A kidney stone is a hard mass developed from crystals that separate from the urine and build upon the kidney’s inner surfaces. Naturally, urine contains chemicals that prevent the crystals from forming. These inhibitors do not seem to work for everyone. However, some people develop stones. If the crystals remain tiny enough, they will travel through the urinary tract and pass out of the body in the urine without being noticed.
Kidney stones may contain various combinations of chemicals. The most common type of stone contains calcium in combination with either oxalate or phosphate. These chemicals are part of a person’s regular diet and make up important parts of the body, such as bones and muscles.
The frequency of stone formation has increased dramatically during the last few decades, paralleling the rise in other diseases associated with the Western diet, e.g. heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Kidney stones usually occur in adults over the age of thirty and affect both sexes, but are more common in men than women.
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Excess weight and insulin insensitivity both lead to increased urinary excretion of calcium.
High sugar intake: urinary calcium levels rise following a meal high in sugar.
Low magnesium status: magnesium increases calcium oxalate’s solubility and inhibits both calcium phosphate and calcium oxalate stone formation. Supplemental magnesium alone can prevent recurrences of kidney stones.
B6 deficiency: vitamin B6 reduces the production and excretion of oxalates by transporting glutamine to the kidneys. The kidneys use glutamine to produce ammonia, preventing the urine from becoming too acidic. Acidic urine promotes precipitation of calcium oxalate, which then forms stones.
Heavy metal toxicity: many heavy metals, such as mercury (from amalgam fillings), gold, uranium and cadmium (from cigarette smoke and vehicle pollution) are toxic to the kidneys.
Excessive alcohol consumption: causes a rapid increase in blood sugar levels, which causes urinary calcium levels to rise and leads to increased urinary excretion of calcium.
Western dietary patterns: frequent consumption of highly refined carbohydrates (white flour, white rice, pasta, cakes etc.), animal protein, fat and vitamin D-enriched dairy products, along with a low intake of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Frequent consumption of foods high in purines such as organ meats, meats, shellfish, yeast, herrings, sardines, mackerel and anchovies;
Excessive salt consumption: people who form kidney stones excrete much higher amounts of urinary calcium when their salt intake rises.
Dehydration: dehydration results in a much higher concentration of stone components in the urine.
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Minimise intake of sugar, refined carbohydrates and alcohol
Increase consumption of fibre by choosing wholegrain bread and cereals, fresh fruits and vegetables.
Increasing consumption of green leafy vegetables is a rich source of vitamin K, which is a potent inhibitor of stone formation.
Consume a nutrient-dense diet rich in whole, unprocessed, preferably organic foods, mostly plant foods (fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds, nuts, and whole grains) and coldwater fish such as salmon, low in animal products, fat and processed foods.
Avoid aluminium-containing antacids causes excessive excretion of calcium.
Vitamin B6 reduces the production and excretion of oxalates.
Vitamin K necessary for the body’s synthesis of a molecule that is a potent inhibitor of kidney stone formation
Magnesium increases the solubility of calcium oxalate and inhibits, both calcium phosphate and calcium oxalate stone formation.
Citrate bound to magnesium or potassium can reduce urinary saturation of calcium oxalate and retard calcium crystals’ growth. Moreover, it is quite a significant ceasing stone formation on up to 90% of subjects.
For uric acid stones consider folic acid (inhibits the enzyme responsible for the production of uric acid) and bicarbonate