You have two kidneys. They are bean-shaped and each about the size of your fists. They are located at either side of the spine near the middle of your back. Most people think their kidneys are only responsible for producing urine.
In fact, kidneys accumulate urine and dispose of it through the urinary tract. Excess water and toxins from metabolic processes, along with urine, are removed from the body as if through a filter. In addition, the acid-base-balance is regulated by the kidneys to prevent excess acidity in the blood.
The kidneys also have an important function in regulating the blood pressure by producing hormones. Hormones from the kidneys, such as Erythropoietin, control the production of blood cells in the bone marrow. Kidneys also influence the amount of calcium in the blood and the production of Vitamin D. This vitamin is needed in mineralization, which helps to provide stability of bones.
Did you know?
- The kidneys remove excess body water and waste products 24 hours a day
- Healthy kidneys clean the blood around 300 times each day
- This means that on average 1,500 liters of blood pass through the kidneys every day