Beauty Fads That Harm Your Kidneys

Beauty Fads That Harm Your Kidneys

‘One can never be too thin or too rich or too beautiful” – Most human beings strive to achieve the three goals summed up in this old adage and in the process of attaining these, they are tempted to overdo things which leads to bodily harm. And the most common factors to be abused in a man or woman’s eternal quest for beauty are food supplements, chemical supplements, cosmetics and diet fads.

Food Supplements

Almost, every gym-junkie is aware of protein supplements that are often recommended by gym trainers, fellow gym-junkies or internet gym ‘gurus.’ Unfortunately, no one highlights the toxicity of these supplements while propagating their effectiveness. People who are pro-protein supplements, quote a whole lot of articles which endorse the safety of these products and claim to debunk the ‘myths’ associated with them.

Nevertheless, these protein supplements should be used judiciously and under medical supervision because, It contains creatine, a precursor of creatinine, the most important waste product eliminated by the kidneys. Loading the kidneys with crealine in the form of protein supplements is going to worsen kidney function.

Sadly. early stages of kidney disease are symptom-free and diagnosed only after checking the blood levels of creatinine. Creatine is known to increase muscle mass by drawing out water from the rest of the body and putting it into the muscles.

Though this increases muscle size, it pushes the body to the brink of dehydration making it vulnerable to full blown dehydration. especially in a setting of excessive sweating or poor water intake. And dehydration is one of the commonest causes of acute kidney failure.

Chemical Supplements

Human nature is to take the easy way out and we all seek shortcuts to any destination. The goal of being thin is no exception and instead of achieving it by diet, exercise and lifestyle changes, people often opt for slimming pills. Slimming pills are loosely divided into three categories. Licensed medications prescribed by doctors (only in extreme obesity cases), unlicensed drugs available at private slimming clinics and natural slimming products sold over-the counter or via the internet.

At present, licensed drugs include orlistat, celevac and sibutramine and these basically act by inducing a feeling of fullness in the stomach. Banned drugs include amphetamines (suppress appetite). phentermine, diuretics (which increase urine output) and laxatives (which cause diarrhoea). These drugs are banned because they can cause kidney failure, heart problems, addiction issues and sometimes even sudden death.

Kidney diet and foods for chronic kidney disease (CKD)

Natural (or herbal) slimming products are marketed as non-toxic, sale and effective as they are natural.’ But nothing can be further than the truth. In the early nineties, when many European women were taking Chinese herbal slimming pills, it was found that there were a disproportionate number of them getting kidney failure and bladder cancers.

Researchers in Belgium identified the presence of a chemical called aristolochic acid which was an essential ingredient of these slimming pills, responsible for the toxic effects. Most scientists affirm that many of these slimming pills are just a gimmick and there is no scientific evidence to prove that they work.


Indians have always had a weakness for light-coloured skin and many cosmetic companies take undue advantage of this. Unfortunately, most skin-lightening creams and soaps contain mercury, which can cause a variety of kidney ailments in addition to skin and brain disorders. To make matters worse, this mercury is non-biodegradable and enters waste water and then the food chain via fish. People who eat mercury-contaminated fish become vulnerable to mercury poisoning. Also, pregnant women who consume contaminated fish, transfer the mercury to their foetus causing disease.

Other than mercury, many other heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium, nickel, lead, beryllium and thallium form an integral part of cosmetics. These metals can enter the body through the skin, eyes and mouth and cause a host of medical problems like kidney disease, liver disease, brain disease, anaemia and stomach problems.

Unfortunately, these toxic heavy metals are present in most cosmetics in varying quantities. They are found in foundation, concealer, blush, bronzer, mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow, lip gloss and lipsticks.

Diet Fads

With a burning desire to attain ones ‘ideal body weight,’ people turn to various diet fads which are potentially dangerous. Some of the diet fads that cause kidney damage are high protein and fat intake (the Atkins diet), excessive water intake which overloads the kidneys, liquid diets which cause malnutrition, etc.

Remember, to reach your goals in life there is no shortcut or easy way. When you cut a corner, you literally create two new corners in its place. So, don’t corner your kidneys!

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