Newest Advice for Dealing with Kidney Stones

About 1 in 15 of us will develop kidney stones during our lifetime.  Men are more likely than women and white men are at highest risk.  If you have developed one stone there is a higher risk for developing more stones.  They can be painful and cause nausea, vomiting and fevers.  Hot climates, dehydration, and genetics are some of the risk factors associated with kidney stones.  Stones are a mixture of minerals such as the most common stones of calcium and oxalate or calcium and phosphorus.  It has been long thought that there are diet connections to the formation of stones but the connection is still poorly understood.  The old advice to cut back on calcium does not seem to be accurate.  Here is some of the sound advice for dealing with kidney stones.Ÿ    Drink plenty of fluids.  Your doctor can measure urinary output in 24 hours and make specific recommendations for fluid intake.Ÿ    Limit your sodium intake to less than 2400 mg per day.  They are still debating this recommendation but since it fits with heart health recommendations it won’t hurt to follow for kidney stones as well.Ÿ    A high calcium intake from dairy products seems to be protective.  Aim for 800 mg of calcium from dairy.  This is a little less than 3 servings of milk a day.  There is not enough evidence to make recommendations on other food sources of calcium but some research has linked supplements to increasing the risk for stones.  Ÿ    Very high doses of Vitamin C may promote stone formation.  Get your Vitamin C from food sources and there is not a need for supplementation. Ÿ    Drinking a lot of lemonade is often encouraged.  Some research has shown the lemon and orange juice might increase the levels of citric acid in urine and thus help prevent calcium kidney stones.  Grapefruit juice, in preliminary studies, may increase the risk.Ÿ    Some of the old remedies and advice like cutting coffee, tea, beer, wine, protein foods, foods high in oxalates, and cola drinks are now in question due to there not being a strong association found through the research. So, if you or your family is prone to kidney stones, you may want to discuss these recommendations with your doctor.  Keep in mind that you don’t need to dose yourself with dietary supplements and have caution with “natural” remedies from un-researched sources. For more information on the latest research between diet and kidney stones see the University of California, Berkely Wellness Letter, January 2009.

Written By

Debbie SparksCounty Extension Support Specialist (828) 255-5522 (Office) Buncombe County, North Carolina

Posted on Feb 16, 2009

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