( Originally Published 1930's )
Bright's disease is the term used to describe various diseases which attack a system through the kidneys. Science says that nephritis, nephroses, and practically all kidney infections are caused by some previous respiratory or venereal disease, except those caused by trademan's poisoning; mercury, lead, etc.
However, it is a well known fact that most physicians withdraw all heavy protein foods from their kidney cases. In view of this fact, it would appear that protein food acts as an irritant to the lesions of kidney tissue which occur in either nephritis or nephroses. It would be a logical conclusion to say that anything which will cause a chronic irritation in any part of the human body could finally develop into an actual disease.
It is not a matter of record that all people who have had scarlet fever, or other serious fever infections, develop any serious kidney disease. Therfore, it cannot be stated with absolute assurance that a previous infection is the reason for serious kidney trouble. Nor is it possible that painters and metal trade technicians have all of the rest of the kidney troubles not ascribed to fever infections.
There must be another source of cause for these various kidney diseases because there are too many people who suffer their ravages, yet who are not in the category of those who have had previous fever illness, or who are in the metal trades. Could that cause be what we do, or do not eat?
Let us see how food could cause sufficient chronic irritation to become a serious kidney disease, especially nephritis which is classed as a lesion of the kidney tissue lining. The human system must have alkali in order to function properly. When you do not eat a sufficient amount of tart and other alkalizing food, nature has provided a method of converting some protein food into an alkaline product.
Nitrogen is the one factor which makes a protein food different from carbohydrates and fats. Nitrogen is also the main factor in ammonia. It is this same nitrogen being transformed into ammonia when the human urine begins to smell like a livery stable. Ever have it occur to you?
Irritations to the tissue lining of the kidney caused by more or less continuous production of alkali by this forced protein route not only could, but, no doubt, do produce some kidney disease. Any continued irritation is an it is of some kind. Nephritis is kidney irritation it is.
Since it seems possible for protein foods, through alkaline transfer, to produce a more or less chronic kidney irritation, we refer again to an old quandary. Which is first, the chicken or the egg? Is it because a person eats enormous quantities of meat, eggs, or other protein foods, or is it because this same eater cares nothing for tart or alkalizing foods, that a kidney breakdown occurs? It is a certainty that if sufficient alkalizing tart foods were eaten your body would not have to make it unnaturally from excess protein.
Perhaps a case history would aid you readers in determining for yourself the possibility of kidney disease being caused by wrong eating. Let us introduce Junior to you. He is still Junior because he is yet in the early thirties. He is the Chap who is not satisfied with a daily steak, he usually has two steaks at one meal, and with plenty of French fries. Then if he happens down town after dinner he will consume not less than three hamburgers and a glass of milk before going home. Once in a while, he will vary his regular heavy protein meal with a half dozen eggs, some cold cut meat, and a pot of beans. "Tomatoes ! Baah ! Rank poison." That is how Junior likes alkalizing food. "Give me meat, and plenty of it; something to stick to my ribs." That is another Juniorism.
Junior has had two very serious attacks of kidney trouble. Pus and blood in the urine. Swelling limbs, and puffy eye sacs. Each of these attacks required about two weeks in bed and a rigid diet over a greater period before he could get around. However, such happenings do not stop him. He is right back eating big steaks, lots of eggs, and plenty of French fried potatoes. How many more attacks can he stand? Who knows? The Shadow knows.
Do you think it is a coincidence that a young man, who eats enormously of protein foods and hates tarts, should have a serious kidney condition? Or, do you still believe that all kidney disease is caused by some fever infection or painters colic? Yes, that is what we think too. It would seem that a gourmandizer of protein foods without benefit of fruits and vegetables can cause a type of kidney disease. However, junior has never been told by competent authority that he must change his manner of eating for the rest of his life; but just while he is being CURED, again.