Dr. Gray's Straight Talk

Honest and blunt healthcare discussion and advice.

Preventing Kidney Stones

Posted by Dr. Gray on Friday, October 17, 2008

I published an article recently that was a brief report regarding the prevention of kidney stones with lemonade. Since that time, it has received a ton of traffic. I thought maybe I’d post a little more information about kidney stones here.

Calcium and phosphorous must be in a certain balance in the body. They are opposites. Drs. Page and Hawkins, both dentists, wrote books on the subject and after a lot of investigation, they agreed that the normal blood ratio is four parts phosphorous to ten parts calcium. That’s what we strive for. Suppose this ratio is disturbed, as three parts phosphorous to ten parts calcium. There’s not enough phosphorous to hold the calcium in solution and the extra calcium starts precipitating out of the body fluids. If it precipitates into your kidneys, it forms kidney stones. If onto your teeth, it is called tartar. If it’s in your bones, it’s called arthritis. Also, cataracts if it depostis in the eyes. All of these things are symptoms of phosphorous deficiency.

Although there are other forms of kidney stones (uric acid stones, struvite stones, and cystine stones), calcium stones are the most common. Research says approximately 80% of kidney stones are calcium based. Diet plays the largest role in the formation of kidney stones. By far, the single most important measure one can take to prevent kidney stones is to increase water consumption. Water dilutes urine and helps prevent concentrations of the minerals and salts that can form stones. The average adult should strive to drink at least three quarts of water per day.

Unless you are prone to urid acid stones, drinking unsweetened cranberry juice will help to acidify the urine. Drinking the juice of a fresh lemon in a glass of warm water first thing each morning can help to prevent stones from forming. For pain relief, drink the juice of half a fresh lemon in eight ounces of water every half hour until the pain subsides. Try alternating between lemon and apple juices.

Avoiding all refined sugar and products that contain it is second only to the increased water intake. Say it with me now… “Sugar is the devil.” Refined sugars and artificial sweeteners have so many bad effects on the body that it’s not practical to list them here. However, related to stones, refined sugar intake encourages inflammation in the body, and stimulates insulin production from the pancreas. Excess insulin, in turn, causes extra calcium to be excreted in the urine.

Decreasing the ratio of animal- to plant-based proteins will also decrease your risk for developing kidney stones. In the past 100+ years, our diets have changed from a 1:1 ratio to approximately 2:1. Decrease your intake of animal proteins (especially dairy), and increase your intake of plant proteins such as legumes, seeds, nuts, whole grains (not “enriched!”), brown rice, etc.

Aloe vera juice, taken at levels that do not produce a laxative effect, can be useful in preventing stone formation and in reducing the size of a stone during an attack. Ginkgo biloba and goldenseal, taken in extract from, aid circulation to the kidneys and have anti-inflammatory properties. A combination of lobelia tincture (3-4 drops) and wild yam tincture (15 drops) in a glass of warm water helps to relax the ureters, relieve pain, and hasten the passing of stones. Sip this mixture throughout the day.


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