Six Steps to Preventing Kidney Stones

by Dr. David Williams
Filed Under: General Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

If there’s a history of stone formation in your family, if you’ve already had a kidney stone, or if you’re currently consuming high amounts of sugar or cola, now is the time to take the steps I’ve outlined below.

1. Take Citrate—Inexpensively 

Make two liters of lemonade and drink it throughout each day. The lemonade increased urinary citrate levels and lowered urinary calcium excretion, which is just what you want to prevent kidney stone formation.

2. Drink Your Way to Fewer Kidney Stones 

8–12 eight-ounces glasses of water daily can help prevent calcium and oxalate from crystallizing in the urine.  Other beverages, though, can also affect kidney-stone risk. A daily eight-ounce serving of each of the following lowered the risk of developing kidney stones: 

  • Caffeinated coffee decreased risk by ten percent. 
  • Decaffeinated coffee decreased risk by nine percent. 
  • Tea reduced risk by eight percent. 

        Wine reduced risk by a whopping 59 percent! (This study did not distinguish between red and white wine. Based on the volumes of research concerning red wine’s additional health-promoting properties, however, I’d recommend red over white. Eight ounces a day, the “dosage” used in the above study, equates to roughly two small glasses.) 

Grapefruit juice had the highest negative impact. A daily eight-ounce glass of grapefruit juice increased the risk of developing kidney stones by 44 percent.  Caffeine-free, sugar-free colas can exacerbate kidney stone problems because of their high concentrations of phosphoric acid.

3. Sweeten with Stevia, not Sugar 

Go easy on sugar. Diets high in sugar can increase urinary calcium excretion and risk of kidney stone formation. You can significantly lower this risk by avoiding sugar and sweets in your diet. Again, this is another reason to avoid colas. Instead, use a natural sweetener like the herb Stevia. It retards the growth of dental plaque. It also has the unique ability to help regulate blood sugar levels, which makes it one of the few sweeteners that can be used safely by diabetics.

4. Watch out for High-oxalate Foods 

To prevent stone formation, it’s best to avoid foods high in oxalate. These include chard, rhubarb, beets, parsley, cocoa, and tea. Additionally, certain vegetables that are high in calcium like spinach and collard greens, should only be eaten raw as the heat from cooking turns the calcium in them into calcium oxalate. 

5. Add Rice Bran to Your Diet 

It has been shown that high-fiber diets reduce the risk of developing kidney stones. In fact, one study found that when patients took 10 grams of rice bran twice daily, their recurrence rate for kidney stones was reduced by over 78 percent

6. Take Magnesium and Vitamin B6.  Supplementing with magnesium (200–400 mg per day) and vitamin B6 (100 mg per day) has been shown to reduce kidney stone recurrence dramatically. In one study, 149 people who had previously had kidney stones took 300 mg of magnesium and 10 mg of B6 daily for periods ranging from 4-1/2 to 6 years. Before taking the magnesium and B6, they averaged 1.3 stones per year. During the period in which they took the supplements, the average fell to 0.1 stones per year.

Now it’s your turn: Are you on a kidney stone prevention program? What do you do?

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