Kidney Stone

What is Kidney Stone?

Kidney stone develop when minerals in the urine form crystallized deposits that gradually increase in size. The stones may be tiny bits of smooth gravel that can pass down the urine tubes and out in the urine without medical intervention (but usually with excruciating pain) or grow to jagged, rock-like mineral clumps an inch or more in size that cannot possibly pass down the urine tubes. These bigger stones once had to be removed by a major surgery, but no more. A new technique—using a machine called the lithotripter—allows us to shoot sound waves at the stones, breaking them into tiny bits that can flush down the ureter (the tube leading from your kidney to your bladder).

Kidney StoneApart from these advances in medical technology that make treating a kidney stone a little less barbaric, nutrition can offer some benefit in preventing their formation in the first place. Prevention is key, as there is a 20 to 50% risk of recurrence once a person has formed a stone. That risk gets even higher after the second recurrence.

What makes Kidney Stone worse?

• A diet that contains a high amount of animal protein (meat, chicken, or fish) promotes the loss of calcium through the kidney, which means an increased amount of calcium in the urine, which could favor the development of calcium-containing kidney stones. The effect is partially offset by making sure your diet contains plenty of potassium and vitamin B6. Your body requires complete protein every day in an amount equal to 1/2 gram of protein for every pound of your lean tissue weight. If you have a tendency to develop kidney stones, you should be certain to meet this minimum, but you should exercise restraint in not going over that amount. No one food from the plant kingdom contains all the essential amino acids, although soy protein comes close. If you choose to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle—and if you are troubled with recurrent kidney stones, you may wish to—you should become well versed in how to match vegetable proteins to ensure you have all the essential amino acids daily.

Kidney Stone A high sodium (salt) intake can cause your kidneys to lose calcium. Higher levels of calcium in your urine can promote the formation of calcium-containing kidney stones. Recommendation: If you suffer from recurrent kidney stones, do not add extra salt to your foods and avoid heavy consumption of salty foods such as chips, pretzels, salt-cured meat and fish, pickles, and sauerkraut.

• Foods rich in the chemical oxalate can result in higher levels of . oxalate in your urine. This chemical combines with calcium to form solid deposits—stones. Recommendation: Limit your intake of beans, cocoa, instant coffee, parsley, rhubarb, spinach, tea, beet tops, carrots, celery, chocolate, cucumber, grapefruit, kale, peanuts, pepper, and sweet potatoes, all rich in oxalate.

• A diet high in sugar (table sugar, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, or molasses) may also cause you to have higher levels of calcium in your urine, which can foster the development of calciumcontaining kidney stones in people prone to forming them. Sugar intake also promotes higher levels of oxalate and uric acid (a component of yet another type of stone). Recommendation: If you have had a kidney stone, you should eliminate or sharply reduce your intake of the sugars listed above and all products made with them.

• Researchers have noted that people who develop kidney stones drink on average twice as much alcohol, especially beer, as those who do not develop stones. Recommendation: Restrict your consumption of alcohol to no greater than a single "lite" beer, glass of wine, or ounce of distilled liquor once or twice a week if you have recurrent kidney stones.

•  Caffeine increases your loss of calcium in urine, increasing your chances of developing a calcium-containing kidney stone. This effect seems to be most prominent in women taking estrogen, but it occurs in men and women not on estrogen replacement as well.

• Because the breakdown of vitamin C by your body produces oxalic acid or oxalate, in theory, at least, high levels of vitamin C could promote formation of calcium oxalate kidney stones. In reality, however, the evidence that this actually happens is quite sketchy, and research has shown that urine levels of oxalate don't increase significantly until supplementation exceeds 6 grams per day, and even then it probably poses a risk only to those people with a tendency to form stones. Recommendation: To err on the safe side, if you have a history of a previous calcium oxalate kidney stone or have recurrent kidney stones, you should restrict your intake of supplemental vitamin C to 500 to 1000 mg 4 times a day (or 2 to 4 grams per day). If you must take higher doses for a specific condition, you can offset the increased levels of urine oxalate by taking vitamin B6 in a dose of 25 mg 4 times per day along with the vitamin C.

 
 
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