In this quick KYJ (KnowingYourJargon) I wanted to refresh you on these two important waste products excreted by your kidneys.
Two in most, some born with one (missing out), some born with three (just greedy) and some have two that are joined together and it’s called a Horseshoe kidney (pictured) whether you have 1,2 or three they all exist to constantly take the piss out of you. But seriously, the waste products of metabolism most commonly associated with kidney function are creatinine, and urea. Both of these are nitrogen wastes.
Urea is the water soluble metabolite of ammonia.
Let’s go back a few steps. When you eat foods with protein, the digestive process breaks the protein down into smaller molecules called Amino Acids, which we absorb from the gut, into the portal circulation (that’s the blood flow from the gut to the liver).
Some amino acids are not absorbed, so travel to the large intestine where bacteria (normal flora/gut biome) feast on these Amino Acids producing a waste called Ammonia.
Ammonia is absorbed readily into portal circulation, but it’s really toxic. So, the liver, being the champion that the liver is, processed the poisonous Ammonia, converting it into the less toxic Urea.
Now the liver releases Urea into the systemic circulation and this is where the kidneys excrete it into the liquid waste we calm urine. And Yes, urine is named after Urea.
Fun fact- ammonia is a leather softner, and used as a fertiliser. When left to oxidise, the urea in urine, converts back to ammonia . Peeing on that rose bush really does help (mind the prickles). It was at one time a commodity. To make ammonia for the leather tanning industry, urine was bought from mostly families with little or no income.
It is the origin of the term “Piss poor”. Selling Urine was their only income.
Just catch a whiff of that ammonia wafting from the cloth nappy bucket when left too long.
Creat, or creatinine is another nitrogenous waste product, but it’s not from the protein you eat, it’s from the protein you are.
Your muscles burn fuel to make energy called ATP. Like all cells, glucose is the fuel of choice, but muscle and brain cells have an ace up their sleeve. An amino acid called Creatine is present to rapidly recycle ATP to provide faster energy .
Creatine, once spent are enzymatically converted to the water soluble waste, now called creatinine, and this is excreted by the kidneys . I like the analogy of a bullet and it’s casing. Where the whole round is the Creatine, the firing pin is the enzyme Creatine phosphokinase (CK) , and the empty shell is the waste Creatinine.
Well that’s it, I’m done . I need a wee after all that.
Hope you enjoyed today’s KYJ- lubrication for your mind.
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