The main function of the kidney is to cleanse the blood by filtering the waste, excrete the waste in the form of urine and recycle the blood. The kidney also plays an important role of maintaining the body acid-base balance.
When the kidney is not functioning properly, kidneys stones that can be as small as sand to as large as pearl develop over time. The kidney stones cause blockage in the urinary tract leading to back pain, blood in the urine, cloudy urine and discomfort or stinking feeling when urinating.
There are 5 types of kidney stones:
- Calcium oxalate – This is the most common type of kidney stone. Formation of Calcium oxalate is inhibited by citrate, which is readily available in citrus fruits.
- Calcium phosphate – The stone thrives in basic condition. Hence, it can be easily dissolved by urine acidified by Vitamin C.
- Magnesium ammonium phosphate – It normally appears after infection and it can be dissolved in acidified urine. Otherwise, it needs to be removed by surgery.
- Uric acid stones– Uric acid is a by-product of protein metabolism and it is formed by those who have gout.
- Cysteine stones – This is a hereditary condition where one is unable to absorb cysteine and is passed out in the urine.
How do you prevent or reduce kidney stones?
1) Drink plenty of water
Water flushes the kidney and prevents the different types of stone from being deposited. Drinking more than 3 liters of water a day prevents the concentration of stone particles in the urine and increase the flow rate that helps to flush them away.
2) Eat plenty of citrus fruits and vegetables
Citrus fruits contain citrate, which is important in removing Calcium Oxalate stones. Citrus fruits are also rich in Vitamin C, which helps to acidify urine and dissolves Calcium Phosphate and Magnesium Ammonium Phosphate stones.
The fiber in fruits and vegetables helps the body get rid of excess Calcium oxalate and sweeps out the toxins from the body. While some fruits and vegetable form oxalate as a by-product. Dietary oxalate is not a significant factor in kidney stone formation.
3) Avoid soft drinks
Carbonated soft drinks, especially colas, contain an excessive amount of phosphoric acid, which prevents Calcium absorption. The excess Calcium ion present in the urine can easily combine with Oxalate to form Calcium Oxalate stones.
Research has found that drinking more than 1 liter of soft drinks containing phosphoric acid a week increase the risk of developing kidney stones by 15% in 3 years.
4) Vitamin B Complex
Vitamin B6 reduces urinary Oxalate excretion and increase urinary excretion of citrate. A study was reported in the Journal of American Society of Nephrology, April 1999 of 85 557 women with no history of kidney stones over a period of 14 years. The study found that increase in Vitamin B6 intake reduce the incidence of kidney stones formation.
5) Reduce meat
Meat protein, especially organ meat, is the main source of purine, which leads to uric acid stones.
6) Reduce Sugar
A diet rich in refine carbohydrate or sugar increase the excretion of Calcium in the urine. This increases the risk of Calcium Oxalate kidney stones formation.
A study by J.A.Thom et al reported in the British Journal of Urology of volunteers fed with refined carbohydrate and measured for Calcium in the urine after 24 hours. The results showed a significant increase in Calcium in the urine.
7) Reduce Salt
High intake of salt ( more than 2000 mg per day ) in the diet promotes the excretion of calcium in the urine. This cause Calcium lost in the body as well as increases the risk of Calcium Oxalate formation.
If you are already following the above ways in your diet and lifestyle, fantastic! If not, you can start to do so now.
Do you have other ways that can prevent kidney stones? Do share with me in the comment box below.
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