If you do happen to over-indulge in something, a natural neutralizer is the juice from freshly squeezed lemons. I cannot say how to break a habit. I can only list a few habits that compete with health. I suspect that for a habit to disappear completely the pleasure derived from a habit is replaced by an even greater pleasure.


Tobacco in all its forms is especially harmful to individuals with Polycystic Kidney Disease. Tobacco diminishes the blood supply to the kidney. Nicotine (a component of tobacco) causes constriction of individual minute vessels. This in turn, causes a further tightening of the blood flow within the kidney. An abundant, rich, blood supply is needed constantly by the kidney to continuously bathe it with vital renewed nourishment. Anything which decreases renal blood flow, will rapidly accelerate the downward progression of kidney disease.
The release of renin (a hormone which raises blood pressure in Polycystic Kidney Disease) is triggered by constricted kidney blood flow. This outpouring of renin quickly raises blood pressure, sometimes causing spikes in blood pressure with wide variations. Uncontrollable high blood pressure accounts for many of the numerous kidney transplants performed.
The incidence of aneurysms is increased in Polycystic Kidney Disease. There exists a unfavorable relationship between smokers and those individuals with aneurysms. Tobacco diminishes renal blood flow, raises blood pressure; lowers calcium absorption; promotes illness, depletes the body of anti-oxidants, ages one rapidly,leads to emphysema, stains teeth and fingers; skin to become unusually dry and cracked, causes cancer and as a member of the nightshade family is high in solanine (which interferes with calcium absorption and increases oxalic acid production). The picture of a tobacco leaf shows the underside infected with blue mold which is thought to be highly carcinogenic. Sugar-curing tobacco enhances the growth of molds.


Caffeine is harmful to Polycystic Kidney Disease; caffeine increases cyclic AMP which stimulates polycystic kidney cyst growth; caffeine raises blood pressure, and causes an early death. Individuals have reported kidney pain from drinking caffeine. A recent article shows that caffeine consumption causes calcium to be excreted in the urine, contributing to kidney stone formation. PKD'rs have a 30% increased risk for developing kidney stones. It is counterproductive to drink caffeine which stimulates cyclic AMP and hold the hope that a drug will be released to suppress it. Coffee contains cafestol and kahweol. Most studies have indicated that individuals consuming roughly 60 milligrams of cafestol (equivalent to ten cups of unfiltered, French press coffee or two grams of coffee oil) may raise total cholesterol levels by an average of about 20 percent. This is largely due to an increase in low density lipoprotein (LDL) levels and triglyceride levels.


Cacao contains caffeine. Chocolate or cacao is an indulgence some cannot avoid. A visit to a Napa Valley wine maker turned his talents toward chocolate and treats each bean like a wine vintage. The result is sugarless chocolate which tastes sweet. All chocolate, even inhaling some of a chocolate dust or powder, can raise blood pressure for days. A rebound headache can occur three days later after an indulgence. One surprise finding is that many Pacific Islanders do not like the taste of chocolate.
Some with PKD have noticed the craving for chocolate is greatly diminished by drinking the juice of two freshly squeezed lemons. Others increase daily B vitamins. Some have tried fresh wheat grass juice with an orange slice. Like with coffee, cacao beans are roasted, almost to the point of being slightly burned. This may cause them to take on a bitter flavor.


Melanie has asked for a list of reasons to stop drinking cola. The best reasons are her very own—too many calories and it is detrimental to one with Polycystic Kidney Disease. Here is a copy of an email sent to the group about colas.

Cola beverages are high in caffeine. Some companies are known to add additional caffeine to give you that morning jolt. Caffeine in and of itself, raises blood pressure. The majority of individuals with Polycystic Kidney Disease die of heart disease often related to high blood pressure and left ventricular hypertrophy (enlargement of the heart muscle). Cola beverages are high in sugars or artificial sweeteners both cause browning of organs, a rapid premature cellular demise within affected organs such as the beta cells of the pancreas. Colas are high in phosphates. To maximize health we are told to eat a diet low in phosphates to be begun before the onset of kidney failure. Caffeine causes an in increase in the formation of cysts. Colas trigger a craving for more sugary sweet calorie rich nutrient poor foods bypassing the satiety center. For someone trying to get off caffeine, It may be possible to delay the caffeine withdrawal headache by eating every 50 minutes, say, a small piece of raw fruit like an orange slice.


Chocolates or candy causes an alcohol ferment to develop within the body and can become a trigger for migraine headaches about three days following ingestion of chocolate. Introducing sugars sets up an overgrowth within the intestines. The overgrowth of yeast becomes dominant and the end result of yeast growth is alcohol. This is detrimental to digestion and increases many cystic organ symptoms. Yeast feeds on sugars. Then the body starts craving, demanding more and more sugar to feed the yeast. Vital nutrients remain unabsorbed. B vitamins are known to be lost through alcohol consumption. If one has liver cysts even a slight exposure to alcohol, just inhaled from cleaning sprays, can cause liver cysts to grow and ache. Many have experienced this and avoid sugars, vinegars, and all alcohol, including inhaling sprays from window cleaners many of which contain alcohol.


In times past, I thought it was sociable to share a glass of fine wine with guests. I soon had to decide which was more important to me: to suffer the pain and the weariness after drinking a bit of alcohol or to socially interact with friends by drinking a glass of wine. Even so much as (15 ml) sip of wine, wipes me out for three days. My liver takes at least this long to recover from the pain. I have found an abundance of many pleasant and creative ways to relate with friends. Habits are long standing and produce difficult patterns which are extremely hard to break. Red wine is said to have medical benefit as a heart protecterant especially when coupled with what has come to be known as the Mediterranean diet (from Crete, Greece). A similar benefit can be derived from drinking dark grape juice and eating the Mediterranean diet. This is the alkaline diet in another form, in another culture. Scientists discovered that the people of Crete used olive oil daily on their food. They consumed an 1/8 the amount of meat as people in the United States. Coincidentally, the peoples of Crete use abundant amounts of saffron in their cooking. They ate a multiple servings of fresh fruits and vegetables. The Cretes ate 30 times the amount of green beans as people in the United States. When surveyed, half the people could not remember having eaten any fruit or vegetables on a given day. The blood levels of Cretes were reported to have an unusually high level of alpha-linoleic acid. The studies done with red wine alone were performed in the laboratory on a petrie dish. The alcohol was removed from the wine and the isolated tannins were used. Red wine has been found to contain alpha inoleic acid. What is alpha linoleic acid? It is found in abundance in hemp seed, walnuts and more. Because I experienced liver cyst growth while taking fish oil and flax, I now use a few drops of hemp seed oil on my salad as a food source of all the essential fatty acids and vitamin E. It also contains vitamin D, which is needed to activate calcium absorption. Another source are almonds and pursalane greens. Navarro vineyards makes a wonderful Gewürztraminer grape juice that tastes similar to a fine sautérne.


Beer and ale cause prolactin hormone to be produced. This contributes to liver cyst growth. The ferment which produces beer is an alcohol ferment. An alcohol ferment is a deterrent to digestion and a deterrent to the assimilation of nutrients from food. Tt creates aches and pains in the liver and kidneys. Individuals who drink large amounts of alcoholic beverages daily become malnourished. The body becomes depleted of the B vitamins. These individuals appear to have skinny thighs and bulbous noses with a reddish hue. The significance of this is unknown to me.

Yeast, sugar and wheat

These three items often appear mixed together in different baked goods, snacks, breads, and even pastas. This combination has a potentiating affect on detrimental PKD symptoms. Consuming two of the above together is injurious, and for some with liver cysts, wheat alone seems to exacerbate symptoms. These three together can produce an alcohol ferment as opposed to a lactic acid ferment. Lactic acid is manufactured by non-yeasted sugar free spelt bread. This type of acid can easily be breathed off through the lungs whereas an alcohol ferment requires buffering from cystic kidneys. This is also available for purchase through Pacific Bakery.

We are  sharing our experiences with PKD/PLD Diet, an adjunct diet envisioning it complementing a physician's prescribed medical therapy. Consider testing this with your doctor's prior knowledge, who can  adjust it according to your own uniqueness by adding it to your current  treatment.

Medical Disclaimer