Nephrotic syndrome therapy, alternative
Feb 14 2016 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Nephrotic syndrome is a condition that is often caused by any of a group of diseases that damage the kidneys’ filtering system, the glomeruli. The structure of the glomeruli prevents most protein from getting filtered through into the urine. Normally, a person loses less than 150 mg of protein in the urine in a 24-hour period. The loss of more than 3 grams of protein during a 24-hour period leads to the diagnosis of nephrotic syndrome. The nephrotic syndrome is not itself a disease. But it can be the first sign of a disease that damages the kidney's tiny blood-filtering units, called glomeruli, where urine is made.

Natural Treatment for Nephrotic Syndrome
At this time I am not aware of any specific natural treatment for nephrotic syndrome except for the herbs listed below:

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013. Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F (a traditional Chinese medicine) for primary nephrotic syndrome.

Antifibrotic effect of the Chinese herbs, Astragalus mongholicus and Angelica sinensis ( Dong Quai ), in a rat model of chronic puromycin aminonucleoside nephrosis.
Life Sci. 2004.
Nephrotic syndrome has long been treated in China with two herbs, Astragalus mongholicus and Angelica sinensis, which may have antifibrotic effects. Rats with chronic puromycin-induced nephrosis were treated with Astragalus and Angelica or enalapril. Normal control rats (n = 7) received saline rather than puromycin, and an untreated control group (n = 7) received puromycin but no treatment. After 12 weeks, stained sections of the glomerulus and tubulointerstitium were evaluated for injury. Immunohistochemistry staining measured extracellular matrix components, transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGFbeta1), osteopontin, ED-1-positive cells, and alpha-actin. TGFbeta1 mRNA was assessed by in situ hybridization. Renin, ACE activity, angiotensin, and aldosterone were measured by radioimmunoassay or colorimetry. In the untreated rats, chronic renal injury progressed to marked fibrosis at 12 weeks. Astragalus and Angelica significantly reduced deterioration of renal function and histologic damage. Expressions of type III and IV collagen, fibronectin, and laminin also decreased significantly. This anti-fibrotic effect was similar to that of enalapril. The herbs had no effect on the renin-angiotensin system but did reduce the number of ED-1-positive, and alpha-actin positive cells and expression of osteopontin compared to untreated controls. The combination of Astragalus and Angelica retarded the progression of renal fibrosis and deterioration of renal function with comparable effects of enalapril. These effects were not caused by blocking the intrarenal renin-angiotensin system, but associated with suppression of the overexpression of TGFbeta1 and osteopontin, reduction of infiltrating macrophages, and less activation of renal intrinsic cells [corrected].

Nephrotic Syndrome in Child and children
Nephrotic syndrome in a child can occur at any age but is more common between the ages of 1 and 6 years. There are high levels of protein in the urine, swelling resulting from buildup of salt and water, and low levels of protein in the blood.

Nephrotic Syndrome Treatment
This can now be treated with a low-salt diet, diuretics to reduce edema, and statins to normalize serum lipid concentrations. Natural supplements are an interesting, but untested approach to reduce cholesterol and lipid problems in patients with nephrotic syndrome. Patients with nephrotic syndrome are prone to deep vein thrombophlebitis, renal vein thrombosis, and pulmonary emboli. Depending on the condition, additional treatment may include corticosteroids, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), cyclosporine, cytotoxic agents, or mycophenolate.

Minerva Med. 2013. Recent insights into the pathogenesis of nephrotic syndrome. Nephrotic syndrome is characterized by heavy proteinuria followed by hypoproteinemia, hypercholestrolemia, lipiduria, and edema. The glomerular filtration barrier (GFB) consists of glomerular endothelial cells covered with glycocalyx, the basement membrane, subpodocyte space and podocytes with foot processes and slit membranes between them. The coordinated function of GFB has been considered to be the major barrier against filtration of plasma proteins to urine. However, new hypothesis suggesting more permeable GFB has emerged. According to this, proteinuria might be prevented by tubular protein reabsorbtion. Experiments and human studies have revealed numerous putative permeability factors in idiopathic nephrotic syndrome (minimal change disease/focal segmental glomerulosclerosis). New antigens and antibodies have been suggested in "idiopathic" membranous nephropathy as well. Formation of nephrotic edema, the role of oncotic pressure and of different sodium and water retaining hormones have been subject of intensive study. These findings should pave the way to new therapeutic modalities targeted more precisely to the pathogenic mechanisms.

Symptom of nephrotic syndrome
In addition to proteinuria, there are three main symptoms of nephrotic syndrome associated with protein leaking into the urine: Hypoalbuminemia (low level of albumin in the blood); Edema (swelling); and Hypercholesterolemia (high level of cholesterol in the blood).

Normal HDL activity confers cardiovascular and overall protection by mediating reverse cholesterol transport and through its potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antithrombotic functions. Serum lipid profile, as well as various aspects of HDL metabolism, structure, and function can be profoundly altered in patients with nephrotic range proteinuria or chronic kidney disease.

Do you think lipoic acid is helpful for nephrotic syndrome?
   I have not seen such research.