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Could Cold Showers Treat Chronic Kidney Disease?

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a condition in which kidney function gradually decreases over time. This disease affects all people worldwide and approximately 37 million American adults, nearly 20% of the American adult population. Kidneys filter the blood by removing wastes and extra fluids from the body. When the kidneys do not function properly, over time, the affected individual may become sick, develop high blood pressure, and heart disease. Even if the root cause of CKD is treated, the disease may still progress to complete kidney failure. Given the severity of this disease, all possible treatment options should be explored.

Chronic inflammation is believed to be a significant contributor to CKD progression. Although it is not clear if inflammation initiates CKD or if it is a consequence of the disease, inflammation is likely to contribute to the progression of the disease.

One low-cost method to treat inflammation is cold exposure. Studies have shown that cold exposure can increase anti-inflammatory molecules in the body. It remains to be seen if cold exposure can reduce inflammation in CKD patients, consequently improving kidney function and slowing the progression of the disease. It is feasible that prolonged recurrent cold exposure may slow CKD progression by reducing inflammation.

How to Study This

Identify an effective cold exposure regimen. What type of cold exposure works best? Ex. Cold shower, ice bath, etc.

How often should one induce cold exposure and for how long? 5 minutes every day, 10 minutes 3 times a week…

Measure how cold exposure affects levels of inflammatory substances in the blood of CKD patients compared to CKD patients not undergoing cold exposure therapy.

Measure how cold exposure therapy affects changes in measures of kidney function such as glomerular filtration rate (GFR), proteinuria, creatinine and bun levels, etc., over time.

Observing how frequent cold exposure in CKD patients affects markers of disease progression may lead to an easily accessible supplemental treatment option.

Disclaimer: The information on this site is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified medical provider before trying any treatment.

References and Additional Reading

National Kidney Foundation: Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Symptoms and causes


Mayo Clinic: Chronic kidney disease


United States Demographic Statistics


Inflammation-Related Mechanisms in Chronic Kidney Disease Prediction, Progression, and Outcome


Scientific Evidence-Based Effects of Hydrotherapy on Various Systems of the Body


Voluntary activation of the sympathetic nervous system and attenuation of the innate immune response in humans


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