Have you had the pleasure of having a kidney stone?  If you have I would recommend you take a look at your nutrients.

Kidney stones can be extremely painful, and in some cases, patients may require medical treatments or even surgery to remove them.  Most people that I have talked with about kidney stones would do anything to avoid the pain of passing a kidney stone.  Chances are if you have had a kidney stone your are likely to have another one.  My hope in writing this is to help you avoid having to suffer through this again.

The Basics

The most common type of kidney stone is calcium oxalate. Patients with these stones exhibit hypercalciuria (elevated urine calcium) and hyperoxaluria (elevated urine oxalate).  Simply put, we want to reduce the calcium and oxalate from our urine.  To reduce the chances of a recurrence of these stones, patients should follow dietary adjustments to calcium, protein, sodium and oxalate. Calcium from food sources should be encouraged over calcium from supplements. Calcium from food sources will bind with oxalate in the intestine and prevent it from moving to the kidneys and urine. High protein and high sodium diets can increase calcium in the urine, so moderate protein and sodium consumption should also be recommended. Water intake should be high enough (minimum six liters per day) to increase urine output so that the patient needs to urinate every two to three hours through the day. Because vitamin C degrades into oxalate in the body, vitamin C intake should stay at or under the recommended daily allowance (RDA), which is 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women. Due to its low bioavailability, there is no current consensus on the effects of dietary oxalate in stone formation. However, most physicians will recommend lower intakes. One surprising nutritional fact is that cranberries are high in oxalates. Spinach is also high in oxalates, but kale is low. As a guideline, you can find a list of foods that are highest or lowest in oxalates online here.

5 Steps to prevent Kidney Stones

  1.  Get calcium from food sources.  Do not take as much calcium from supplements.
  2.  Limit your sodium intake and monitor your protein intake.  50 to 100 grams of protein is safe to consume.
  3.  Increase water intake to 6 liters per day.
  4. Limit Vitamin C intake
  5. Limit foods with high oxalates (Cranberries, Spinach, etc) See link for list.

If you have struggled with kidney stones what advice would you share?  Please comment below.