I have long-time friend who has experienced failing kidney function over the years. Recently he reported he was on a transplant list and his GFR had fallen to 6%. I had been researching Klotho, the natural protein expressed primarily in the kidneys, and has strong evidence as functioning to extend health-span and life-span. Several studies showed its production is critical to kidney function, spurring me to investigate ways to increase Klotho levels. I found one supplement was on the market that looked to have nutrients that should raise Klotho production, according to a few hundred studies from around the world. I suggested he try it for a month before his next test series. He said he never had GFR get better from test to test, only worse.
He took my suggestion and ordered NutraKlotho from Amazon and took it for the month before his following test. He saw an increase in GFR of 4% to a new level of 10%. When he approached me with the news, I could see right away that his eyes had gone from dark, grey whites with lots of red veins to much clearer whites. Other friends commented to me that they could see this difference as well.
Meanwhile, I had done a review of the ingredients from what I could find on Google Scholar that i wrote up for him as follows:
I’m doing a run-through of the ingredients of the NutraKlotho to see if more of anything would be better.
I was surprised to see GABA, so I looked at studies related to the mechanism in kidneys; primarily it inhibits macrophage infiltration (they are immune cells the immune system uses to kill and eat invaders like bacteria) so that would lower inflammation and quiet an auto-immune element of kidney disease (your immune system confusing some parts of your kidney structure and an enemy invader). I take a lot of GABA – it is a neurotransmitter neurons make, which in the brain works to put the brakes on anxiety (calming, relaxing – very good for better sleep) I take 1500 mg every night. People who don’t make enough naturally are often high strung, worry a lot and don’t sleep well. I also found some studies show increased production of Klotho: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006291X17319915, That’s why its in the product, My guess is more is better at these levels. It also is therapeutic for Type 2 diabetes: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8106282/
Astragalus – one of the top 5 herbs prescribed in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for CKD. My prior familiarity with Astragalus is an extract from it that increases Telomere length, thought to slow aging by allowing cells to multiply many more times before falling into senescence or dying: https://www.revgenetics.com/ta-65-faq/. TCM typically uses whole herbs in combos that have shown over time to have specific benefits to things we westerners don’t count as measurable. But several studies on mice and humans show that Astragalus extracts improve kidney function by increasing klotho production.
Vitamin D – Many systems are regulated by vitamin D in nearly all life. I have taken 5,000 IU (summer) to 20,000 IU (winter) for about 20 years. The amount in this supplement are near zero. Vitamin D is part of the Klotho signaling pathway and a deficiency lowers Klotho production. Don’t count on this supplement to provide it with less than 1 mcg (40 IU)
Resveratrol – 1 gm is a big dose; earlier studies indicated that high intake of resveratrol boosted Klotho production, later studies moderated the enthusiasm, but it still works. I use 250 mg/day.
Rhubarb Extract – A compound in rhubarb called Rhein is good at preserving Klotho production; lots of studies, experience from TCM imply more than one mechanism at work. Seems to repair fibrosis, and prevent Klotho repression. Not much in the way of dosing in the discussions.
Here is a comprehensive article on Aging, Klotho and the Failing Kidney you should probably wade through: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7481361/
Next, I was looking for other items in Traditional Chinese Medicine that were typically used in treating kidney disease, and found that Icariin, a compound in Horney Goat Weed (Epimedium) is in virtually all the formulations.
Most Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) treatments for CKD include Epimedium, the primary healing factor in which is Icariin. Western researchers are mostly interested in how it works, not creating treatment protocols, but designing drugs. I find only a few studies directly discussing the use of Icariin to treat CKD, but they all show significant positive results. As matter of fact, it shows up in nearly every study of most diseases of aging as lowering inflammation, fibrosis, senescence and doing all things well.
I have been taking it orally and using a home-made DMSO extract topically on my knees and shoulder with considerable recovery in knee pain and function, not so much in the shoulder, but I have been able to load up my leg presses to over 500 lb the last few workouts, and not suffer for it. I think it is pretty amazing stull.
The product I’m using is from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/S5-Horny-Goat-Weed-Icariins/dp/B012IVITK6 It takes weeks for delivery, but I’ll be using it from now on, unless something better comes out.
Likewise, I found a few studies on Baicalin promoting its ability to boost Klotho production: This study on Baicalin as supplement that enables expression of the Klotho gene by removing methylation due to aging (aging shuts down some genes and promotes others, seemingly to accelerate our demise). Here is another link: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15384101.2020.1843815. I think it would pay to add this to your strategy. Amazon sells several: Baicalin Products
Finally, I found studies connecting Klotho to the proinflammatory enzyme CD38: when CD38 goes up, Klotho production declines and CD38 rises with age. We can knock down CD38 by raising NAD+:
Here is a study that ties CKD to elevated gene expression of CD38, an inflammatory enzyme that reduces NAD+. They show that reducing CD38 ameliorates (makes better – not quite the same as reverses) CKD. https://www.aging-us.com/article/103410/text
I take a product to boost NAD+ for the last three years: NMN a precursor to NAD+ – its a sublingual gel that is absorbed rapidly via the capillaries under the tongue and directly increases NAD+ in cells throughout the body, in many tissues reversing damages from aging. This is from Alivebyscience.com: by far the best NMN supplement available. Here is an article by them on boosting NAD+ production counters the rise in CD38 to improve vascular health, which should also improve kidney function: Study Shows NMN Supplementation or CD38 Inhibition Restores Cardiovascular Function in Mice – ALIVE BY SCIENCE – Bioavailable NAD+ Boosters
This approach to raising NAD+ is already proven to improve CKD, at least in mice, and I would put it to work ASAP if it were me. Use discount code FRANK10 for 10% if you buy from them: https://alivebyscience.com/product/nmn-lipo-gel-sublingual/
It is currently out of stock; next best is their new capsule product: LIPO NAD+ Complete – Powdered Liposomal NAD+, NMN, & NR – ALIVE BY SCIENCE – Bioavailable NAD+ Boosters
The above is a summary of my investigation into ways to improve CKD with available supplements. I would very much like feedback on how any of this works from my self-experimenter readers – use our Contact Us form which goes to my gmail account.
To Your Greater Health and Fitness –
Frank Wilhelmi – Retired/consultant electronic engineer researches and reports practical strategies for optimizing health and fitness into advanced age. “I have a passion for living life to the fullest, and helping others to do the same.” A rapidly growing body of knowledge now enables us to extend our health and fitness decades beyond popular expectations.