Eat Right For Your Stone Type
New research shows that changes in diet and nutrients, when used together, can help prevent kidney stones in adults. Specific changes you should make depend on what type of stone you want to prevent.
Calcium Oxalate Stones. These are the most common types of kidney stone. They can form when your urine is too acidic. Eating foods and drinking beverages that lower the acidity in your urine can help prevent these types of stones. The nutritional supplements potassium citrate, magnesium potassium citrate, and calcium citrate may also help. If the level of calcium in your urine is high, restricting sodium to no more than 2 grams a day is important to prevent calcium oxalate stones. You should avoid too much protein in your diet, as well as too much or too little vitamin D.
Uric Acid Stones. Uric acid stones form in urine and account for approximately 17% of kidney stones. Alkanizing the urine with citrus juice, decreasing protein intake, avoiding beer and alcohol, and reducing fructose intake are all opportunities for prevention. Do not drink cranberry juice or take betine-both of these will acidify the urine.
Calcium Phosphate Stones. These can occur in anyone, but they are more common in pregnant women. They can form when your urine isn’t acidic enough therefore, you should increase the acidity of your urine.
Cystine Stones. These stones are rare and usually occur in childhood. They can form when your urine is too acidic therefore, you should lower the acidity of your urine.
Must Eat Foods For Lowering Calcium Oxalate
If you are suffering from kidney stones, you want to do everything possible to manage the condition and prevent stones from forming or growing in the future. People often wonder what is the best diet for kidney stones. There are quite a few factors to consider when it comes to choosing the right foods and beverages for kidney health.
Lifestyle Tips For Managing Kidney Stones
Here are some diet and lifestyle guidelines to help you manage kidney stones and avoid their recurrence.
- Consult a diet chart for kidney stone patients. You can find these online or in books. You should be able to quickly reference high oxalate foods so you know what to buy and what to avoid.
- Be sure to drink enough water. Staying hydrated is one of the best ways to flush out kidney stones naturally.
- Research the best supplements. In addition to eating a diet that supports kidney health, there are various supplements on the market that can help you manage and prevent kidney stones. Chose those that have actual science to support their claims.
- Get the right amount of activity. If you have kidney stones, you should be careful about overexerting yourself. However, gentle exercises such as walking, yoga, tai chi and light cardio can help keep kidney stones at bay.
Kidney stones are a serious issue and its important to monitor your kidney health. However, if you follow medical advice and are willing to make the appropriate changes to your diet and lifestyle, you can learn to manage this condition.
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What To Do When A Kidney Stones Diet Doesnt Work
Dietary choices may not be enough to stop kidney stones from forming for all people. If you have recurrent stones, we recommended you talk to your urologist about what role medication can play to prevent them in the future.
Each type of kidney stone has a different type of medication that can help reduce the amount of that material present in the urine causing the stone.
For example if you get calcium stones, a urologist may prescribe phosphate or thiazide diuretic. A person who gets uric acid stones may benefit from allopurinol to reduce the acid in the blood or urine. Those with struvite stones may be prescribed a long-term antibiotic to reduce the bacteria in the urine. Lastly, a doctor treating someone with cysteine stones may prescribe capoten to reduce the level of cysteine in the urine.
Some prescriptions or over-the-counter medications you are taking could lead to kidney stones. Those include:
- Chemotherapy drugs.
- Uricosuric drugs.
If you are taking any of the medications listed above, you should talk to your doctor about alternatives. Do not stop any medically prescribed medications without discussing it with your doctor first.
I do not recommend my patients use herbal remedies that are not well-researched or well-regulated for the prevention and treatment of kidney stones. It is best to head to a doctor to discuss your options.
How To Prevent Kidney Stones
Drink lots of water. The most important thing to do to prevent kidney stones is to drink plenty of water, which helps flush compounds out of the kidneys before they can start making trouble.
Reduce salt. Excessive sodium intake can also concentrate the urine, making stone formation more likely.
Eat your veggies. A diet high in fruits and vegetables, which raises the pH of the urine, can help prevent kidney stones.
Keep protein intake moderate. High protein diets, which lower the pH of your urine, can make kidney stones more likely. If you are nervous about kidney stones, youll probably want to stick to a moderate protein diet and get at least some of your protein from plants.
Get enough calcium. A low calcium diet can also be a risk factor. This fact surprises a lot of people because kidney stones often contain a lot of calcium, which seems to suggest that too much calcium would be to blame. But its actually the opposite. When your diet is higher in calcium, less of it is absorbed in the digestive tract and less ends up in the urine. The best way to get calcium is by eating a variety of calcium-containing foods throughout the day. Taking your entire dietary allowance of calcium at one time in the form of a supplement, on the other hand, may slightly increase your risk of stones.
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Foods Not To Eat With Kidney Stones
A stone is a hard piece of material that forms in your kidneys when calcium, oxalate or phosphorus substances in the urine become concentrated. Kidney stones are one of the most common urinary tract disorders and may be extremely painful to pass. Research has found that certain foods, minerals, and fluids may actually promote kidney stone formation, especially in susceptible individuals. Learn what foods to avoid to help prevent the recurrence of stones.
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Its Not Just The Oxalate
Oxalate is naturally found in many foods, including fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, grains, legumes, and even chocolate and tea. Some examples of foods that contain high levels of oxalate include: peanuts, rhubarb, spinach, beets, chocolate and sweet potatoes. Moderating intake of these foods may be beneficial for people who form calcium oxalate stones, the leading type of kidney stones.
A common misconception is that cutting the oxalate-rich foods in your diet alone will reduce the likelihood of forming calcium oxalate kidney stones. While in theory this might be true, this approach isnt smart from an overall health perspective. Most kidney stones are formed when oxalate binds to calcium while urine is produced by the kidneys.
It is important to eat and drink calcium and oxalate-rich foods together during a meal. In doing so, oxalate and calcium are more likely to bind to one another in the stomach and intestines before the kidneys begin processing, making it less likely that kidney stones will form.
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How To Avoid Kidney Stones
Here are the five ways to help prevent kidney stones:
Drink plenty of water: Drinking extra water dilutes the substances in urine that lead to stones. Strive to drink enough fluids to pass 2 liters of urine a day, which is roughly eight standard 8-ounce cups. It may help to include some citrus beverages, like lemonade and orange juice. The citrate in these beverages helps block stone formation.
Eat calcium rich foods: Dietary calcium binds to oxalate in your intestines and thereby decreases the amount of oxalate that gets absorbed into the bloodstream and then excreted by the kidney. This lowers the concentration of oxalate in the urine, so there is less chance it can bind to urinary calcium. That leads to decreased risk of kidney stones.
Reduce sodium: A high-sodium diet can trigger kidney stones because it increases the amount of calcium in your urine. So, a low-sodium diet is recommended for the stone prone. Current guidelines suggest limiting total daily sodium intake to 2,300 mg. If sodium has contributed to kidney stones in the past, try to reduce your daily intake to 1,500 mg. This will also be good for your blood pressure and heart.
Avoid stone-forming foods: Beets, chocolate, spinach, rhubarb, tea, and most nuts are rich in oxalate, which can contribute to kidney stones. If you suffer from stones, your doctor may advise you to avoid these foods or to consume them in smaller amounts.
Cut Down On Sodium And Animal Protein
If you have calcium oxalate stones, calcium phosphate stones, or uric acid stones, a major part of prevention is cutting down on sodium and animal protein.
Sodium is a problem because it transports calcium into your urine, where the calcium can collect and create a stone. Keep your total sodium intake under 2,300 mg per day. Check food labels carefully for hidden sources of sodium.
Eating animal protein raises your risk for all forms of kidney stones. Limit:
- Organ meats
You can replace some of your animal-protein meals with vegetable sources of proteins, such as nuts, seeds, and some legumes. But dont eat peanuts if youve had a calcium oxalate stone.
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What Causes Kidney Stones
Kidney stones can form when compounds that are normally found in urine form crystals and start to clump together. They may be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a small pebble. Small stones may pass out of the body without you noticing. If larger stones start to migrate through the urinary tract, youre going to notice!
Although the pain of passing a kidney stone can be excruciating, they usually pass without causing any further damage. In rare cases, surgery or other treatment may be required. But in most cases, the only treatment is medication to alleviate the pain while they are on the move.
Make Milk Cheese Or Yogurt But Not Calcium Supplements Part Of Your Diet
It may seem counterintuitive to eat foods filled with calcium to avoid calcium stones the most common type of kidney stones but dietary calcium is actually good, Porter says. In fact, it can help block other substances in the digestive tract that can cause stones, according to the NIDDK. Your health care provider can help you choose the best calcium-rich foods for your situation.
Calcium supplements, on the other hand, can increase our risk of stones, says Porter. Other supplements you may want to cut down on include vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium, and vitamin C, which is converted into oxalates .
In the past, people would be put on very low-calcium diets, but that resulted in an increased risk of osteoporosis, Palevsky says. So you dont want to really, really restrict calcium intake the goal would be 1,000 to 1,200 mg of calcium per day.
When To Avoid Oxalate & Vitamin C
Limit the oxalate in your diet if you are at risk for calcium oxalate stones. Foods high in oxalate can increase levels in the urine. When oxalate combines with calcium, calcium oxalate stones are formed. High-oxalate foods include spinach, beets, rhubarb, nuts, wheat bran, buckwheat and chocolate. There is also some evidence that doses vitamin C or ascorbic acid supplements greater than 2,000 mg may increase stone formation in those who are at risk.
Who Would Benefit From An Oxalate
Calcium oxalate stones are the most common type of kidney stone. As such, many patients with kidney stones can benefit from a diet that reduces calcium kidney stones. However, if you dont test high for oxalate, this diet will not benefit you. Ask your Cleveland Clinic physician if an oxalate controlled diet would be helpful to you.
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Prevalence Of Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are surprisingly common, and have become more common in recent years. The prevalence of kidney stones has more than tripled in the past 40 years. About 1 in 10 people in the United States will have a symptomatic kidney stone at some point in life. However, there are likely many more people who have had kidney stones without symptoms. Kidney stones are more common in men . However, most of the increase in kidney stone prevalence can be attributed to higher numbers of women forming kidney stones.
Calcium oxalate is by far the most common type of kidney stone. Around 80% of kidney stones are made of calcium & oxalate. Calcium phosphate stones are the second most common, comprising around 10% of kidney stones. Kidney stones can also be formed from uric acid, struvite and cystine. This article focuses on calcium oxalate kidney stones, as they are by far the most common and usually most diet-related. The other stone types do have some dietary considerations, but a healthy diet is different than the information covered in this article.
Four Myths About Kidney Stones
If you’ve ever had a run-in with kidney stones, then you’ve also had a run-in with a relative/neighbor/obnoxious over-sharer who has the home remedy that fixed them right up.
And while unsolicited after-dinner medical advice may sometimes sound reasonable, there’s a lot you need to know about your own kidney stones before you start adjusting your diet based on Aunt Alice’s latest stone story.
“You don’t want calcium because that’s what stones are made of, so ditch the milk.””Oxalates are bad, so stop eating foods like chocolate, beer, soy, nuts, spinach and coffee.””And if you feel a stone coming on, start drinking lots of cranberry juice to get rid of it.”
You’ve probably gathered lots of advice and home remedies in your battle against kidney stones . But many of grandma’s homemade fixes may actually do more harm than good when it comes to the specific composition of your kidney stones and the reasons why you are forming them.
What are kidney stones? They’re crystal-like formations of the excess minerals in your urine. This simple answer leads to simplified and problematic responses. The logic: Identify what you’re consuming, and reduce whatever the stone is made of.
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Talk To Your Doctor About Preventative Medications
If youre prone to certain types of kidney stones, certain medications can help control the amount of that material present in your urine. The type of medication prescribed will depend on the type of stones you usually get.
- If you get calcium stones, a thiazide diuretic or phosphate may be beneficial.
- If you get uric acid stones, allopurinol can help reduce uric acid in your blood or urine.
- If you get struvite stones, long-term antibiotics may be used to help reduce the amount of bacteria present in your urine
- If you get cystine stones, capoten may help reduce the level of cystine in your urine
Rethink Some Healthy Foods
Your doctor may recommend more dietary changes for you based on stone type and the results of a 24-hour urine test to determine your urine composition basically, what your urine is made of.
If you have high oxalate content in your urine, for instance, your doctor may advise staying away from oxalate-rich foods like rhubarb and spinach. Or they may recommend eating those foods with dairy, as the calcium from milk products binds to oxalates and forces them into your feces rather than urine.
Oxalate is in a lot of really healthy foods like greens, vegetables, beans and nuts, says Dr. De. So we would only restrict them after examining a patients stone type and urine test results.
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Foods To Avoid With Kidney Stones
Before discussing the top foods for lowering calcium oxalate in your diet, its worth looking for the best diet to avoid kidney stones. Its well known that it is especially important to avoid high oxalate foods. This category includes various fruits and vegetables, such as spinach and many other leafy greens, beets, almonds, dates, soy products and even raspberries. Consult a kidney stone diet chart for a complete list of fruits and vegetables containing oxalates and also for other high oxalate foods.
When you are prone to kidney stones, you should also be careful to limit your intake of protein, especially animal protein. You should limit your daily allowance of protein to 3 oz a day. A high-protein diet reduces levels of urinary citrate, the chemical in urine that helps prevent stones from forming.
Do We Need More Trials For Calcium Stone Formers
For me, no. It would seem a waste of money.
Some trials treated patients with reduced urine citrate, others did not. Some trials looked at new stones over 3 years, others at residual fragment growth one year after urological procedures. Will another 50 or even 100 cases be likely to change the outcomes? If so, in what way, and why?
It is true that one trial showed no effect and that trial was not blinded. It is actually a drag on the results as I did not remove it.
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