Kidney Stones and Diet

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What is the best diet for kidney stone prevention?

I just had a kidney stone and really don’t want to have another one. I looked online and there are conflicting things about what I should eat to prevent a recurrence. What is the best diet?

vetstud / Originally posted on Oxalates in cinnamon

Answer:

I’m going to assume you have what’s called idiopathic calcium nephrolithiasis (but if you can actually catch a stone and have it analyzed, your physician can make more specific recommendations). ICN–the formation of calcium oxalate stones (sometimes mixed with calcium phosphate)–accounts for about 80% of cases (though you should see your physician to rule out a variety of hereditary and acquired diseases that can cause those in the 20%).

The most important thing folks with ICN can do is drink lots of water, at least 2 liters a day, to dilute the concentration of calcium, oxalate, and uric acid in your urine to decrease the likelihood of stone formation and flush away seeding crystals. Water’s probably the best, but if you are going to drink other liquids, OJ is preferable to grapefruit juice, apple juice, and tea.

In terms of food, according to the latest review on the subject, the most important thing is to reduce meat consumption (vegetarians may have only half the kidney stone risk). The reasons given why animal proteins are bad is because of hypercalciuria, hyperoxaluria, hyperuricosuria, hypocitraturia, and the acidification of the urine. You should also cut down on salt, and the more fruits and vegetables the better–they tend to have a high water, potassium, and magnesium content; a low sodium chloride content; and a high urine alkalinization power because of the presence of bicarbonate and citrate. I would warn against megadosing with vitamin C (as you’ll see across the internet) as this may exacerbate stone formation.

How else can we keep our kidneys healthy? See my videos Preventing Kidney Failure Through Diet and Treating Kidney Failure Through Diet (both summarized in my blog post Preventing and Treating Kidney Failure With Diet).

Image Credit: SweetOnVeg / Flickr

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Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.


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