Passing kidney stones can be unbearably painful, but sadly, persons who have gone through kidney stones condition are more likely to have them again. Then again, there are a couple of things you can do to help reduce the risk of having kidney stones.
Read on to find natural and effective measures to fight kidney stones.
What are kidney stones?
Kidney stones are a common medical condition, clinically known as renal stones or nephrolithiasis, that forms in the kidneys and is made up of solid lumps of waste materials meant to pass through the urinary system which then develops in the kidneys and crystallizing into kidney stones.
There are four main types of kidney stones, but the most common one is about 80% of all the types, and this is composed of calcium oxalate. However, uric acid, struvite, and cysteine kidney stones are less common than the calcium oxalate kidney stones.
The smaller stones usually are not much of a problem, but larger stones are, and they may block a part of your kidney as they are being passed out. This can cause extreme pain, vomiting, and bleeding.
Moreso, if you have suffered having a kidney stone once, according to research, you have about 50% chances of developing another one again in about 5 to 10 years. Kidney stones are solid lumps formed when waste products in the kidneys crystalize.
This condition is quite common, and the passing of large kidney stones are quite excruciating. These are 8 natural and effective measures to fight kidney stones to reduce the risk of forming another kidney stone.
1. Drink plenty of fluids
It is proven that drinking enough fluid is an excellent way of fighting kidney stones, and it is highly recommended. When you take into your system enough volume of liquids, it passes through the kidney and dilutes the waste materials that are potentially stone-forming, thereby increasing their amount in urine preventing them from crystallizing into kidney stones.
Drinking a lot of fluids helps in fighting kidney stones, but not all fluids have the same effect on the system. The most recommended fluid to drink in abundance is water because studies have proven that increased intake of water is potentially associated with decreased risks of the formation of renal stones.
Other fluids like Beverages, for example; beer, coffee, wine, fruit juice and tea has been proven to be linked with a lower risk of renal stones forming in the kidney. However, the consumption of plenty of soda, both artificially sweetened and sugar-sweetened soft drinks, may promote the formation of renal stones.
The sugar-sweetened sodas are sweetened with fructose which is proven to raise the removal of uric acid, calcium and oxalate. Some researches have shown the association between an increased intake of both sodas that are sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened and a high risk of kidney stones formation because they contain phosphoric acid.
Drinking a lot of fluids and staying hydrated is very vital for the prevention of forming kidney stones. But while some beverages are inclined to reducing the risk of developing kidney stones, there are some other beverages that are inclined to increase the chances.
2. Increase your citric acid intake
Citric acid is an organic compound present in many plants produce such as fruits and vegetables, specifically citrus fruits. Lemons, oranges and limes are particularly rich in citric acid.
Thus they are excellent sources of the organic compound, and this may help stop kidney stones from developing.
Adopting a proper diet plan will go a long the way of helping you fight kidney stones. Increased intake of citrus acid may aid in the prevention of calcium oxalate renal stones in ways such as:
- Averting the formation of renal stones: Citric acid is known to prevent calcium from forming calcium oxalate crystals because it can create a chemical bond with calcium in urine by binding itself to calcium thereby preventing the calcium from binding with oxalate thus, decreasing the risk of new stone crystallization.
- Preventing renal stone enlargement: Citric also forms a chemical bond with already formed calcium oxalate stones, stopping them from forming bigger stones.
This can help you pass these stones before they crystalize into bigger crystals. The best and most straightforward way to take in more citric acid is to consume more citrus fruits, such as lemons, grapefruit, oranges, and limes.
You can cut or squeeze some lemon or lime juice into warm, clean water.
3. Limit foods high in oxalates
Oxalic acid is found in many organic foods, including leafy vegetables, fruits, and cocoa. It is known as an anti-nutrient. However, the human system produces a reasonable quantity of it.
An increased consumption oxalate may as well increase the removal of oxalate through the passing out of urine, and this is known to be quite problematic for persons who have high tendencies to develop crystals of calcium oxalate.
Oxalate can form a chemical bond with calcium forming calcium oxalate crystals. Oxalate can form bonds with other minerals, thereby forming crystals that can cause renal stone formation.
But then, a diet containing high oxalate is found to have the tendencies to be quite healthy. Therefore, a strict diet that is quite low in oxalate is no more recommended for persons who are at risks of developing kidney stones.
A diet plan low in oxalate is only approved to persons who have hyperoxaluria, a medical condition qualified by a high degree of oxalate present in the urine.
Despite all this, you are advised not to change your diet yet, until you must have consulted with your healthcare provider or dietitian who obviously knows best and help you to determine if you will gain from limiting your consumption of a diet rich in oxalate.
Diet rich in oxalate is found to be problematic to some individuals. But then, it is vital to get professional advice from a health worker before altering your diet.
4. Don’t take high doses of ascorbic acid
Supplemental ascorbic acid, commonly known as vitamin C, have been linked to an increased risk in resulting in renal stones. Studies indicate that vitamin C (ascorbic acid) supplements are associated with a higher risk of getting kidney stones.
Increased consumption of Vitamin C supplements may double the rate by which oxalate is removed from the body as some amount of ascorbic acid can be turned into oxalate in the system.
A Swedish study conducted proved that people who take supplemental vitamin C are at higher risk of developing kidney stones, unlike people who do not take supplemental vitamin C. This study was conducted amongst middle-aged and older men.
Note: Organic vitamin C such as vitamin C gotten from Lemon and other citrus fruit is not a risk factor of kidney stones formation, but artificially produced vitamin C supplements are one of the main risk factors of renal stones formation.
There are some proofs that high doses intake of supplemental vitamin C may increase the risk of calcium oxalate stones formation in the urinary system of men.
5. Get enough calcium
You might have been thinking that the reduction of calcium intake will lead to a decrease in the body’s risk of forming calcium composed of renal stones. This, however, isn’t true because a diet that contains calcium has been linked to reduced risks of renal stones formation.
To confirm this, a study was conducted among men who had former cases of already formed calcium-composed kidney stones. One group placed some men on a diet which had 1,200 mg of calcium daily.
This diet was made to contain low animal protein as well as salt while another group (called the control group) were placed on a diet containing about 400mg of calcium daily, which is relatively lower than the first group.
After the study, it was proven that the group placed on a much higher calcium diet had the risks of developing more renal stones reduced to about 50% within half a decade than the group set on a relatively lower calcium-diet.
Dairy products such as cheese, milk, and yoghurt are good sources of dietary calcium, which are highly recommended in this case because this calcium can form bonds with oxalate in the diet, thereby preventing its absorption in the body. This makes it impossible for the kidney to pass it through.
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of calcium, for the average adult, is 1,000 mg per day. But then, the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of calcium for the middle-aged women of about 50 years as well every aged persons of nearly 70 years, is 1,200 mg per day.
Enough consumption of calcium may be helpful in the prevention of kidney stone formation in some persons. This is because calcium may form bonds with oxalate and prevent its absorption.
6. Cut back on salt
According to research, a diet with a high amount of salt is associated with a doubled risk of getting kidney stones in some persons.
A diet plan containing a high amount of sodium, which is composed of common salt, may increase the chances of passing out of the mineral, calcium, through urine, which poses as one of the chief risk factors of kidney stones formation.
Although, some studies conducted in younger adults failed to suggest or confirm a linkage. Nevertheless, the reference daily intake (RDI) requires people to curb their sodium consumption to 2,300 mg per day. Then again, most individuals take in much more than that quantity.
One of the excellent ways of reducing the intake of your sodium is to cut back on the consumption of packaged and processed meals. If you are at risk of developing kidney stones, reducing the intake of sodium may help.
In addition, sodium may increase the quantity of calcium passed out in the urine.
7. Increase your magnesium intake
Magnesium is one essential mineral that not many people consume in the required quantity. This mineral is needed in the body for a lot of metabolic reactions inside the body, which ensures energy production and both voluntary and involuntary muscle movements in the body.
There are proofs that this mineral, magnesium may be of help in the prevention of calcium oxalate kidney stone development in the body. How this precisely works is yet to be fully understood, but there has been a suggestion that this mineral may help in reducing the absorption of oxalate in the alimentary canal. Nonetheless, not all researches agree on this.
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for magnesium is 420 mg per day. And if you want your dietary magnesium consumption to increase, you must add to your diet more foods that are great dietary magnesium sources which may include: legumes, avocados, and tofu.
In order to enjoy the maximum benefits, you are advised to consume dietary magnesium along with other foods that are rich in oxalate. If this approach is not available, you can as well try to consume dietary magnesium within 12 hours of consuming a meal that is high in oxalate.
Some research indicates that increasing your consumption of magnesium may help reduce the absorption of oxalate in the body and minimize the risk of developing kidney stones.
8. Reduce the consumption of animal protein
A diet plan high in animal protein is linked to an increased risk of forming kidney stones. High consumption of animal protein may increase the passing out of calcium and reduce the levels of citrate.
Additionally, animal protein sources such as meat, fish, and dairy, are found to be rich in purines. These compounds are metabolised into uric acid, which increases the risk of developing uric acid kidney stones.
Note: All foods contain varying quantities of purine.
Organ meat such as kidney, liver, heart, and many more are quite abundant in purines. But then, plant foods contain a low amount of purine. Eating meals that are rich in animal protein may increase an individual’s risk of forming kidney stones.
If you have gone through the unfortunate experience of having developed a kidney stone before, you are more likely to form another one and go through all that you have gone before within 5 to 10 years. Fortunately, you can help prevent this by applying some dietary measures which may significantly reduce the risk of forming kidney stones.
For instance, you can increase the way you drink your fluid, eating meals rich in particular nutrients and minerals, minimize your intake of animal protein, and reducing your intake of sodium. Simply following these few easy steps may help to reduce the painful formation of kidney stones.
Have you had to deal with the formation of kidney stones before? What natural measures did you follow to eliminate the stones from your system? Kindly share the steps with us in the comments below. Also include tips and suggestions that you feel might be helpful to Healthtian.