Kidney Stones

These are usually formed from calcium phosphate or calcium oxalate. Some people are more prone to these stones for genetic reasons.

However the number of people with kidney stones is rising. Hydration is important, especially in the summer, so drink more water, ideally filtered water.

Calcium Oxalate Stones

Avoid sugary drinks and sodas as these increase calcium excretion in the urine.

For oxalate stones avoid chips and soya. In theory berries, spinach, nuts, beetroot and rhubarb have oxalates but a 2014 study found there these did not increase the risk of kidney stoned and conversely higher intake of fruit and vegetables lowers the risk of kidney stones.

The Amazonian herb, chanca piedra was found to eliminate stones in 94% of cases in one study. It also stops calcium oxalate stones being formed.

Calcium Phosphate Stones

Phosphates are often added to the diet in the form of stabilizers, and preservatives in processed foods so go for unprocessed foods. A major source is fizzy drinks.

Oxalate Stones

        Oxalates are toxins found in some fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts, grains and in chocolate. Some foods have very high oxalate levels and these could be causing the kidney stones. These include rhubarb, spinach, beetroot, almonds, beans, sweet potatoes and dark chocolate. Have a look at the separate leaflet on oxalates (near the end of leaflets, not in alphabetical order) for more information.

General Measures

One of the best remedies for kidney stones is Vitamin C. This produces acidified urine which will dissolve the common calcium phosphate stones and magnesium phosphate stones. Use 2-3 grams every 4 hours or so up to bowel tolerance (when get slight diarrhoea) and then reduce the dose a little.

Calcium is hard but magnesium keeps it in solution. 85%of kidney stones are made from calcium. So getting enough magnesium is essential. Major sources of magnesium are green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds but because magnesium has been progressively depleted from the soil in the last 50 years most people have low levels. Use a magnesium supplement. A good one would be magnesium citrate 2-300mg twice daily.

Fructose, found in soft drinks and processed foods increases calcification in the kidney.

The kidneys secrete a protein that helps prevent kidney stones. However Vitamin K2 makes this twenty times more effective (see osteoporosis leaflet for the reason). It makes sense to supplement with Vitamin K2.

In 2014 an Oxford University study found those who ate meat had a higher risk of being hospitalised with kidney stones and the more they ate the higher the risk. Another study found fish to raise the risk as much as meat. Fruit and vegetables lower the risk as does drinking more water.

Don’t stop calcium because calcium reduces oxalate absorption. Take extra calcium (500mg daily)

Magnesium and Vitamin B6 are also helpful. One study found taking 300mg of magnesium and 10mg B6 reduced kidney stones by 90%.

Dr Jonathon Wright recommends 300mg magnesium, 100mg Vitamin B6 and 10,000iu of Vitamin D daily.

Researchers from Brigham’s and Women’s hospital found in 2013 that those who drink one or more sweetened drinks are 23% more likely to get kidney stones, whereas tea, coffee and orange juice are protective.

Potassium or magnesium citrate help prevent calcium oxalate stones.

A strange story:

A patient with kidney stones went for a ride on a roller-coaster. Two minutes later he passed a stone. He repeated the roller-coaster ride twice more, each time passing a stone soon after. Later research confirmed that this sort of movement can help dislodge a stone.