed that his eyelids swelled slightly when he had a cold, but the doctors that he saw said it was nothing to worry about. One morning, after he'd had a little cough for about three days (no fever, no nothing else), I went to his room to wake him and found him swollen, terribly, from eyelids to toes. It was shocking! He was in no distress, so I arranged for a friend to come to watch the children and took him to the clinic.

Since he wasn't yet adopted, we had to go to the state Medi-cal-accepting clinic instead of Kaiser. The doctor who saw him did a fine job of examining him, consulting with other doctors and diagnosing his condition. Several hours after entering the clinic, he was admitted into the local hospital with consult with the big Childrens Hospital in the closest big city. Three days later, his condition was under control and he was able to go home. I had learned a lot in those three days!

For the next year, he relapsed and required Prednisone three to four times a year. Poor baby. That strong drug has so many terrible side effects! Blessedly, he is Prednisone respondant, so it worked and further kidney damage is avoided. I hated for him to be on it though.

I found little on the Internet as far as natural treatments. I did find that raw milk helps boost the immune system, so I searched out a local source and added it to his diet. We also had a year old son who was lactose intolerant. As an aside, he can drink the raw milk with absolutly NO trouble. I initially began the research on raw milk due to him. It just happened to benefit Jack as well.

I also read that sugar depresses the immume system, making it much easier to catch any viruses that are floating around. We cut back on sugar. Around the same time, I began making our bread from freshly ground grain, and cooking much more food from scratch. Jack would still get ill occasionally though, end up on Prednisone.

Here's the natural treatment that works, though, even with elevated protein counts: A small clove of garlic, eaten with honey or applesauce, chased with a saltine if he has trouble swallowing the last bits of garlic, brings the protein count down in just a few hours. Seriously. Even at a 3+, it works.

He may smell like garlic bread, but he has not needed medicine but one time in almost three years!! I begin "garlikin' him up" as soon as I notice an elevated count and usually give it every day for a week, or until his count stays down without the garlic. We do daily urine tests during this time. (Click this for a link to the testing strips we use.After a week, I stop the garlic and keep testing daily. If the numbers go above 1+, he takes a clove, under 1+ and he doesn't. If his count stays good for several days without garlic, I begin testing every other day. When it still remains low, I test him every three or four days.

I'm so thankful that the Lord created this wonderful bulb. It's so very useful, even to the point of 'curing' us of our ails!

ETA: I originally wrote this post 1-25-2008. Jack has remained well, despite ups and downs in his counts. We still use garlic. He takes it himself and takes it with a saltine cracker, yogurt or applesauce.

ETA: It's now March 2012.  This post still gets lots of hits, so I thought that I would update.  Jack still is variable in his protein counts, so he has not "outgrown" nephrotic syndrome as his doctors thought he might.  We still successfully use garlic when his counts rise and he has not needed Prednisone.  He is now 10 years old and growing well!  We have removed wheat from our diet, 100% for many of us, including Jack, and mostly for everyone else.  Jack's eczema, which he had as a baby, but recently returned, has responded well to the removal.  I have been moving toward Mark's Daily Apple's way of eating for six months or more. We all feel a lot better without wheat!

ETA: It's now December 31, 2012.  We've had the worst cough and headcold going through!  Jack's counts increased to 2+ one day, and he had a little swelling of an eyelid, but garlic came through again.  His counts are down, his cold is gone and he is healthy with no prednisone. Jack eats a little wheat now and then, but it does affect his eczema, so it's kept to special occasions.  Someone else questioned milk in his diet, and I do have to say, that also, is consumed much less frequently than it used to be.  Most of us don't drink milk.  I cook with it now and then and we use whole cream or half and half in some smoothies. Jack and Troubles have almond milk smoothies.  We do use a ton of butter and no one seems to have issue with it at this time.  I don't bother getting raw milk anymore. My son who is lactose intolerant began to react to even raw milk, so he drinks almond milk.  Jack doesn't care to drink anything but water, but will have almond milk if we have some homemade granola.  

ETA: It's June 2014 now.  Jack had a bad relapse with some swelling of his face, arms and legs, and counts at 4+.  We had a change to our insurance, and were having a very hard time finding a pediatric nephrologist. Blessedly, I was able to find a nephrologist who only sees adults who was willing to see him.  Since he was in the middle of a relapse, and garlic wasn't seeming to be able to get it under control this time, I was getting nervous!  The doctor ordered bloodwork....more detailed bloodwork than any other doctor has ever ordered.  It came back as expected, showing a severe relapse, but no other issues.  Our new doctor (for he was willing to keep Jack on as a patient, after meeting him and seeing how mature he was) wanted to be patient with his system and see if he could beat this relapse on his own, without medication, and with the Lord's help and the garlic's, too.  With close monitoring, we were both delighted that after several weeks with elevated counts, sometimes quite high as I said, he finally came down to negative and stayed there!  His bloodwork after the relapse came back perfect. Praise the Lord with me!!

ETA: It's August 2015 now. Jack continues to have minor relapses, all controlled and eliminated with garlic. I now include GSE (grapefruit seed extract) when he (or anyone else in the family) is ill. These are drops that are stirred into water or orange juice.  GSE also comes in pill form.  This extract works like a natural antibiotic. Research it to see if it might be helpful for your family!