Kidney stones, or renal lithiasis, are crystalline deposits of minerals formed inside the urinary tract, causing severe radiating pain and abnormal urination. Here are some effective ways to reduce the risk of developing kidney stones:
1. Drink plenty of water.
Nephrolithiasis or kidney stones are primarily formed due to low water levels in the body, which elevates the concentration of minerals and salts in the urine. Moreover, lack of water leads to a more concentrated uric acid, which is a component of urine. This leads to stone formation due to highly acidic urine. Staying hydrated and drinking at least two liters of water a day dilutes the urine and prevents the mineralization of urine salts. It is recommended to drink eight glasses of water daily. Consuming citrus beverages also helps in detoxifying the kidneys and the citrate hinders stone formation in the urinary tract.
2. Get adequate calcium.
Lower than normal calcium levels in the body can lead to elevated oxalate levels, causing kidney stones. Consuming calcium-rich foods such as dairy products, fish, soybeans, almonds, and figs prevents the formation of kidney stones because a healthy proportion of calcium binds with oxalate in the stomach and intestines before reaching the kidneys. This prevents the synthesis of calcium-oxalate stones, one of the most common kinds of kidney stones. Individuals aged 50 years and above are recommended to take approximately 1000 milligrams of calcium per day along with adequate Vitamin D for efficient calcium absorption into the bloodstream.
3. Reduce sodium intake.
Consuming high levels of sodium chloride in the diet can lead to unwanted and high sodium levels in the body. When excess salt reaches the kidneys for excretion, it causes water retention, making the urine more concentrated, which is a major cause of kidney stones. High sodium levels also result in increased serum calcium or excessive calcium accumulation in the body. According to the Urology Care Foundation, this makes it harder for calcium to be reabsorbed into the blood. Excess calcium in the urine forms kidney stones. Food sources high in sodium include processed food and condiments. It is suggested to reduce your sodium intake to 1500 mg per day for healthier kidneys.
4. Eat lesser animal protein.
Consuming proteins in higher quantities than required may lead to a higher risk of developing renal lithiasis, according to nephrologists. Protein from animal meat such as beef, poultry, eggs, and seafood if taken in excess can cause elevated levels of uric acid. Protein is broken down into simpler substances called amino acids, which further undergo the urea cycle and are converted to urea. Furthermore, a higher uric acid level lowers the urine pH, increasing the risk of developing a certain type of kidney stone known as uric acid stones. A high-protein diet also causes a decline in urine citrate levels. Citrate is known to prevent kidney stone formation.
5. Avoid foods that may trigger stone formation.
Oxalate-rich foods can lead to higher oxalate levels in the body, which is one of the leading causes of calcium-oxalate kidney stones. Limiting oxalate-rich foods such as chocolate, sweet potatoes, coffee, beetroot, peanuts, and soybeans can reduce the risk of nephrolithiasis. Moreover, excessive intake of Vitamin C supplements is also a major causative agent. According to research conducted in 2013, men who frequently took vitamin C supplements were twice more prone to kidney stones than men who didn’t. This is due to the fact that after being metabolized, the body converts excess Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) into oxalate.
It is imperative to follow these tips for healthier kidneys.
Until Next Time
Team Doctor ASKY!